Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It's Sew Easy Paganoonoo line up, Series 1300, 2017

Michelle was invited to appear on It's Sew Easy and she answered with a resounding yes!  She flew to Solon, Ohio in January and filmed 5 different segments on upcycling (her favorite topic!), 4 of which appear in series 1300 and one that will air in series 1400.

At this time (mid July 2017) episodes have already aired on TV in the United States and in some areas, not at all (SF Bay Area included).  ISE is syndicated on PBS and local stations select when to air the episodes. To find out which stations in your area carry ISE, check here, or check your local online listings.  After the whole 1300 series has aired on TV they will become available on the It's Sew Easy website. 

These are Michelle's episodes:

Episode 1303 has tips on harvesting sewing notions from second hand clothes - more choices and often better prices!

Episode 1304 covers how to upcycle a double collar on a dress shirt.  Full details of how to do this for any size dress collar combination are for sale at Paganoonoo's Etsy Store. 

Episode 1305 has tips on 1) how to deal with itchy labels and retain your garment's full value, 2) how to upcycle a chemise for use with a blouse using a slip or nightgown, and 3) what to do about pesky zippers and buttons that undo themselves.

Episode 1312 covers how to add reverse applique to your upcycle for a design boost.

Angela Wolfe, fellow presenter, models a Paganoonoo Sandy Blouse.  Michelle has on an oversized version of the same design rendered in neutral gray stripes.

Just prior to filming. 
I'd never done TV before and the crew was really supportive. 

Prepping for episode 1312

There was definitely fun on the set, starting with fellow presenter Carolina Moore and Brother Sewing Machine Educator Kim Campbell photo bombing me taking a selfie in what felt like an inch of makeup, needed for HD TV. 

Joann Banko, fellow presenter generously
shared a copy of her excellent book "Wrapped in Embroidery

Last but not least when I got off the plane there was a fresh undisturbed snowfall!  Being a California girl I had to take a selfie with snow in the background.  I also stomped around it it, LOL.  Couldn't resist sending my husband a screenshot of the weather.
For the full lineup of the 1300 series episodes, including fellow presenters, check here.  Episode photos courtesy of ISE.

The Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions collection, 
all available on our Etsy site.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The perfect wrist pincushion

I don't know about you, but I love using a wrist pincushion.  It is so much easier than carting around loose pin cushions, although I use those too.  

However, I have had pet peeves.  The kind with the plastic band band slips, is not very adjustable to wrist size, is narrow so I continually miss the cushion and prick myself, and when it is hot I sweat underneath. 

As an alternative I made an upcycled cashmere band and my own cushion, which worked very well except for the pins and needles sometimes hitting my wrist underneath and some shifting around of the cushion. The original band wore out so when I added a new band I glued a patch of leather underneath the cushion, which was an improvement as I did not get pricked as much.  Much to my disappointment it has been missing for some months.
I finally realized I don't want to wait any longer for it to show up, so I've been on a mission to build the perfect wrist pin cushion. I think I hit it!

The key is a wide leather cuff.  While I was in Florence, Italy with the Canada College Fashion Department Study Abroad (Italian Fashion) class a few weeks ago we visited a fantastic family owned leather business.  I saw leather cuffs on the wall and excitedly tried them on but none was perfect.  We had just toured their incredible on-site workshop and I realized I could order a custom-made cuff!

This is the result.  It is slightly wider on one end than the other to fit my wrist.  It is 2.5" wide and has snaps on  both corners. I requested perforations on both sides to accommodate attaching the cushion. Perfection!

Now for the cushion.  It is double upcycled and felted wool, LOL. It started as a thrift store score of a brand new Alpaca golf sweater which my husband did not want to wear (darn him!). 

So I upcycled it into a felted cross body handbag complete with a zippered inside pouch from FABMO fabric, and lining from a wool remnant purchased at the PenWAG (my guild) holiday party exchange/fundraiser, and embellished it with huge vintage mother of pearl buttons I got when visiting my Aunt Jane in Minnesota.  

It was a thing of beauty...until I washed it again in a load with a tube of red lipstick.  Not only did it shrink more, it got red streaks that did not come out.  Back to the "use it for something" pile. Unfortunately I do not think I ever took photos of it.

