I thoroughly enjoyed the first task of this month’s make do and mend challenge last week. Spending a week not going food shopping and cooking up new meals with items from my kitchen cupboards was a real eye opener. By the end of the task supplies of some basics, such as milk and onions, were getting low but generally there were still plenty of items in the cupboards and freezer to get through and it made our menu a lot more inventive.
But now I’m onto a new week and a fresh task. This week I’m getting to grips with my wardrobe and trying to fashion some funky new items from old, tired or just plain boring things that I haven’t worn for ages. It all sounds simple enough on paper, but I’m much more nervous about this task than last week’s. I’d hardly say I’m Jamie Oliver but I can cook and follow a recipe. On the other hand, my needlework and textile skills are limited. I can sew in a straight(ish) line and stitch a button onto a shirt but that’s about it. I have friends I envy who regularly hack at shop bought T-shirts to produce a trendy new look or who make or dye their own skirts and outfits, but I’ve never dared to.
The first and only time I attempted a Gok-style makeover of a dress I’d bought from Peacocks – it had a big integral belt in the middle with little belt loops and I tried to remove the loops – I ended up with a big hole in the side of it and had to sew the belt loops back on to hide the hole before I wore it to a friend’s birthday party. Oops. Last year I knitted a baby blanket for another friend and tried to embroider a pattern on the front with wool, but despite my efforts it was pretty appalling stuff. I’d spent so long on it that I still presented it to my friend, shamefaced, and she was very kind about it but I haven’t attempted anything similar since.
But (despite my neighbour laughing hysterically at me the other day at the thought of me doing this challenge) as “can’t lives on won’t street”, I have put my fears aside and spent yesterday rummaging through my wardrobe. For my first project I have found a pair of jeans I bought from New Look some time ago for £10 but rarely wear as they’re a bit dull. It occurred to me that I could jazz them up a bit by sewing on some beads, so I ferreted out my jewellery making box and I’m in the middle of sewing some on. It’s hard work but a surprisingly absorbing task.
I also found a useful book in the library called Strands, which is all about how to make your own clothes and accessories using unusual materials or cut offs and this useful website Make it and mend it. It might very well prove to be far too ambitious, but I thought I might have a go at trying to make a top or dress from…er…an old duvet cover I found in the airing cupboard and don’t use. There is a (supposedly) simple dress pattern in the book and I got some black dye from the supermarket that you can use in the washing machine to dye the material with. But I’m a bit nervous about using it and the fact I don’t have a sewing machine. I’ll let you know later on in the week how I get on…
Do you make your own clothes or refashion old items from your wardrobe? Got any good tips or suggestions for easy & cheap makeovers? Leave a message and let me know.
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