Friday, March 16, 2018

New Paganoonoo Upcycling Instructions - Unisex Boro Style Jean Jacket

I'm thrilled to announce that the Paganoonoo Boro-Style Jean Jacket upcycling instructions are now for sale!

This jacket was made in 2014 (original post) and proved to be extremely popular.  I've shared about it and made a few more versions, featured on the blog herehere, here and here.

Now you can make your own version following Paganoonoo upcycling instructions! 

The foundation is a kimono style waffle robe.  The jacket is built on top of the robe with light quilting holding the jean material to the robe. 
Sizing is a function of the robe size - anyone that kind find or make a robe that fits their torso the way they like can successfully fit this garment.  In addition to the robe, materials needed are a pile of old jeans, preferable in various shades and a plain leather belt with buckle.

The instructions walk you through:
Paganoonoo sets you up for success with clear instructions and abundant illustrations.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Paganoonoo Give Away - fantastic book on Couture Embellishment by Ellen Miller

Ellen Miller, author of Couture Embellishment
While I was in Solon Ohio shooting episodes of It's Sew Easy (airing summer 2018) I had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Miller.

She had copies of her book on Creating Couture Embellishment, and we were all in awe of the quality of the technical information and examples/illustrations.  

 I was already interested in incorporating more embellishment in my upcycling and am super excited to try these techniques.  I see embellishments as a terrific way to upcycle, with or without using deconstruction and reconstruction.

I believe Ellen's book will prove to be THE gold standard of couture embellishment techniques for decades to come. 
Chapters cover fabric-manipulation techniques of pleating, quilting, tucking, ruffling, shirring, and smocking, as well as the fabrication and application of feathers, beading, embroidery, flowers, decorative ribbons and bows, bias bindings and piping, fringe, braids, and passementerie. The heirloom quality created by the insertion or application of lace is also explored.
Featuring a visual index of every embellishment in the book that is designed to offer inspiration as well as showcasing the myriad of choice, Creating Couture Embellishment provides a comprehensive sourcebook of ideas for the student, professional, and home sewer alike.

 I bought a copy for myself and am thrilled with the opportunity study each page.  
Would you like your own copy?  Ellen was generous enough to offer a copy as a giveaway for Paganoonoo readers. 
On May 1, 2018 I will choose the lucky winner.  
Enter now by sending a quick note about why you would like to win a copy of this book.  Send it to or make a comment on this post. 

If you are not familiar with Paganoonoo it is a design house specializing in written instructions for upcycling existing clothing. "Upcycle Sewing Made Easy" is our motto. If you would like to find out more or sign up for the Paganoonoo mailing list (never shared or sold) go to and look on the upper right for Free Tips...
Example Paganoonoo Design and Instructions

Thursday, March 8, 2018

"Sandy" blouse by Sharan in grey and light burgundy

Upcycling = Adding value to existing goods (like fashion) through the use of labor, materials and creativity. (c) Paganoonoo

Sharan in her newly upcycled Paganoonoo "Sandy" Blouse.  This design is made with three dress shirts, disassembled and reassembled into a new design following Paganoonoo instructions.
I met Sharan at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup Washington. She was immediately noticeable because of her great sense of style.  

I was thrilled when she selected the Paganoonoo "Sandy" blouse instructions and then sent photos of her first Paganoonoo upcycle. 

Sharan did a beautiful job with fit, construction and color selection.

She followed the instructions to create a high / low hemline and a cuff on 3/4 sleeves.

 The back follows the instructions exactly.  Note the upside down sleeve at the hem. 
Here Sharan stayed with the 3 circles in varying sizes motif, but modified the arrangement.  I quite like it! Close ups of the circle appliques:

The key to fitting this blouse is to start with a dress shirt that fits your upper body - any sized person who can find a dress shirt that fits their shoulder, arms and bust they way they like can successfully fit this pattern.   

Extra room is added in the hip area so if that area is a bit tight on the base shirt it is okay.


Make your own upcycled Sandy Blouse today! Paganoonoo upcycling instructions are available on Etsy

Happy Upcycling!   Michelle

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Patti Blouse in grey with stamped and painted embellishments

This version of an upcycled Patti blouse features something
 I plan to explore more this year, surface design embellishments.

The starting shirts are all gray and fairly sedate but the blouse gets a bit of a pop from silver stamped rectangles along the center front, dark paint on the back waistband, and dark trim on the lower left back.  Subtle and a bit hard to see, the buttons have also been adorned with seed beads.

The rectangles were sewn on as is, with their raw edges pinked.

The stripes are felled seams cut from other dress shirts
The embellishments make this blouse special & noticeable in a subtle and understated way.

Sew your own upcycled Patti blouse!  All it takes is 3 dress shirts - good for your budget, good for the planet! 
Shop Paganoonoo Upcycling Instructions

Here is Anne, the proud owner, with a customer at PIQF in 2017.  The customer has on a tie dyed Patti blouse.

P. S. I made an accidental cut in the blouse when I was making it.  Don't let that kind of mistake stop you!  Here is how I repaired it:

Front side of a repair
Back side of a repair.  Using a backing fabric helps the repair hold and also keeps the repair from creating a surface pucker.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Demo - A tool for sewing thick seams, clearance plate

Hello, I'm Michelle Paganini, owner of Paganoonoo, an upcycle fashion designer and patternmaker.If you don't already know what upcycling is here is my definition:

Upcycle (up-si-kel) To improve existing goods (such as clothing) through the use of labor, materials, and creativity.

Upcycle sewing is using existing garments to build new fashions, instead of buying flat fold cloth.  One of the things I love about upcycle sewing is the ability to take advantage of already existing features, like hems, so that no new hem needs to be created.

One of the problems with using existing hems is that they are bulky and difficult to sew.  There is a tool called a clearance plate (I call mine a thick seam aid, a.k.a "Hump Jumper") that solves this problem.  

Sandy Glickfield

Click here for my demonstration of how to use one. The one in the demo came with my Viking machine. There is a commercial version called a "Hump Jumper" that does the same thing.

This demo is my first home produced video so it will likely make you laugh.  It was filmed by my good friend Sandy Glickfield (who also came up with the name Paganoonoo.) 

My goal is to set up a home video studio and produce professional quality video classes and open an online school!  Stay tuned.


P.S. My upcycling instructions are for sale in the Paganoonoo Etsy Shop.  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sign up for workshops now!

If you have been waiting for Paganoonoo workshops registration is open for classes on Wednesday February 28th at the Puyallup, Washington  Sewing and Stitchery Expo.

Bring your favorite too-tight-at-the-hip t-shirt and walk away with an awesome blouse with hip and belly room and the ability to transform a whole bunch more!  You will get the Paganoonoo "Ellie" pattern which we will be following in class.



If you’d like to learn about mixed media embellishment techniques-

sign up for the pocket class. 

We will use fabric paints, stamps, fabric pens, beads and more, building up layers of interest. 

Use these techniques to spice up your wardrobe and create wearable works of art!
Leave with a stunning sample pocket.

Register on the website, click the "Tickets" button.  Once you have set up a profile, in the next step you can select classes by instructor, look for Michelle Paganini

If you won’t be there on Wednesday look for me on the free stage Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and in our booth!

                                                       Happy upcycling!  Michelle