Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sheets to shorts (and other things), a tale of upcycling

I've been working on another pair of McCall's 6104 for my husband. I've made him 4 pairs in the past, one of which he does not like (the material was like old lady pants type nylon), but he practically lives in the other 3 pairs! He requested another, and yet again, there was no suitable male appropriate patterned fabric in my stash, except for an interesting 80's art-deco top sheet. Somewhat ironically, the 2 pairs he loves best are made from bed linens, so I figured, go for it!

I was looking back through my projects, and I upcycle a LOT of sheets, pillowcases, duvet covers, shower curtains, and even vintage table-cloths. Used with the right patterns, these can make really great clothing, and other items as well!

I tend to buy sheets from thrift stores with the intention of using them for muslins, but often enough they turn into actual clothing. So, here is the newest addition to my husbands "comfy shorts" collection. I underlined them, and went with the slash pockets again, and flat felled seams at his request, as he prefers this in all his shorts and pants now. Yea, the fabric is kind of...80's and loud, but he already loves them.

So, I took a little stroll down memory lane, looking at many of the projects I've done with upcycled thrift store linens. The blue Navajo print shown below was a top sheet, and the leaf patterned Bermuda style shorts were 100% linen pillowcases. Those Bermuda ones are his absolute favorite pair!

My mother also recently requested a armchair remote control caddy for her birthday. I used some leftover sheets from my Renaissance gown, and made some back pockets for paper back books as well. This is a pretty simple pattern I created, but I think it will work well for her needs. Happy 67th birthday mom!

Next up on memory lane is my husbands renaissance shirt, McCalls 4862. This is a simple white cotton/ linen blend sheet, pretty heavy weight. I must say, this fabric is perfect for the rough, outdoor use it gets!

Sticking with my husbands projects, the PJ pants, Simplicity 4889, on the right started life as flannel holiday sheets. Yes, it's a bit odd, but PJ pants are allowed to be a bit more.....eccentric. :)

Next up is one of my favorite upcycling projects. I'm fairly certain that this lovely skirt from McCall's 5481 started life as a table cloth (it is also a linen blend). I had to trim the fabric off around the embroidered scallop, but it makes such a lovely skirt. Much prettier than as a table cloth!

This next was a plain old simple cotton top sheet. I started this dress (Simplicity 5189) as a muslin, but loved it so much, I just kept it. It's a great summer dress, and no one would ever guess it was once a sheet! Would they?

One of my very first major upcycling projects was my renaissance gown. I got this Cotton/linen queen sized sheet set with 2 pillowcases for $5!! I found out after I had finished making the gown that this sheet is a discontinued pattern by Ralph Lauren, called Guinevere. How perfectly ironic and fitting!
On e-bay, the pillowcases alone cost around $10 each, and a full sheet set is between $120 and $199. Wow, what luck! This is my favorite renaissance costume, and the underdress and all thelining are sheets as well.

This gown is the same pattern as above, Butterick 4827, but without alterations. I love this pattern. This is certianly my go to pattern for renaissance costumes, as it is such a great fit, and very versatile! This one looks nothing like the one above, yet they are 90% the same pattern.

I've made quite a number of items for Liz with upcycled fabrics. Both of the PJ's below (McCall's 6189) are from flannel top sheets. Since I kept the fitted sheets and pillowcases for actual use on her bed, she can match her bedding. This is a little silly, but also kind of fun. :)

Below is a slightly large (fits her better now than it did back then) simple princess cut dress. The "fashion fabric" and lining are all sheets. I didn't yet know about underlining, which is why the seams show the way they do. This project (Simplicity 5520) was an early one for me, so it has issues.
Live and learn!

This may be my favorite creative use of a pillowcase so far, made using Simplicity 2377. I think the way I cut along the pattern and added the contrast bit in the middle is so cute! Sadly, she has outgrown this pretty little pillowcase dress, but when she did fit into it, she wore it often! I have more interesting and pretty pillowcases in my stash, just waiting for creativity to inspire more dresses for Liz.

Last holiday season, I made aprons for pretty much everyone in my family, men and women. These are all from Simplicity 3544 (a 50's retro pattern I adore, and have used 5 times now, with different options), I believe)The blue one on the left is quilting cotton, but the ivory and plumb floral in the center is a vintage 100% linen shower curtain. The orange on the far right was a vintage tablecloth. All of the contrasting fabrics are also upcycled linens.
The both made very lovely aprons, I think! I do hope the recipients enjoy them.

The hat and tote shown below are not my favorite projects ever (Butterick 5172), but are still very interesting. The asymmetrical hat brim was just weird though....
I made them as holiday gifts for my Aunt, who loves hats and totes, and also going to the beach. The striped fabric was a top sheet, and the lighthouses were the top edge of the same sheet.
Last but certainly not least, I used a cute flannel Daffy Duck pillowcase, stuffed lightly with batting, to make our sweet kitty a new cat bed. He still loves this thing, tough it's getting a bit worn out. Time for a new one this Christmas!!

I've made many other things with upcycled materials not shown here, from linings, underlinings, and shirts, to crafts and doll clothes. Sure, the fabric isn't new, and sometimes there is a compromise in what you can get, as far as colors and patterns, but it is extremely economical, great for the environment, not to mention a very satisfying feeling to turn an old, unwanted item into something "new" and usable.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Aurora,

    I just got the Simplicity 5189 pattern but I am a complete novice with patterns (I normally make things up and cheat tailoring with shirring...!)
    Do you have any tips for this particular pattern? I planned to make it in the D variety but with the square neckline rather than V. Any help you can give will be very much appreciated!