Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Big Reveal

Last spring the Sewphisticuts took on a Brown Bag Challenge, in which each person received a bag containing a half-yard of fabric (or two fat quarters).  The challenge was to make something - anything she chose - using at least 75% of the given fabric.  Anything else could be added - more fabric, notions, trims - and there were no restrictions on what could be made.  Last week the group met and brought along their creations for the Big Reveal.  There was quite the assortment of items!
Pat made an apron from the retro-print fabric.
Connie received 2 fat quarters and made a placemat.

Peggy made a child's dress.  The binding, lining and sash were the fabric she received. 

Kathia received the dark green fabric and used it to make 14 mini-wallets for a group of friends.

Maura combined 2 fat quarters with 2 others and a cotton knit to make a swing-tee shirt and matching purse.

Mary Ann made a matching pin cushion and scrap bag plus a couple of coasters to go along with a sewing machine caddy.
And with all the creative display we had some show-and-tell as well.
Sewing vest to hold supplies as you work

Fall-theme tee-shirt by Mary Ann

Recycled scraps become a fancy vest.

Quilt by Connie

Strippy quilt by Connie

Pillow bag by Pat for grandchild

Reverse side of Peggy's table runner

Peggy's table runner from workshop

Friday, August 11, 2017

Green with Eco-Awareness

Green is no longer the color of envy, but instead is the color of eco-awareness.  At last Wednesday's meeting of the Sewphisticuts, we explored the concept of up-cycling.  Similar to recycling, where items may be broken down to make something new, up-cycling is the concept of adding something to or changing an otherwise unusable item to increase its value (make it usable again).  As sewists, many of us do this all the time, repairing clothes or using up fabric scraps in quilts or as embellishments on all sorts of things.  We may have been the original recyclers/upcyclers!

During the meeting we looked at pictures from Pinterest and similar sources for ideas and inspiration.  The recent edition of Notions magazine also featured upcycling as the lead article, and led us to look at a Brooklyn-based company Zero Waste Daniel that is making new garments from cutting room scraps gathered from designers and manufacturers.  Their web site features photos of the clothes they offer and it certainly gave us food for thought on ways to reuse our scraps.

Peggy's sweater lengthened with lace trim
 Peggy brought along some items she had upcycled.  One was the sweater shown here.  Too short to look stylish any more, she used an old lace shawl that she no longer wore to furnish lace trim for the bottom edges of the sweater and the sleeves.  Voila!  A sweater long enough to fit again and with a fresh, stylish look.

Mary Ann brought along walker bags that she had made by combining cotton squares left over from various other quilting projects.  The streamlined design only requires 10 or 12 inch squares to make useful pockets for fastening over a walker handle - just the right size to carry a book, water bottle, tissues, glasses, etc.

Her other item, a large tote bag, is made from smaller squares in a patchwork fashion.  Her method is to cut up leftover fabric as she finishes a project and stick it on her felt wall board (a felt-backed tablecloth, using the wrong side).  Once enough are collected there, she sews them up as totes or walker bags.
Mary Ann's tote bag
Mary Ann's walker bags from cotton squares.

We also had some Show and Tell items.  Pat showed us her elegantly simple Christmas ornaments made from a folded circle of fabric.  She also had a mini-purse which was meant to hold sewing notions or similar small items, but all of us immediately adored it as a miniature purse for any little girls in our lives (or for our own inner-child!).  The pattern is available at and has a YouTube video to allow you to sew along to make it.
The mini-purse

Christmas trees from folded circles

The inside of the mini-purse

 Cyndy wore her one-seam pants from a Garment Gals project earlier in the summer.  They coordinated beautifully with the t-shirt she had.
Cyndy's one-seam pants

Judy showed her tunic and skort ensemble made in a flowing rayon.  She also brought along some of the pieces from the Days For Girls project that she had been working on with the American Association of University Women.

Judy's tunic top
Matching cullottes

Days for Girls project that Judy was working on.

Our next meeting (September) is when our Brown Bag Challenge items will be revealed.  We also decided we would share information about favorite blogs, web sites, magazines, and other sources that we use most often for inspiration and/or instruction.