Sunday Motivation

Upcycling tank tops

Living in the tropics where it is constantly warm, I wear tank tops all year round so have a plentiful supply of ones that are getting worn and stretched and are ripe for a good upcycle!

So here are some ideas on what to do with tank tops:

First of all some refashions 
- making new clothing items

Or making the tops into something different...

Like this no-sew bag from a tank by Crafts and Creations:

Or you could simply use the fabric

Most recently, I used the slogans from the front of four of my old sporty tank tops that had become too stretched and worn to wear, and made these 4 things!

A sports duffel bag, a yoga mat bag, a large tote bag and a cushion!

I'm collecting all the ideas I find for upcycling tank tops on my Tank Top Upcycling Pinterest Board.

Crochet amigurumi polar bear

I've been practising my crochet a little bit more and made this little polar bear!

I think he's rather cute - and was nice and easy to make.
Thanks to Elisabeth for the suggestion to use a paper clip as a stitch marker, I found counting my rows much easier that last time when I  made a ducky with uneven sized limbs!!

I also got some big chunky wool and a couple of very chunky crochet hooks that my daughter and I have been playing around with.
My daughter loves the chunky soft feel of the wool and has been busy making things for her toys!

Some simple chains to start with..

That soon turned into..

A hammock..

 Snug as a bug sleeping bag...

and the comfiest bed ever..

I just sat and practised while watching tv, and ended up with this..
Could be a very wide scarf, or a small blanket! It's not very even, but very cosy!

Polar bear likes it anyway..

I'm enjoying playing around with crochet - and seeing my daughter get creative with it!

What new skills are you learning and practising?

Dress Upcycle Tutorial

These were two simple knit dresses that I bought on holiday in Bali a couple of years ago. Unfortunately they shrunk in the wash and were rather too short to wear!

So I cut the bottom off one dress - it had a few holes in the fabric, so I just took off those really.

I then cut the top part off the other dress.

Then all I did was simply stitch the two dress parts together to make one longer two-tone dress.  

I tried the dress on at this stage, but found it a bit shapeless:

So with the remaining fabric, I cut strips, opening up one of the side seams to make 3 long strips of fabric, which I then knotted together and plaited (braided) to form a kind of belt.

I then wrapped it around my waist firmly for size, then cut and stitched the ends together covering them with another scrap of the fabric to hide the raw edges.

Finally, I hand- stitched this belt to the join in the two fabrics on the dress - at just four points.

This helped to hold the belt in place, and add a little more shape to the dress, which I'm now quite happy with!

For more ideas about upcycling old dresses - 

I'll be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons can be found on the bottom of this page, and whose direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Upcycling Dresses - part 2, my own dresses

Last week I showed lots of examples and ways to upcycle dresses - from making bags, to skirts and even a money box!

I also showed you the dresses that I had cleared from my own wardrobe that needed something done with them!

One dress - the blue and pink one, was so small that all I had to do was shorten the straps slightly and pass it on to my daughter - who is growing closer to my height all the time!

Next I looked at 2 purple knit dresses that I bought on holiday in Bali a couple of years ago.
I love the colour of these dresses and they are so comfortable - but unfortunately, after a couple of washes, they had shrunk to little more than tops!

So - I decided to merge the two together into a single dress that was a bit longer!

I'll post next week about how I did this!!

UPDATE - the tutorial can now be found here.

The last few dresses were worn or had tears and holes in them.

I decided to use an idea from Michele who commented last week:

"Any cotton dresses I've had naturally go into quilts in my 

house too, so there's another idea! :)"

And that is exactly what I decided to do!

This is as far as I've got as yet - I'm hoping next week to put it all together as a small quilt - I'll post some pictures when it's done!

Creativity Tests - do you use your right or left brain more?

A bit of fun this week, with some creative tests!!

Creativity comes from the right brain and logic from the left.
This week I found some 'tests' you can take to see whether you use your right or left brain more, and see how creative you really are!

One test, which only tooks a couple of minutes was a
Right Brain vs Left Brain Creativity test

My results were as follows:

So I'm more logical than creative!
But I do like the choice of possible jobs there.....skating judge??

Really these videos and short tests show that for whatever reason, there are obvious answers to simple questions that the majority of people give.   For me - the first things that popped into my head were the obvious answers that the majority of people give, but I do WANT to give different and creative answers, so when I thought about it I could and did.

