jazzing up a denim jacket

You know, it occurred to me that I haven’t share any DIY/craft projects for a while… and this post has been sitting in my draft folder for quite a long time (given I started this project while living in Tasmania!) waiting for more up-to-date-though-never-finished pics.

I figured I may as well share what I’ve done to my plain denim jacket so far. I hadn’t had a denim jacket for many years and decided I needed one, but when I went looking I couldn’t find one I liked so I bought a cheap one thinking I’d jazz it up myself. The one I ended up buying was comfortable but didn’t have breast pockets which made it look really boring… ugh.

Don’t know about you, but I love the crazy stitching a la boro/sashiko/japanese style etc. I also love visible mending and generally badly stitched and mended stuff. I have a huge collection of such images in my Pinterest boards if you wanna visit.

This image is the inspiration for part 1 of the jacket makeover.


Only I went with a patchwork of fabrics, and only under the collar for that flash of colour. At least in Part 1 of the makeover…

Step 1: Distress the jacket. I used a razor blade and worked at fraying some of the edges. I had planned to run over it with the car a few times but chickened out.

Step 2: Select fabrics that compliment eachother in colours you like. I chose different red tones and patterns.


Step 3: Start sewing them on. I did this by hand as I didn’t want the stitches to show on the top side of the collar. Plus I wanted to do it in my own very messy way. (I’m really not that good at hand sewing… or sewing in general for that matter… its part of my charm.)


Sorry for the blurry pic.


This is how the collar looked with the fabrics layed out and pinned to be stitched on.

Step 4: Colourful seams. I brought some needles and embroidery thread with me when I came to Greece on holiday last summer and whiled away some quiet hours inspired by this image on Pinterest:

I loved the different colours and thought they’d make the jacket stand out a bit… and turns out I was neater with the stitching than I meant to be.

Funny story actually… I have a natural tendency towards neatness and have real difficulty with randomness. I worked hard to loosen up my art for instance – not using glasses so I couldn’t focus on details, using my whole hand and pastels instead of coloured pencils and my face an inch from the page, forcing myself to go for expression rather than each individual hair on a dog’s head, etc.

Reversely, my sewing sucks. No matter how hard I tried for years to make my stitches neat and even, I just can’t do it. Yet when I want to be messy and random I end up with something that looks neat. How on earth does that happen?

Ok so I couldn’t find a photo of the jacket with just the coloured edging on the seams, so you a step 5 image…

Step 5: Embroidery… I began sewing random patterns and trying really hard to do messy embroidery. My french knots are pretty bad actually.

This is how the jacket looks currently, but its a work in progress. The blank area on the right side needs more french knots, kind of scattering out. The back yolk needs a whole lotta embroidery. And I’m considering something big on the back…

By the end of it I should know how to do any stitch you care to name, have made up some of my own, and have a jacket I need a forklift to put on.

Its real purty though, ain’t it?


jacket – a work in progress

You know those boho jackets and stitched patched jeans you see everywhere on Pinterest? Well, you see them if you’re me and you love them and actually look for them…

Something like the images below (all from Pinterest):

So pretty… so messy and beautiful…

Well, I decided to make my own. And since I didn’t have an old jean jacket to alter, I had to go buy one. I found this very cheap one at Millers while in Tasmania last year. Its pretty plain, no breast pockets, no fading, no rips or worn bits… I had to create my own. No rips (yet), but I frayed the edges where I thought a jacket would get worn by use anyway.

I did that by running over it with a razor blade to ‘shave’ off bits of thread. It worked, but obviously it needs to be washed a few more hundred times.

I did consider running over it with the car a few times, on gravel… I also considered tossing it in the sea and letting the sea beat it against the rocks a while. (I may still do that…)

Meanwhile I started working on it when I first got it. First step was to put patches of fabric on the underside of the collar.

I decided to go with reddish colours cause I like them.

I picked the colours and pinned them in place, then hand stitched them onto the collar by hand. My stitching is pretty bad which is why I decided to go with under the collar first instead of attempting that japanese boro and sashiko mending I just adore.

Didn’t turn out too bad. So I brought it with me on holidays in Greece last June… and while here I stitched the coloured bands on the seams. It was something to do during quiet times when my hands got bored.

Since then I’ve been practicing my stitching. I brought it with me to Greece again and while in Athens for longer than planned I began work on it again. Each time I sit and stitch for a while I end up doing a couple of hours while watching Netflix or listening to music. Its very relaxing and I’m loving it.

