Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Upcycling is the new black

I have decided that I love upcycling! I'm not entirely sure how it's defined but it seems to have more to do with turning something you don't want into something you do want, than with separating your glass and plastics from your tins. And it also seems that everybody is doing it.

Folksy, the UK handmade goods website, have organised an upcycling competition in collaboration with Sue Ryder Care. Sue Ryder kindly provided free goods from their charity shops so that the ingenious Folksy folk could turn them into beautiful items to be sold at a charity auction in aid of Sue Ryder. Since Laura needed a new winter coat, I decided to buy an adult one from a charity shop and hack it down to size. Well, it took me a long time to find a suitable coat (most adult coats have a lot of seams & pockets and they would have seriously got in the way), and in the meantime, I found these... A lilac bed canopy (or mosquito net as my husband calls it) for £2.95 and, from the same shop, an embroidered polyester chiffon shawl for £1.
Together, they screamed 'pettiskirt!' at me.
I wasn't sure if it could be done with the soft net of the bed canopy but it was worth a shot. And it worked! I didn't have the ruffler foot but I suspect it would have been redundant anyway - the net was already fairly tatty and the prongs on the foot would probably have split through the holes. So I gathered the tiers and fluff the traditional way - by stitching a long seam and pulling on the bobbin thread to gather. It didn't take quite as long as I'd expected though I had run out of enthusiasm for tulle long before I had enough fluff. I have also learned my machine is not a fan of sewing net. It did the job fine but it complained and grinded and clanked its way through it. I tried fiddling with the tension but couldn't get it to be happy. If anybody has any tips on this, I'd love to hear them. And if you'd like to see the skirt's listing, then it can be found here.

Laura just adores the skirt and keeps referring to it as 'her' skirt. I have explained that it's going to be auctioned off to help some poorly people and she says 'yes, OK,' but I suspect the message isn't really getting through. Good job there's another one waiting for her in the spare wardrobe! Although even I have to admit that this one is way nicer than the white one I did earlier.

And in case you were wondering what happened about her winter coat - here it is! I had to use two coats in the end, but they made a divine coat for her when lined with some beautiful fleece print I got off Ebay. So even if I don't win one of the competition categories (and I'm aware that the competition is stiff!) the Folksy Upcycle Challenge has indirectly helped keep Laura warm and cute this winter.
And finally, an action shot with the skirt. She's not much good at twirling yet, and I'm still not great at photography, but I think you get the picture!

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