Sunday, November 12, 2017

Upcycled Boro Style Jean Jacket #2, Part 1

I've always found used jeans irresistible, the velvety softness they get over time, the fading indigo dye. 

You may have seen my original boro inspired upcycled kimono-style jean jacket on this blog (post 1), (post 2), or on Pinterest. 
I made it for an upcycling contest at the Canada College fashion department a couple years ago.
Many folks have asked if I sell the jackets and/or instructions.  I've only made one jacket so far and have not sold it.  I am planning to develop written instructions and video class.  I've started jacket #2 and am beginning the process of instruction development.

Developing a pattern/instructions, written or filmed, so others can make your design begins with sewing the newly developed design 4-5 times to find consistent and simple methods for construction. 
Once that is done I begin photographing every step and making a written outline.

Here I'm auditioning a belt for the new jacket.  The leather needs to be a bit supple or it cannot be sewn through.  You can see that I have a collection of jeans in various stages of age/fading.  I prefer 100% cotton or as close as I can get.

The next key supply is a waffle kimono robe. 
I use the robe as a base to build on. 

They are surprisingly hard to find in my local thrift stores.  My niece suggested checking with local hotels for their discarded guest robes - brilliant!
 Me upcycling in the studio.  I have the luxury of a dedicated room for Paganoonoo work.
The neck area is curved so I've used bias cut strips in order to mold to kimono's shape.

Notice the  pocket-stitching outline on the right shoulder? 

When jeans are disassembled variations in the indigo color show up.

For me, the toughest part of designing the jacket is deciding on placement & proportion of lights, mediums, and darks, and making certain the end result is a pleasing arrangement.
 Although the light section on the back is already sewn on in a grid pattern, I'm not liking it.  Going to try something different.  My seam ripper got a workout.

You can see here that some of the back section has already been removed. More to come!

 Paganoonoo = upcycling made easy!  Start upcycle sewing today with Paganoonoo's upcycling instructions available in our Etsy store. 

Happy upcycling,


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Petersham Ribbon Shoelaces and Too Short Hair

You know that thing  - when you get up in the morning -  and absolutely need to modify something in your wardrobe so you can wear it that day? That happened to me this morning.  
The catalyst goes a few days back when I went for a haircut and decided to so something I've been thinking about for years, cut my hair super short to see what it would look like, hoping it would look fantastic so I could leave that way forever.

Here is what I looked like just before the cut (my husband George was doing a head shot for someone else so I asked him to take one of me too.)  I know, my hair looked good.

Background: I am a very curvy pear shaped lady with tiny hands and feet. That in and of itself is not a problem.  I like my body.  I typically use design principles to create balance in my appearance with chunky jewelry or other methods of creating visual weight near my face. Notice the big pearl earrings, layered necklace and pin in the picture above.

After the new haircut cut... my hair is now about 1/2" long in the back and sides, with a 1.5" patch on the front top (think mohawk).  Let me explain why I think this might not have been the best idea:

  • It turns out that I do not have a skull shape that makes short cuts look so appealing (you know that full round head like babies have.) 
  • In fact I have a flat spot on the top back of my head, darn!!
  • My head now has a decidedly different appearance (see reference to non-round skull above.)
I've discovered that if I want to counter this state of affairs, then I need to put on full makeup every day, and wait for my hair to grow back out.  I was looking to make getting ready in the morning easier, HAH!

This whole state of affairs makes getting dressed annoying.  This morning I picked out an oversized teal/green silk tunic purchased from the ladies at URU (fellow artists with great clothes) and a pair of black tights.  To top it off, I need the black Oxfords I upcycled with Lumiere metallic teal paint ala "Sassy Feet" style.

The Oxfords are close fitting so combining them with an oversized tunic, bullet head, and having shoes that make my feet look particularly small did not work for me.

Another wardrobe strategy I use is to replace skinny shoes laces with chunkier versions.  In this case I'd bought petersham ribbon at Britex (BTW they are moving in a few weeks) to match the paint job and had threaded one shoe months ago and then stopped. "Squirrel" apparently happened. So this morning I used a very small screw driver to coax the other ribbon through the holes.  
Aside:  The difference in grosgrain (JoAnn's) and petersham (Britex) ribbon is that petersham is woven with curved edges which are easily pressed into curves and is often used as a stabilizer on really nice dress skirt waistbands. 


So, with the goal of counterbalancing my smaller appearing head/tiny shoe issue I put on my lipstick and got to work.  I found the second piece of petersham ribbon in my studio in under 30 seconds, a miracle. 

