Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Ultimate Crossbody Jean and Belt Bag - DIY class online by Paganoonoo

We all need bags in our lives, why not have them be super cool and hands free?

upcycled jean bag by Paganoonoo
Years ago I started to use old pairs of jeans to make bags. 

My inspiration came from a single quilt in the 2006 Gees Bend Quilt Exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. 

This quilt had been made by a farm wife who used all her deceased husband's clothing.  So much of their lives was in that quilt! 

I stood in front of it in awe, looking at every worn spot, every stain, every crease, tears in my eyes.

When I thought about making something practical from used garments I thought of bags. 

I realized that jeans are one of the most commonly worn garments on the planet, and used denim is plentiful.

 Denim wears well, fades beautifully with age, and is repairable. 
It is literally the perfect choice to make bags that can last a lifetime. I started making tote bags and evolved into cross-body bags.

Every time I take my bags out to the farmers market, shopping, day tripping, or traveling, people love them. 

They are intrigued by the possibility of taking discarded items and turning them into useful items. 

They see how unique the bags are, and how easy to use. They ask if I make them to sell.

I do not make the bags to sell.  I prefer to teach all of you how to make these bags!

After completing many bags for myself I narrowed down the materials and methods to the most practical, durable & successful -
a c
rossbody bag with a belt for a strap.  

I translated these methods into and online video tutorial - for you! 

Why would you want to purchase my tutorial?

Because I am basically a nerd with lipstick, with a 25+ year career as a type of business process engineer & corporate trainer. I've leveraged these skills in designing and sharing DIY methods with you.

I am meticulous about putting together my teaching materials and creating understandable instructions. 

I set you up to succeed!  And... will save you time and money by teaching you the most effective methods for making your own super cool bags. Including tips and tools for working with the thick seams in jeans.

The course is hosted on Teachable and is self paced. You can revisit it as you like. Click here for a free preview and to see the curriculum (scroll down on the opening page).

The greenest resources we have are those that have already been processed and can be used again.  Start using your resources today!

Enroll Here

P.S. Yes you may make small batch production runs to sell if you would like to sell. 

P.P.S. No the video class may not be shared with others, selling my designs is how I make my living.  If you would like to discuss discount pricing for a group viewing then please contact me at to make arrangements.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Variation on Paganoonoo Peggy - vintage tablecloth skirt


 I am Michelle Paganini, Owner of Paganoonoo, and upcycle fashion designer.

 It turns out that this dress has been a favorite with all my groups so I thought I would provide a bit more information about it.

First off, it is a variation on one of my existing Paganoonoo upcycle sewing designs, the Peggy Shirt. My sewing instructions are for sale in my Etsy shop

The top half is exactly the same but in this case I used a vintage skirt length tablecloth for the bottom portion.

I am in love with vintage linens!  I also volunteer at a thrift store, the Happy Dragon Thrift Shop in Los Gatos, CA, that happens to get the best vintage linens in the Bay Area. Of course we get linens that are not in terrific shape so they do not get put out.  Turns out that this was one of those cases, and Antionette, the chief sorter, knows what I do and saved this piece for me, despite the holes.

What is especially great is that because with was so well used it developed frayed spots which also meant it had been worn into a velvety perfection of cotton softness. Therefore the drape is like a nice rayon!!

I was itching to make something with it and because of the drape I knew it would make a great skirt.  The length was perfect too.  As a very pear-shaped lady I am not overly fond of tucking in shirts so making a dress was a much more appealing option.

My "Paganoonoo Peggy" is ideal for pear and hourglass shapes. Although it is typically made with 3 dress shirts, as shown below, I thought a tablecloth could work and it did.

l draped the skirt section with pleats so it lay nicely on my curves (how did I know? Tried it on and adjusted a bunch).

The join between the top and skirt sections is covered with a flannel shirt placket (the part with buttons and button holes). I made a mock "belt buckle" with a group of buttons. 

I also switched out the white shirt buttons for teal to help tie in the skirt section.  Because I used the entire tablecloth intact for the skirt I needed something else for the cuffs.  I really wanted to tie together the colors so looked though my stash of fabrics and vintage linens.

The best color match was from a vintage unfinished quilt top.  I fashioned a pocket too but did not use it as it spoiled the drape no matter where i placed it.  

The shirt's red is so intense I needed something to break up the back.  I chose a bit of another tablecloth. It seemed slightly off center after I hand sewed in on.  I used a common fall back strategy - add a distraction for the eye.  Check out the button and the top of the patch and then the small cluster on the waistband.  They both add visual weight to the left side, hehe, balancing things out.  