So from these fun tests, I would say that I'm not naturally creative, but I can push myself and choose to be so if I want!

Here's one final test to see if you use your right (creative side) or left (logical side) brain more...

 (spinning dancer by Nobuyuki Kayahara)

Apparently if you see her spinning 
clockwise, you use your right brain more,
anti-clockwise you use your left brain more.

According to this test - I use my right brain more!!
Who hooo! there's a test that says I'm creative! I like this one!

I used to be able to see her spin both ways - when I first saw this test a couple of years ago, but seem to have forgotten how to do it...

Which way does the lady spin for you??

Giant Pencil Shaped Pencil Case Tutorial

No matter how many pencil cases my daughters have, they always seem to want another. This time I wanted to try something a bit different, and came up with this giant pencil shaped - pencil case, which is perhaps not so practical for them to put in their school bags as it's so large, but is nonetheless quite a cool pencil case I think!

Here's how to make one.

You will need:
3 rectangles: 38 x 32cm (15 x 12.5") 
1 x main outer fabric
1 x inner fabric
1 x interfacing
1 strip black fabric for pencil top - 32 x 8cm (12.5 x 3")
1 strip pink fabric for rubber at end - 32 x 5cm (12.5 x 2")
1 square plain fabric for pencil tip  20 x 20cm (8 x 8")
1 square red for coloured pencil tip 6 x 6cm (2.25 x 2.25")
End circles 10cm ( 4") diameter 
1 x pink for rubber at end
1 x plain fabric for pencil tip end
3 x inner fabric for inside ends of main pencil case
One Zip 32cm (12.5") long (or longer is ok)

1. Pencil Tip

Take the plain square of fabric, and pin the smaller red square flush on one corner:

Stitch across from corner to corner where the pins are in the above picture:

Trim off the excess fabric on the corner beyond your stitching:

Then fold the red tip back.

Now with right sides of the fabric together, fold in half, matching the seams of your red tip, and pin, then stitch all the way along that side.

Trim as shown in this picture:

Turn your pencil tip right sides out, and stuff.

Then pin and machine stitch one of your plain fabric circular end, all the way around the opening. This is a little fiddly with your machine if you have stuffed the pencil tip firmly.

2. The rubber end of the pencil

Pin then stitch your black and pink fabric strips together along the long edges, right sides together.

Then fold the short edges together, matching the seams up and pin then stitch:

Then take your pink circle, and pin, then stitch that to the pink end of this tube you have created - right sides together.

Turn this right sides out and stuff.

Take a circle of your inner fabric, pin then stitch around the top to seal in the stuffing.

3. Main pencil case 

Lay out your 3 large rectangles and your zip like this:
Interfacing, then inner fabric facing upwards, zip facing upwards, then outer fabric facing downwards.

Pin along the zip edge. Then stitch where you have pinned using the zipper foot on your machine.

Now open out the inner and outer fabric on either side of the zip. Open the zip right up, then lift up the raw edges of the fabric and pin together in the same way as before:
Interfacing, then inner fabric facing upwards, zip facing upwards, then outer fabric facing downwards.

Stitch where you have pinned, again using your zipper foot.

4. Putting it all together

This is the trickiest part!
First make sure your zip is still open - this is very important!
Take your pencil tip and insert it facing inwards to one side of your outer fabric pencil case:

Then pin and stitch the raw edges together.

I left the zipper foot on my machine to stitch this, as the stuffed end is very bulky and takes a fair amount of careful manoeuvring to stitch around.  I resorted to hand-stitching across the zip part as it proved too bulky and awkward for my machine!

Next, take the rubber end of your pencil case, and push that into the opposite end of the outer fabric main pencil case:

Again pin and stitch all the way around the edge of this. Once again I hand stitched across the bulky edge where the zip was.

Next, take another of the inner fabric circles, and pin and stitch this to one end of the inner fabric main body of the pencil case:

Now with the final pink circle, pin and stitch this ONLY to the top part of your final inner pencil case end, across the zip part. Leave the rest of this open to allow you to turn out your pencil case.

5. Finishing off.

Turn the pencil case right sides out through the opening at the end of the inner part of the pencil case.
Pin then stitch the opening closed.

Then straighten up and admire your Giant Pencil Shaped Pencil Case!

For the free PDF version of this tutorial click here.

If you liked this tutorial, then why not take a look at 

There are over 100 tutorials for all kinds of different things and all abilities!