Pressing forward it occurred to me that I could share photos of the process and my paint job, so here we are.  You've now had a peek into my brain and my fashion strategies. 

The weight of the ribbons is more than skinny traditional oxford laces.  They are eye catching and conversation starters and they make me happy. It's only hair, it will grow out.

Happy Upcycling,


Friday, November 3, 2017

Inspired to Sew Article - Paganoonoo!

The new issue of Schmetz's Inspired to Sew newsletter features 4 upcyclers, including Paganoonoo!  Click here to read the full issue.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Upcycling T-Shirts for Baby Boomers

Who doesn't love a t-shirt?  Easy to care for, comfortable to wear, a classic in every sense of the word, t-shirts are standard daily wear for many people.

One little glitch for me... being a pear-shaped post-menopausal woman.  To put it delicately, my assets are not currently arranged in a manner conducive to looking good in unisex t-shirts.  Problem? No! Opportunity? Yes!

A few days ago I heard a reference to the "Freshman 15" (pounds gaining the first year of college) and laughed to myself thinking the parallel is "Postmenopausal 20" which for many of us lands on the belly and midsection. 

Don't get me wrong, I love, LOVE this time of life and would not go back in time given a chance.  I'm also a realist which means I'm looking for ways of dressing that I think are flattering on me.  Me as I am right now, at my current weight and current shape. 

I'm committed to looking good every day.  I'm not committed to trying to look as skinny as possible, after all, I'm not skinny so what would be the point?  I'm also not committed to trying to look sexy as seems to be the point of many fashion ads.  I believe sexiness in a woman my age (most ages in fact) comes from her confidence in herself.  Wanting to look good without trying to be as skinny or sexy looking as possible is very freeing - the possibilities open up.

Back to t-shirts.  One thing I know for sure is that tightly fitting clothes look good on very few figures - and- clothes that skim the body are flattering on most figures.

So what happens when a pear-shaped woman puts on a a unisex t-shirt?

  • If the t-shirt fits in the shoulders it is way too tight across the belly and hips
  • If it is way too tight across the hips and belly it gives the appearance of extra pounds
  • If the t-shirt has ease across the hips and belly then it is extremely oversized in the bust and shoulders and might as well be worn for pajamas
Purchase here
These were the problems to be solved.  I used the standard Paganoonoo approach which is to choose a base shirt with semi-fitted bustline and then create loose draping around the belly and hips. I created the Ellie Pattern.

Here is an example of before and after ease:

and another version from all angles...


This Paganoonoo customer stopped by PIQF to share how she created plenty of room in this unisex t-shirt using Ellie Instructions

See more examples on this post and this post.

By the way, this technique also works for long sleeved t-shirts and hoodies.  If you use it for a hoodie be sure to use a like-weight fabric, such as part of another sweatshirt or sweater. 

 This shirt was a long sleeved T from the men's section, now with a lowered neckline, new flannel front pockets, a back added from a dress shirt and shortened sleeves. Super comfortable with a pair of jeans!

With cooler weather here what will you upcycle for the season?


Monday, October 2, 2017

Clean Paganoonoo studio!

We had a large celebration over the weekend and as part of the prep I cleaned up my studio, really cleaned it, to the point that it looks AMAZING!

Given that it is unlikely to stay in this pristine condition I thought I'd share a video.  
This is the Paganoonoo studio where I do my sewing:
I'm very lucky to have a dedicated room, and am thrilled to have hardwood floors (easy to clean up) and natural lighting. 

 And the second room is the Paganoonoo storeroom full of garments waiting to be transformed aka my "stash", and all the finished paganoonoo garments and samples.

I'm so selective about color combinations that even with this huge stash of garments to start from I sometimes still can't find a third coordinating color so I'm off to the thrift store again, LOL.  

These two spaces have been significantly improved and they look so good because, true confessions, I shoved some of the excess into my office/pattern writing room.


Coming up very soon, the next Paganoonoo appearance is at PIQF, the Pacific International Quilt Festival, held in Santa Clara, CA.

We will have patterns for sale, and kits, and some sample garments.  
It is a quilt show and it is also a terrific show for garment stitchers.  There are many booths with fabric, sewing tools, notions, and sewing machines for sale. The quilts are truly works of art and there is a wearable art section.  

Peninsula Wearable Art Guild (PenWAG), my guild, will have a booth with samples of our members work.  Please stop by and take a look. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area this group is a terrific and not to be missed resource.

If you can't make it to the show and want to check out our upcycled fashion instructions visit the Etsy Shop.

Happy upcycling and sewing!