I was having a look through my fabric collection the other day and stumbled upon a few things I’d forgotten about, including a brilliant vintage piece (looks like it lived a previous life as a curtain) kindly given to me by a friend, and a stash of old scarves I’d promised myself I’d do something with.
I’d originally planned to make an entire top from the blue curtain, but didn’t have enough material. I also didn’t have a scarf to match, but I’ve never really been one for matching anyway. Upcycling really pushes you to work with what you’ve got, and work around what you don’t. It leads to unexpected colour combinations, fabric choices and designs. Some are crap and quickly find themselves taken to pieces and made into something else. Others work out pretty well.
Plan B was to make the front of the top in the blue, and the back using the red scarf. But I convinced myself that, even with a wonderfully busy vintage design, the front looked boring.
Another wonderful part of upcycling is making the most of what the old items give you. It’s got buttons? Use them. Love the cuff detail? Keep it. It’s already hemmed? Keep the hem and save yourself time sewing a new one. It’s a scarf with a fringe? Well then…
Steal the fringe from the scarf, sew it to the bottom of the top. Add a bit of fancy zig-zag stitching in a coordinating colour and ta-dah! Ta-dah until you realise that the scarf fabric is rather open-weave and weak and it starts coming apart at the back seam, anyway. This is one of the problems with upcycling – you can never really guarantee what you’re going to be working with until you cut it up and see how it behaves. This scarf behaved badly. But every upcycling-mishap leads to an inventive upcycling-fix (in this instance, a load of iron-on interfacing to strengthen the fabric, and a ‘decorative’ aka cover-up piece of binding). Please excuse the fit on Manfred McMannequin below. He’s a ‘male’ mannequin wearing a stuffed bra and has a waist I can only dream of, so looks a little (very) drowned in my clothes.
So what did I do to celebrate once it was finished? Well I took the dogs to the woods and pranced around in the freezing pouring rain of course, which you can see in the slideshow below. Not going to lie, as much as I love the top, I missed my waterproof trousers and fleecy hoodie.
Not bad for an old curtain and a scarf eh?