Felted wool makes a great pincushion. So I cut up the bag, layered rectangles and sewed them together by hand.  
Then I wrapped one long piece around the stacked ones, seam down the middle of the underside and stitched it closed.  It probably could have been used it just like this but it was shedding quite a bit.
I encased the felt cushion in crushed red velvet.  
I pulled and sewed all the raw edges down so that they would be hidden next to the leather cuff. Red is my favorite color so this will make me smile every time I use it.
 It was a mistake to use white thread on the underside as some showed once the cushion was sewn on.  Too lazy to redo it instead I colored over the threads with a red fabric marker. 
This is where the perforated holes came in handy.  I was able to secure the cushion with buttonhole thread quite easily. Changing out the cushion will be simple to do. 
Pins slid in easily.  The pad stays secure, not shifting around as it did with the cashmere band.   One improvement would make the pad more easily accessible is shifting the stitching holes in towards me.
The snaps keep the band secure.

I am quite happy with the results. 

I'm considering making these to sell, or selling a kit with a pre-finished cuff made of upcycled belts.  

I've had my eye on a professional snap setter, LOL, one more toy.

What is your favorite type of pincushion?

Happy Upcycling!  

Paganoonoo sewing instructions are available at

Friday, July 14, 2017

Handkerchiefs for tears of joy

I've been wondering, is using a hankerchief going to come back? My husband and I use them.  My Dad uses them.  When I was little somehow I associated having a hankie with being a grown man or lady.

If you've never used one it is much nicer than a tissue.  I wouldn't recommend them for a heavy cold, but they are great for general sneezes (I have hay fever) and tears and wash up very well.  I was in a vintage store the other day and they had stacks of beautiful hankies for sale. E-bay is brimming with them.

I set up a hankie bar for our Son's wedding with a sign that said "For Tears of Joy".  I had purchased enough vintage hankies for all 80 guests. Every single one was gone before the evening was over.  

The sweetest moment was when my new daughter-in-law was so moved during the ceremony that she began to cry.  Her new nephew (the ring bearer) reached into his suit coat and whipped out the hankie he had taken and handed it to her.  She then ended up sharing with her bridesmaids.  The bridesmaids gave it back at the end saying she should keep it as it contained all their tears.

I've made a practice of giving hankies as a gift to key folks at weddings and funerals, where we will predictably cry.  They are always very grateful.  It's such a simple and inexpensive way to let someone know you are thinking of them in that special moment and offering your love and support.

Vintage is green! 

P.S.  If you are having a big wedding soon, 
look what I found on e-bay - no I'm not getting a kickback!

It's Sew Easy - Filming is complete

I had the absolute pleasure of visiting KP Productions in Cleveland and being filmed for upcoming episodes of "It's Sew Easy". Episodes will start airing in June this year.

The topics will all be upcycling (naturally).  We did 3 segments (about 11 minutes), 2 tips, and 3 Instagram commercials.

The crew was wonderfully supportive and I learned some the tricks for filming vs. live presentation.  They said I did well, whew!

Here are some photos from my adventure:

on set with #AngelaWolf, she's wearing Paganoonoo!!

The taping was in February. I saw and touched real snow! 
In my TV makeup. 
The set

Michelle Paganini YouTube channel first video posting

Yahoo!  My first official YouTube post courtesy of It's Sew Easy!!!

As the other segments and tips from season 1300 become available I will load them too.

Happy Upcycling!  Michelle

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Upcycled Shirt Dress - The Rebecca Dress

I don't know about you but I love a classic shirt dress.
That's what this upcycled Paganoonoo Rebecca Dress is, a classic shirtdress. 

Using men's shirts as a starting point is a fantastic way to take advantage of the the already completed details such as collars, cuffs, plackets, buttonholes, etc. 

Men's shirts are typically made of great fabric and have excellent construction details making them the perfect choice for upcycling. 

To make your own version, purchase this set of Paganoonoo detailed step-by-step instructions.

These instructions will work for anyone who can find a shirt that fits their bust and shoulders in a way they like.  All the rest of the sizing falls out of that starting shirt. They are available as a PDF file and hard copy on the Paganoonoo Etsy store.

This dress takes 3 to 6 dress shirts, depending on the size and color choices. Intermediate sewing skills are needed. 

Happy Upcycling!