Wednesday 28 September 2011

From Dress to Bag...

I've signed up for Stashbusting September over at the T-Shirt Diaries. That means no buying sewing supplies for a whole month!!! No fabric shopping... eeeeekkkkk!!!

As well as using fabric from my stash, I decided to upcycle this gorgeous, little dress which no longer fits. Teamed with denim, I think it will make a great little bag. Here's how I did it.

Materials Used:
  • the dress above which is made from stretch material
  • denim offcuts from the bottom of some aprons
  • lining material from my stash
  • button, ric rac and ribbon from my stash

How To:

It was hard to make the first cut. If I made a mistake, I couldn't get the dress back. I took a deep breath and I was away.

  • Cut off the sleeves.
  • Trim below the sleeve line to create a nice line.
  • Cut off the bodice, leaving enough to sew a seam above the frill.

  • Sew denim to both the top of the dress and the bottom
  • Sew side seams.
  • Sew the bottom of the bag.
I know the seams are hidden, but I can't help myself. I have to neaten the edges.

  • Sewing from the outside topstitch all seams where the denim joins the stretch material.
  • Turn the seams towards the denim before topstitching.

At this point I decided the denim at the top was too wide and so I narrowed it. The outside of the bag is done, so now to the lining.

  • Sew the denim to the top of each piece of lining.
  • Topstitch
  • Sew front to back along the side seams.

  • Sew the bottom leaving a gap to turn the bag later.
That's the lining done, now to do the handle/strap. 
  • Cut three strips from each sleeve, making six strips in total. 
  • Pair the strips and join.
  • Cut off excess seam to avoid bulk.
  • Plait the strips.
  • Sew across each end to secure.
Because it's made from stretch material, the strap would be too stretchy, so I backed the plaited strap with a denim handle.
  • Cut a strip of denim.
  • Fold like bias.
  • Topstitch
The plait was too bulky to stitch to the denim. I suppose I could have hand stitched, but it looks and functions OK without. Now to put it all together.
  • Leave the lining right sides together.
  • The outside of the bag should have wrong sides together.
  • Attach the strap to the outside of the bag at the side seams.
  • The plaited side of the strap will be closest to the bag.
  • Place the lining over the outside of the bag, with the strap sandwiched between.
  • Line up the top edges and stitch.
It is VERY bulky sewing over the straps, but my machine handled it.

  • Turn the bag through the gap that is left in the lining.
  • Sew the gap closed.

  • Topstitch along the top of the bag.
  • Make a flower with left over scraps, plus some ric rac and ribbon.
  • Tie a few more scraps to keep the plait and the denim handle together.
There you have it; a dress made into a bag.

I am very pleased with the end result! To top it off, everything was from my stash, so the dollar cost was nothing.

During September, I've also made the following projects using only materials from my stash:

So, did I make it the whole month without buying any fabric? I won a $25 fabric voucher, but I only ordered online two days ago. By the time the fabric arrives from the other side of the world, it will be October. So I figure that doesn't count. However, I must own up, I did purchase fabric to make my Retro Pillow during September. My Retro Pillow, however, isn't counting towards my entry in Stashbusting September, so that should be OK, especially given the amount of fabric I've used from my stash.

I'm glad I signed up for Stashbusting September. It has most definitely made me use what I already have and has stopped me impulse buying fabric. I stopped myself ducking into fabric shops on several occasions. Quite an achievement for me!!!

Pop on over to the T-Shirt Diaries and have a look at the other entries.

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  1. This bag looks awesome Pam. I love the pattern of the fabric and the flower on the straps looks great. But how are you going to be able to get through a whole month with No New Fabric??? Good Luck with that :-)

  2. I LOVE that! The pockets look great on the bag and how convenient they were already on the dress!

  3. That is adorable!!

  4. How cool is that! Now I have one more idea that will run through my head when I look at clothing fit for a refashion/upcycle!


  5. That turned out super cute! And love your twirly skirt too! ;)

  6. I love this upcycle! Visiting from A Glimpse Inside link party.

  7. This was tooooooo cute! And recycled at that! Very clever idea!

    I'm your newest follower; found you via Debbie.

  8. Love the cute wee top that you used, it turned into a Great upcycle! Well done

  9. Your bag looks great. I know it was hard to not buy fabric for a month but we lived. Tomorrow we can shop again!

  10. i love this! it just might be something that I could do with my minimal sewing skills! over from delicate construction and a new follower of yours!

    stop by and say hi sometime

  11. What a great bag. I've been trying to curb my fabric buying habit too. It's hard b/c fabric stores just make me happy.

  12. It's so cute!!! I can imagine how hard it was to cut into it. Gorgeous fabric - and a great way to keep on loving the piece. :)

  13. i love this! It is so cute! I would love it if you would come share this and/or any other projects at the Tuesday Talent Show at Chef In Training! Thanks so much and hope to see you there!

  14. Love how it turned out! Thanks so much for linking up with us at Show & Share! Hope you’re joining us again this week!


  15. I'm going to try my hand at clothes to bags too, you make it look so easy! Thanks for linking to Eat, Grow, Sew!

  16. love it! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  17. what a clever idea! The bag is really beautiful. You are very talented. :) I don't think I can survive a month without buying new fabric. ;)

  18. Hi Pam, the bag is gorgeous. You did a great job. How handy the little pockets are, for cell phone, etc. Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  19. That is a great idea! How cute! Now I need to look back through all the little shirts I was going to get rid of! I just became a follower!

  20. That was one gorgeous dress, it would have been so hard to make that first cut, but your bag turned out fantastic, Pam.

  21. I love making purses from re-purposed clothes. So fun and cute! Thanks so much for linking up to my Homemade Year on Blissful & Domestic

  22. Hi Pam, I've got so many nice things of my daughter's that are just dying to be made up into something nice like one of these bags. I want to thank you so much for linking up last week to my "Thriving on Thursdays" linky party. You always have such fantastic ideas. The party will be starting again in just over 12 hours so if you get a chance, I'd love to see what you've been up to this week.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

  23. What a great idea! I don't think I could do a month of cold turkey not buying fabrics. Well done for both.

    1. Thanks! Hard as it was, it was good for me to not buy fabric for the month...

  24. Really smart! Love this idea. No fabrics hey? Can you buy notions? That would be the kicker for me. I have loads of fabric, but I'm always missing one thing if I want to just dive in and make something. Thanks so much for sharing this at the Motivated Monthly party at Etcetorize~

  25. That's a really clever idea Pam! Such a cute result! Thanks for sharing.....
    ChrisW Designs

  26. Such a great refashion! :) Thanks for sharing your bag refashion at my T-shirt recycling link party!

    1. Thanks, Lina. This was the beginning of my adventures in refashioning.


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