This is how it looks after about 4 sessions of stitching, maybe 5… and there’s still a blank spot on the right where I’m not sure if I’ll fill it in entirely or just scatter more french knots.

Yeah, I learned how to do french knots! I’m not great at them yet but practice makes perfect.

My stitching is still not great but this style is perfect for messy stitching. Its ideal for people like me who couldn’t make even stitches if their lives depended on it.

The plan is to keep going till I get bored, till there’s no space left, till the jacket becomes too heavy to wear or till the only thing holding it together is the stitching…

It needs more, doesn’t it? Every time I wear it it has another section added to it.

Its my learning project for this type of thing but its so much fun. I’ll add more photos as it gets more complicated…


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visible mending where you don’t need to mend

I was bored the other day and I was looking for stuff to do. You know how it is. Restless hand syndrome. I can watch TV or listen to music and sing along but my hands are bored. I could have eaten something but I wanted a the non-fattening activity.

So I decided to try some visible mending on a new jumper which didn’t need mending. Cause, you know… why not?

I’d been inspired by a pin I saved ages ago on Pinterest (yeah, THAT site) and I really wanted to try to do something similar. Only I went tonal instead of contrasting colours. More subtle for my first try.

I’m happy with it. I know no one else has the same sweater… Maybe I’ll be more adventurous next time…


voodoo dolls


It’s been a while since I shared any projects so here’s one I prepared earlier. I know you’ve had withdrawals.

I’m sure you’ve lived through this… the last minute rush to get everything done before a trip. Packing, making lists, tying up loose ends, organising… chaotic stuff.

And through it all my brain was still thinking about things to create. I need to be creative. It makes me feel good. So despite the long list of things I needed to do, I sat in the office to make something. Like I made the little sewing pouch.

I made these little voodoo dolls.

Aren’t they cute? In an ugly monstery voodoo way of course. They come complete with three pins each, you can always add more if you have a greater need.

Wayne put them to good use. Soon after he saw them he claimed one and would stick pins in it any time I said something mean.

“What’s for dinner?”


Pin in the head.

“Can you make me a cup of coffee please?”


Pin in the stomach.

I was getting really worried…


a quick and easy quirky pouch

You know what its like… you’re flat out busy, you have a To Do list a mile long and the phone never stops ringing.

And yet, suddenly, you feel the urge to make something.


This little pouch wasn’t on my list, that’s for sure. I was thinking I needed a small ‘something’ to put some thread, needles, scissors and bits so that I could take them with me to places just in case I got the urge to create.

You know how that is, right? Its not just me?


So, there I was, in the office/craft room/hive of creativity thinking “I have enough time to whip something up”.

I grabbed an offcut of blue fabric with white stars and worked out how to make a pouch out of it utilising the odd shape of the fabric as a feature. I thought the red with white dots would look great with it, so I added that. Added buttons and an elastic hair tie as a closer and voila!


A cute, handy little carry pouch for small embroidery type supplies for that downtime when you get the urge to do something with your hands.

And a quirky shape to boot!


a bunny ear-phone holder

Have you seen the cutest little bunny ear-phone holder on Pinterest?


Well. I had to try it. Its just so darn cute! (I’m not the only one who tried it. You can see other examples here.)

So, meet my bunny. I made him out of extra thick felt and put stiffener between the front and back on the body to make him stronger. The ears and tongue are made from  regular thickness felt squares.


Pretend you don’t notice where I went off kilter with the sewing machine on the ear…


I gave him a little something extra… a pom pom tail!


And, I couldn’t make him without making him more ‘mine’… hence the button eye and the X eye. My little imperfect bunny.

Since I finished him I’ve also added a little clip to his side so I can now clip him to my bag. That keeps him from getting lost (falling out of the bag or falling to the bottom of the bag requiring me to empty to entire bag to find him), and keeps him handy.

I’m happy with my little bunny.


easy peg bags

The other day I found myself with time on my hands…
HAHAHA. As if.
Actually I didn’t find myself with spare time, on my hands or otherwise. I had to make the time. But this was one project I’d had sitting in a bag on the floor of my office for months. I wanted it gone. Seemed like it’d be a waste to just get rid of these tiny little pants since what I planned to do was a simple little conversion: from tiny people pants to peg bags.

I added patches to them to fancy them up a bit, make them cuter… and buttons on the loops.

