Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Fabric Left Overs and What to do With Them.

Lately I have been very busy with emptying out the basement of boxes. Ten years ago when we left for France I put everything I would not be using in boxes and they were stored in the basement. Added to those boxes were boxes of fun finds I brought back with me from France and Germany. On top of that were boxes from friends of friends who wanted to off load some loved ones sewing room. To say the basement was full was an understatement.
I started with the cleaning, sorting, keeping and discarding last year. I dare say I will be at it into next year. The garbage can has been constantly full and Good Will and the Salvation Army love me. Every time I go to the grocery store I drop something off at the Goodwill drop off conveniently located next to the Kroger near where I live. Fabric has been making trips to my sister-in-law for her charity sewing group. I have empty boxes now to show for it.
My routine has been to spend at least 2 hours each day sorting and tossing and then I take a break to do something for me.

A couple days ago I was going through the big plastic box of kits. I have taken many classes in my life, in fact, truth be told, I love taking classes where they hand me a kit. I love the way everything is neatly placed in a plastic bag for me to open and pet. I have taken sewing schools where you just don’t get to all of the projects offered. Those unopened kits? I had a lot of them.

Years ago I had a 3 year rule. This rule got put on hold while I lived in France but simply put, at the end of 3 years I had to take whatever it was out of its plastic bag and ask myself “Am I going to make or finish this?” If the answer was yes it went back in its bag and on the shelf. If the answer was no, it was either tossed, donated or taken apart for fabric to be used someday on something else and placed back into my stash.

The problems with kits are that not all pieces were big ones. I started a box for cotton fabric scraps (suitable for quilting) and another for linen, silk and batiste. What I ended up with was a heaping pile of fabric bits.
I have been pinning my way through Pinterest and this pin from Susan Eastman stopped me in my tracks.

I would love to own something like this, but in dark colors maybe. Before I make one of those, I though of trying to remake a shirt that I bought in Vietnam last year. I love the top and the way it fits and so as step one I needed just a simple T shaped top. Later I will add a cowl and some of the other things that made this Vietnam shirt one of my favorites. More on that shirt later.

First though I need a good fitting T shaped top. Easy enough to draft. I love the color blocking look so I started digging through the box to see what I could find.

Here was a small problem solved quite easily, I was mixing jacket weight linens with handkerchief linens and silk dupoini. Conveniently in the box was also lots of pieces of Swiss cotton batiste. Everything I thought I might use was prewashed. If I cannot put the finished product in the washer, I am not going to wear it.
The pieces were then laid out on top of the T- pattern so that a pleasant color blocking look could be achieved. 
The thinner pieces, the silk dupoini and the light weight linens, were backed with the Swiss batiste so that all pieces used in the shirt were now approximately the same weight. Fabric blocks were sewn together and then the seam allowances of the blocks were serged so that there were no raw edges. The front and back were cut out and then assembled using flat felled seams.
Not bad for a first try, the shirt fits well and will be a nice addition to my wardrobe. Best of all is that I was able to reduce the amount of fabric bits by a small amount.


  1. Cute. I love making jackets from leftover pieces of projects.

  2. Such a clever project! and it's always a bonus to use pieces saved for an unknown use. I have a couple of plastic bins full of fabric and garments to cut up for repurposing but I'd begun to wonder if I should just admit defeat and clear it all out. You are an inspiration :)