upcycled #10

In years past I’ve made and clothed rag dolls and made coats to cover a teddy’s bald patches resulting from constant cuddling but I’d never made clothes for a doll with a rigid body until this week. “It’s only a doll”, I told myself, “How hard can it be to make a dress for it?”. It might have helped to have had a dress pattern to begin with and some stretch fabric would have been useful too but I had neither. Undaunted, I measured the doll and ‘designed’ and cut out a prototype simple sleeveless shift dress with a generous back opening. It went on over her head but then I couldn’t get the arms through the armholes. If I pulled it on feet-first I had the same problem. I had a cup of tea and pondered an alternative.

Dress design number two was a sleeved dress but if I included a back seam, the opening had to be sufficient to get over the angled limbs and I had no suitable elastic or tape to then gather the resulting gaping neckline closed. This project was becoming a ridiculous waste of time for a doll that might not even sell so I tidied everything away and turned my attention to framing the now completed Facade kit.

When I went back to the dress, I added a couple of tucks at the neckline to prevent it slipping off her shoulders and a scrap of lace trim added some detail. What had been intended as the back seam became a front opening and two child-friendly Kam snaps were used as closures. Job done. Never to be repeated.


Earlier in the week I made four more teacup pin cushions and I think I’ve made enough of these now.

more teacup pincushions

Here’s the Facade¬†needlework kit now repaired, stretched, mounted and framed. As per the pattern, there are very few straight lines of stitching or felt applique. I wouldn’t want to have done the whole kit as all the wonkiness would have annoyed me no end but it doesn’t look too bad in a frame against my hall carpet!

Facade embroidery kit now framed



I always take a piece of embroidery when I’m going on a long train journey and my recent visit to Scotland was no exception. Except that the piece I had planned to stitch was begun and almost completed before I even left home so I prepared a second piece which I’ll show you another day.¬† I didn’t touch the oystercatcher piece at all on the journey or during my visit but I did finish it this week. The design was from the June/July issue of Stitch magazine and I mainly followed the design but you know me, I just have to add a little wax crayon colour every now and again. I also did the pebbles differently and I added some seaweed too. It’s in the folder now, never to be seen again, well, not for a while anyway.

upcycled #9

After a break of several weeks while I visited family in Scotland, I went to the Red Cross craft group yesterday where we spent the morning tidying, measuring lengths of upholstery fabric that had been recently donated, and then organising an area on the shop floor specifically for items that the group makes or upcycles. Together with a doll to make clothes for and fabric to make cushion covers, I came home with a very old unfinished embroidery kit in need of some tlc.

Part of the Penelope needlework range by WM Briggs and Co. Ltd., it’s a collage named Facade and the instructions suggest stitching down the grey and white felt pieces or attaching them with fabric glue. In this instance, glue was used which has left brown patches where the felt is missing. Some of the white felt is also partly stained from glue having seeped through so I’ve decided to replace all the felt and stitch it down.

At first I thought that a few window cills and heads were yet to be added but the kit’s instruction photo clearly shows them just as they’ve been applied. Odd. I’m tempted to add them. The horizontal stitching differences in the lower windows bug me too but those are also as per the instructions. I can’t fathom what the designer was trying to suggest here.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know who the original embroiderer was or why it was never completed but there’s a frame waiting for it when I’ve done my bit and then it will go on sale.





upcycled #8

Odd bits and pieces this time. All of these went for sale at the Red Cross apart from the Scottie dog as I wasn’t happy with the closure stitching on his back.

pencil or brush roll made from curtains and a table mat


tool apron made from fabric scraps with pockets and elastic loops for holding tools.


free-motion embroidered coasters or mug rugs from fabric scraps


appliqued coasters or mug rugs made from fabric scraps


wall hanging pockets made from a table mat and quilting fabric remnants


lined snap coin purses with closure made from expanding tape measure metal


tissue holders and a small plaid Scottie dog


upcycled #7

Sewing related items for the Red Cross this time.

A wingless hen pin cushion made from quilting fabric and felt scraps. Stuffed with polyester toy filling and two small beads added for eyes.


Needle books made from two layers of fabric scraps, simply stitched around the edges to secure and then trimmed with pinking shears to avoid fraying.

Needle books with acrylic felt pages.


A small cutting board was homeless until I made this sewing accessories folder from a table runner remains and a scrap of dressmaking fabric. A simple button and hair elastic made the closure.

Sewing accessories folder interior. The large zipped and lined floral pouch is stitched to the folder along the bottom and another button closure keeps it secure when the folder is closed. Underneath the pouch is another pocket (not visible in image) which can hold a rotary cutter. The small square at the front is a needle book, also permanently attached to the folder.

upcycled #6

This post shows more bags I’ve recently made for the Red Cross upcycling group.


A drawstring craft bag – made from furnishing fabric and other remnants. The drawstrings are a pair of shoelaces.


drawstring craft bag interior pockets


Japanese Oshin bag – made from quilting cotton remnant and a table napkin. The drawstrings were formerly the handles of a retail store’s carrier bag.


Lined tote bag from an old duvet cover. Hearts from various fabrics, fused to the bag and then free-motion stitched to secure.


Originally intended to end up as a clothes peg bag, the addition of the gusset made this bag suitable for storing small toys or even pyjamas. It hangs from an internal child’s clothes hanger and the opening is reinforced with a length of strimmer line. Approximately 15″ x 15″ (40 cm x 40 cm).


A multi-pocket craft bag from corduroy remnant and an old pillow case. The handles are lengths of wooden dowelling. The handles are secure but easily removed.

multi-pocket bag interior


upcycled #5

Still here and still making things for the Cheltenham British Red Cross shop to the exclusion of anything else. Today we filled the shop window with almost everything the craft group has made so far. During the past week I had made doll’s bedding for a wicker crib and a wooden cot and a few people seemed interested in them almost as soon as they went on display so fingers are crossed that they’ll come back and buy. Little Ted, kindly modelling the bed set below, was relieved not to be included in the window display.

The bed linen was upcycled from curtains, old pillow cases, a shirt, and a scrap of quilted fabric. The padding was a remnant of high loft polyester quilt batting donated a few weeks ago.