I secured them to bits of wood or sticks and make hooks out of wire for hanging them on the clothes line.

This blue jean one is my favourite with its red star patterned fabric patch and the stitched star on the other side.

I even had a dress so I included that in my burst of industriousness. That one has been waiting longer than the tiny pants.

The dress actually is a much bigger peg bag, you know, for those heavy duty washing days. 

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dog bandanas – something fun

Just wanted to share a quickie tonight. A quickie project I mean. Mainly cause I really enjoyed making these little dog bandanas out of scraps of fabric.

The idea of these is that they can be put on a collar, taken off and washed then put back on. They’re colourful and fun. I got the idea from a little bandana a friend gave me and I thought I could put some of my millions of fabrick offcuts to use to make something different and special for the dogs I groom.

I didn’t use any large pieces of fabric to make these, just small squares. First I joined two pieces together, then folded, ironed, and stitched the sides for neatness. Lastly I folded over and ironed to create a sleeve to put the collar through. Then ironed again. Easy peasy. If you don’t mind all the ironing.

If I can do it, trust me. Its easy.

Ok, so you noticed the crooked stitching on the dog paw bandana. Yes… it was my first try… Not an excuse, I basically lost control of the sewing machine. It happens. (To me, it happens too often…)

No two-tone effect for that first one either, justvery crooked stitching. That’s what makes it special… hehehe

I used black thread for all of these – there was no way I was going to change the thread and bobbin colour to match each one. Too fiddly and too much work for a fun little project. I put these little bandanas on grooming customer dogs cause it makes me happy to make them look good.

I want to make more. I have tons more fabric offcuts to mix and match. I just need to find the office desk. I know its in the office somewhere… under 3 metres of fabric…


steampunk faerie jacket

Today I’m sharing the work wearable art entry in the Art From Trash competition. This steampunk jacket was made by a ladies art group I work with.

It started with a jacket from the tip shop and a ton of odds and ends.

We collected anything we thought would work on the jacket and basically hand stitched it all on to get the look we were after.

We really wanted a bustle and that was added using layers of tulle from the discard bin.

We used stud earrings and other small bits of jewelry on the bustle to give to added interest.

One of the sleeves was cut short and re-finished with black velvet lace and beads.

We decided to run the decoration down one lapel and down one side of the back, bringing it together on the lace sleeve.

All the ‘junk’ we sewed onto the jacket is quite heavy so we had to make sure it was balanced. 
It turned out well and the ladies were all proud of being part of the project.

faerie dress or something like that using tea bags

I’ve wanted to share this dress for ages, soon as I finished it really, but had to wait till after the art show. I’m doing it now with some hesitation… typing with one finger takes ages and seems to block my creative thinking.

However, here goes. I’ll give it a try.


I wanted to make something special for the 2016 Hobart Art From Trash competition. I wanted to use lots of fabric scraps, lots of whites and natural colours. I wanted to use tea bags.

My dress was inspired by dresses like this:

and this:

in my frocks or art board on Pinterest. Aren’t the just FABULOUS? Wow. If I was younger and slimmer this is how I’d dress!

Anyway, I went through all my scrappy bits. I had tons of cotton fabric pieces in various shades of white so I began the dress by sewing together pieces and then sewing used tea bag fabric to the bodice.

Here’s a glimpse of the front before the tea bags. I dyed some of the lace, ribbons and fabric with tea to tie it all in together better.

Since I’m no seamstress, I had a few glitches along the way … mainly figuring how to fit the dress in such a way that it would be adjustable to different sizes… and to make it so it could be worn by a real person, not just a mannequin in an exhibition.

Lacing up didn’t work

A belt worked better, but still wasn’t quite right.

The armpits were too big and messy…

In the end I could avoid it no longer. The dress needed darts at the bust. That helped shape the bodice.

I also kept the lace-up idea – using it on each side of the front, under the breasts, and the back. Mismatched buttons and jute string are decorative but also useful in fitting the dress at the waist.

The dress itself has a few scrappy layers on the skirt, but in order to make it richer, I added an ‘overskirt’ using a thick, tea dyed satin ribbon. The ribbon adds an extra layer of fabric and ties at the front like a belt.

I dressed it up with an old, discoloured wooden bead necklace which I hung rusty items on.

I’m in love with it. But it is for sale if anyone is interested in it for display or to wear!
Thus ends a long post with many photos and not so many words!
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