Tag Archives: silk

Sew 358 – To guides and mentors

Jane Milburn wears upcycledWhen we think of creativity, most think of art with a capital A, when really it is about having a sense of festivity, fun and playfulness. One of my academic friends said the sense of play is what she most enjoys about Sew it Again because we need more creative play in our lives and workplaces.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron quotes Stephen Nachmanovitch: “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form” and C. G. Jung: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  Continue reading

Sew 352 – Bringing an artistic touch

Linda Zucco in eco-dye silk wrapMy friend Linda Zucco arrived for an upcycling session today carrying a bolt of pale apricot silk which had been sitting in her cupboard for years, left over from an earlier time when she sewed clothes for the living (more on that tomorrow).

Linda now paints oils on linen, creating beautiful street life paintings which are exhibited regularly at Lethbridge Gallery in Paddington.

The Vespas in the painting (below right) have such personality and impact, it is easy to fall in love with Linda’s beautiful creations. She brought an artistic perspective to our eco-dye project, despite having not done it before.  Continue reading

Sew 348 – Silk wrapped cinnamon

Bark and silk Christmas decorationsMr Darcy is so helpful. Suggest he pick up a bag of large cinnamon/cassia sticks when visiting a favourite Asian grocery and he arrives home with four bags!  The bark smells so good and represents great value. Some of it has now morphed into Sew 348 – Christmas decorations and potpourri bags created from a repurposed sheer silk shirt.

I’ve been looking at this op-shop found shirt (see photos below) for a while, wondering how to best utilise its embroidered silk fabric and clear plastic buttons after deciding I didn’t want to wear it as a top. With the arrival of the bark, it’s repurpose was determined.

I began the filleting process, cutting off the bottom of the sleeves to create bags and making strips across the bodice to become ribbons and bows. Continue reading

Sew 262 – A transformational journey

Jane Milburn wears upcycled silk in photo by Michael Bromage

It is not on my bucket list. I don’t hanker to be in the Birdcage at the running of the Melbourne Cup which stops the nation every November. It brings together horseflesh and fashion in spectacular, luxurious style, but seems somewhat elitist and wasteful to me.

Yet I didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when the opportunity emerged to hold a roving replica of the Cup doing a whistle-stop tour around the nation to drum up excitement for the big race. ABC Open’s Michael Bromage and I swapped cameras – he took this photo of me, and I took a photo of him, complete with the white glove. Thanks Michael, thanks to Melbourne Cup organisers and thanks to the gorgeous QRRRWN ladies for creating carnival atmosphere!  Continue reading

Sew 191 – Beach beanie + jumper skirt

upcycled jumper skirt and beanieLots of laughter with this wool jumper upcycle as the beanie attracted comparisons to attire worthy of a Dr Seuss character. It was created from the sleeve of a hand-knitted wool jumper, which I unpicked from the body of the jumper and simply tied a knot at the end.   

The body of the jumper was then turned upside down to become the skirt after the sleeve opening was hand-stitched together.  I harvested strips of fabric from a dated blue silk dress – one strip was used to form a narrow waistband, others were used to trim the bottom of the skirt, while the long bottom frill of the dress was knotted to become an elongated scarf. There were several holes in the body of jumper (probably the reason it ended up in the opshop for me to salvage) which I darned with grey wool and they are barely visible in the complex patterned knit. See photos below.  Continue reading

Sew 188 – ARLF farewell honours

Dr Lesley Fitzpatrick wears upcycledIt was an honour to be commissioned to create a unique, relevant farewell gift for Dr Lesley Fitzpatrick who led the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation as CEO for seven years.

The ARLF’s flagship program is the Australian Rural Leadership Program which provides a rare opportunity to enrich, enlighten and empower selected individuals – and I was fortunate to be sponsored through the program in 2009 thanks to the Fairfax Agricultural Media scholarship.

One of Lesley’s achievements as CEO was securing Graduate Certificate status for ARLP through James Cook University. I found the Grad Cert transformative because It led me on a creative journey into eco-leadership, reusing natural fibres to reduce waste and help shift the way we think about fashion and clothing.  Continue reading

Sew 161 – Suit yourself refashion

upcycled silk suitSelf-reliance is a useful characteristic in life that springs from creativity, versatility, intuition, access to raw materials, knowledge and skills.

In the office, it means you can nut out a pragmatic solution for a tricky problem. In the kitchen, it means you can pull together a feed without necessarily having all ingredients listed in a recipe. And in the clothing department, it means you can bring together disparate items and adapt them to suit yourself.

Refashioning, restyling and mending clothing using simple sewing skills means you can be self-reliant, individual and resourceful in the way you dress.  Continue reading

Sew 121 – Natural, authentic people

silk dress with op shop shell accessoriesVery quick post today while my friend Georgie Somerset and I are stopped in Roma within phone range. Of course we made time for a quick visit to Ace Drapers, an amazing treasure trove of fabric, craft and cookware. The shop does’t look special on the outside, but it stocks many things you can’t buy in the city.

On the way up to Georgie’s place at Durong last night, we were carrying a precious cargo of Anzac biscuits donated to Danielle Crismani as #bakedrelief from caring Brisbane people wanting to send #lovetothewest for drought-affected farmers. Here’s the photo of Georgie handing over treasure to Margie Lee-Madigan.  Continue reading

Sew 105 – Natural, found, refashioned

upcycled wool and silkEvery morning we dress for the day. How we chose to dress reflects who we are, influences our wellbeing and impacts our environment.

My choice is natural-fibre and op-shop found, adapted using simple home-sewing skills. My choice is deliberate, authentic, ethical and sustainable. I am upcycling clothing that already exists in the world, sharing Sew it Again ideas to inspire others to refresh what they already have rather than buy more.

Your clothes tell a story about who you are. Fashion has its own story too, and it’s turning into a force for good with Fashion Revolution Day. Here’s the Fashion Revolution story:  Continue reading

Sew 101 – Re-creation as recreation

upcycled silk and lycra outfitUpcycling natural fibre clothing for a second life makes sense – for the planet, the hip-pocket and personal satisfaction.

There’s recreation to be had in recreating new garments out of old. It is fun engaging one’s creative and thrifty instincts, exploring and playing with textures and techniques … but it does require a willingness and flexibility to invest time in the process.

One of the most valuable things about having basic sewing skills is the independence and individuality they provide. You are not restricted to what’s currently trendy and newly available online or in shops.

The essence of Sew 101 is being empowered, sustainable and creative. I made this simple top and skirt years ago from Italian lycra (not a natural fibre I know, but so interesting). These casual separates served me well but I was no longer wearing them. From my op-shop stash I found a sheer silk shirt in complementary colours and merged the two to create a one-off.

Even as I filleted the silk shirt by cutting off the sleeves, the collar and rectangular panels from the body, I appreciated the high quality craftsmanship of the maker (it was a Liz Davenport, a leading designer from Western Australia).

I left all the fastenings and features in place, arranging and then sewing various pieces to the lycra base. The silk pieces float and drape from where they are anchored to the lycra with machine or hand stitching. Lycra doesn’t fray, so I cut into the sleeve and neckline without needing to neaten it. I kept fiddling, adding and subtracting until I’d had enough yesterday afternoon – and this is the result.

lycra upcycled with silk additions