Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Posts tagged ‘fashion’

Super-Chunky Wool Cowl

My lovely sister gave me some beautiful blue Merino wool roving for Christmas (with a particularly swanky pair of 35mm needles ūüôā ), and I decided to make a simple cowl.

Although the roving makes a very chunky yarn, the finished cowl is quite lightweight to wear, and lovely and soft. The large needles- and use of stocking stitch- meant that this was definitely the quickest knitting project I’ve ever completed!


Hand-Woven Cowl


I have finished the cowl that I started last week. I had planned to cut the ends of the warp threads once I had joined the ends of the cowl together, but decided instead to keep them as fringing, and I am really pleased with how it looks. I twisted the scarf before joining the ends together (like a mobius strip), to produce a crossed-over detail at the front when the scarf is being worn (this also helps it to sit nicely).

I have previously woven scarves, but am very taken by this cowl so intend to make another one soon- and to take the opportunity to experiment with pattern and texture a little more!

A Work in Progress: Weaving


I am currently weaving a wool snood/cowl, using a mixture of mohair¬†and merino yarn. The purple and grey yarns (the weft threads) are relatively chunky (Rowan ‘Cocoon’), but weaving rather than knitting means that the finished material isn’t so heavy/thick. I have previously knitted a cabled scarf using Rowan Cocoon and it is lovely and chunky, but too warm for all but the coldest of days!


Wintery Knitting!


As the weather has finally turned to a more seasonally-appropriate temperature (i.e. cold, rather than warm and wet!) I have dug some thicker yarn out of my stash and made a start on a striped, stocking stitch cowl.


The GORGEOUS (yes, it is so nice that it deserves shouty capital letters!) yarn that I am using is Artesano Superfine Alpaca and Peruvian Highland Wool, and it is sooo soft. As I am knitting in stocking stitch and using an aran-weight yarn I decided on a cowl rather than a scarf to avoid it being too bulky when worn under a coat (particularly where the knot would be if it was a scarf). Cowls also have the added benefits of being quicker to knit than a scarf, and using less yarn (so I’m hoping that I’ll have some left over for a hat too…).

DIY Decorative Hair Clips


I have made a few decorative hair clips this year, and really like using feathers mixed with something sparkly. The¬†ones shown here are rather dressy- the two mainly blue ones were made to wear to weddings. It isn’t very clear in these pictures but the clip with the peacock feather is backed by a fluffy white marabou feather, adding some width to the clip.


The brown, gold and black clip in the centre (in the picture above) is a more subtle design, and I made it to wear to work on bad hair days! It consists of a row of diamontes sewn onto a piece of black patent leather, with feathers glued to the back of the leather. To the back of this was then glued a second piece of leather, onto which had been sewn a metal hair clip.


Decorative hair clips are a definite stash-busting project, and they are so quick and easy to make. Vintage brooches or earrings can be up-cycled to provide a sparkly base for a decorative hair clip, and all sorts of haberdashery bits and pieces can be added. I plan on making a couple of clips to give away as Christmas presents…!

Leather and Crystal Cuff

A few weeks ago I posted a leather bracelet DIY project: I recently found a small scrap of lovely salmon pink leather, and this seemed the ideal purpose for it.




I stumbled across a second-hand loom at a jumble sale recently, so have been experimenting with weaving. The loom is a small table-top one, so I have started by weaving a couple of scarves.


The loom was really easy to get to grips with, and I enjoyed the weaving process. It was definitely quicker to weave a scarf than to knit one, although I think I still find knitting a more engaging process. The woven scarves felt finer and more ‘fluid’ than a knitted scarf, with a nice, smooth finish.


The blue and white scarf is a slightly looser weave than the green and purple one, and is woven using cotton and wool yarns. The green and purple scarf is woven from wool yarns.


The ease with which you can change colours (and neatly too) means that this is a great way of using up leftover lengths of yarn. I am now thinking of other potential weaving projects..!

Simple Jacket Re-Styling


I recently bought this (very reasonably priced AND in the sale!) wool jacket,  but felt that it needed a bit of jazzing-up. The lining is a lovely bright pink, but the pink woven stripes of the tweed are quite pale making the outside of the jacket look a little dull.

With the help of some pink velvet ribbon and a bit of hand sewing I livened the jacket up. As the jacket was already assembled, spending the time on hand sewing meant that the stitches were invisible from the other side, which was particularly important where the ribbon runs down the inside of the jacket fronts.

Apologies for the poor pictures, I got a little very over excited that I had finished the sewing and couldn’t wait for some decent light for proper photography…


This was a really easy project, and I was able to reduce my ribbon stash by using a piece that I already had. Projects like this are great for upcycling old trimmings, and the ‘make do and mend’ ethos can make a lovely garment out of two items that weren’t quite so fantastic on their own!

Monday Mood Board

Some lovely 1950’s fashions from a vintage sewing magazine,¬†one¬†model is sporting a rather unusually-shaped hat…!


An advertisement from the same vintage magazine is shown below: it’s amazing to think that such a widely used piece of haberdashery as the zipper actually hasn’t been around for very long (just over 100 years). Apparently the name is onomatopoeic, referring to the sound made when the zip is closed or opened (interesting fact courtesy of Wikipaedia). I can’t believe that that¬†had never occurred to me before…

Vintage-sewing -magazine-adverts-page

Dyeing Vintage Lace DIY

Dyed Lace 3

Dyed Lace 2

As you may have noticed in some of my previous posts (here and here) I have a habit of collecting pieces of vintage and antique lace when I spot it in charity shops, or at car boot sales. A lot of the lace I use in sewing projects, depending on how old and fragile the lace is, and how intricate. When buying lace from cheap sources (rather than nicely washed, pressed and expensive from textile or antique dealers!) you often can’t tell how good the piece will look until you’ve taken it home and¬†submitted it to¬†a good wash.

Some old pieces still don’t look their best even after washing: often they are an odd grey or yellowish colour due to being washed with something unsuitable in the past, or they have some pale (but obvious on white lace) stains on them. I have some lovely pieces that aren’t are no longer their original white or cream, and have given them a new lease of life!

Dyeing Lace 1

In this project I used:

  • Vintage and antique pieces of lace
  • Dylon Fabric Paints
  • A¬†ceramic plate or suitable work surface¬†(to work on to avoid making too much of a mess!)
  • A paintbrush
  • Water

As I wanted to colour the whole piece of lace and wanted a soft finish, I first got the piece of lace thoroughly wet, and only lightly squeezed out the excess water before laying it on the plate. The next step is to wet the paintbrush in the water, and then use it to pick up a small amount of paint, brushing it into the fabric. For particularly pale colours the paint needs to be diluted with water before brushing on to the lace.

Dyed Lace 1

I used the strips of handmade crocheted lace above to test out colours and effects. When going for an ombre look, having the lace wet before applying the paint makes it possible to blend or fade-out colours.

Dyed Lace 4

To dye a whole piece of lace in one colour, a small amount of paint needs to be diluted in water, and then the lace is placed into this diluted paint and squeezed so that it absorbs the dye. The lace can be left a uniform colour (like the green and mint green pieces on the left in the above picture), or detail can be added (such as with the three pieces of lace on the right in the above picture, where a darker colour has been painted along one edge).

Dyed Lace 5

To make the dye permanent follow the manufacturers instructions (in this case the lace had to be left to dry, and then ironed on a high heat setting).

The once sad old vintage lace is now has a new lease of life, and is all ready to be upcycled and used in a sewing project!

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