If you would like to make a version of this then you will find my Peggy instructions to be invaluable. What skill set would you need?  Moderate sewing skills with experience in putting together garments and following construction instructions. 

Get started now! Click here for a limited time 15% discount on the DIGITAL version of the Peggy.  Discount good 8/21 - 8/31, no coupon needed.

P.S. I offer a collection of free video upcycle sewing tips here.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Lagenlook Paganoonoo "Ellie" t-shirt refashion hack

I bought a unisex t-shirt at one of my favorite seafood eateries, Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing, CA.  I love a black and white graphic T, but found myself not wearing it because even with it oversized on my shoulders, it would hang up on my generous hips. This is a common issue for me. 

The solution is to add flare at the hip.  I used my Paganoonoo "Ellie" refashion instructions with a few hacks and adore the results.

The illustration above shows exactly how a unisex T fits me when the shoulders and bust are the right size for my shape - way tight on the hips and belly.

I chose to make a modified version, more of a Lagenlook profile, to go with some of my palazzo / bloomer pants & pencil skirt.

The hacks to the original design include:

1) added bust darts,

2) the front is cut high making a very high-low hem,

3) added ruffle on the hem,

4) made a horizontal tuck in the sleeves and stitched in place to give a cuff-like effect, also shortening them,

5) and added appliqu├ęd circles (from a felted wool sweater, also used on the pants), and bird panel.
The t-shirt also pairs well with my upcycled vintage linen tablecloth bloomers (modified Tina Given's Jacqueline pattern.) See blog post on bloomers here.

And with a pencil skirt upcycled from a tank top

Here are some in process shots.  I honestly did not think it would turn out at this stage.  The ruffle seemed too shallow, the bright red too disconnected from the rest of the shirt, the black of the base shirt too dull.  Balancing out the color by adding embellishments solved the problem.

I hand stitched the bird patch on.  It had the perfect combination of colors to make the lower back tie in with the upper back.  It was purchased from the Eclipsee Etsy shop (no affiliation or kickback.) Unfortunately this particular bird is now sold out.

I am Michelle Paganini, the designer for Paganoonoo, a company I started that specializes in designing "refashioned" clothing and providing DIY tutorials for home sewists. The "Ellie" is only one of many flattering Paganoonoo designs.  Visit the full collection at

Friday, May 22, 2020

Upcycled Palazzo Pants - Michelle Paganini

Hi, I am Michelle Paganini and I love to upcycle clothing.

I've been craving comfortable wide-legged pull on pants.

Really wide, along the lines of palazzo pants/ bloomers wide.

The fall 2014 Magnolia Pearl collection featured a pair of super oversized upcycled patch-worked jeans.

They have been on my mind since I first saw them and they were my inspiration.

I started with a modified Tina Given pattern, the Jaqueline pants.
I laid out the paper pattern (front and back are exactly the same) and layered bits of denim from old jeans.  The layering overlaps by at minimum 1/2" and often much more than that. As much as possible color and texture are mixed up, with pockets and circles added in at times.
I've collected different colored cast jeans off for just this reason.  I prefer 100% cotton for the beautiful fraying but sometimes work with blends as well.

 There are a variety of different stitches holding the pieces together, some fancy, some just random back and forth. In all cases the seams are a least double sewn to reduce the chance of breaking down over time as most of the edges were left raw and will ravel.  The top 5"  use a lighter shirt weight denim, reducing the bulk around the waist.

I've been sewing for over 40 years and had to laugh when I discovered I had made 3 left sides and 1 right side. Darn!

The pant seams were sewn together with a simple straight stitch, pressed to one side, and top-stitched down making mock felled seams.  Elastic in a casing makes them pull on.
Are they comfortable? Yes! Paired with a top that is fitted across the shoulders&bust and flared over the waist&hips I think it makes an adorable combination.

The t-shirt was modified to "fit and flare" using Paganoonoo "Ellie" upcycle sewing instructions.  The refashion makes plenty of room for hips, bellies and bottoms.

The Paganoonoo collection of upcycle / refashion sewing instructions contains very flattering and comfortable designs for all body types. For more information about fit visit, the "Getting Started" tab.
The Paganoonoo Boro-Style Jean Jacket has a similar vibe to the pants and contains artistic design tips on combining various colors of denim.

See additional blog posts on this jacket here.

Happy Upcycling!  Michelle

P.S.  Create simple upcycle sewing projects with free video tips!  I show you how to add a double color to a dress shirt, combine color and pattern with confidence, shorten sleeves to ¾ and add a decorative cuff, and more!  Register for free today!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Paganoonoo - first online class released!

Would you like to up your refashioning skills?  This is the perfect class for you!

It includes 14 free tips on upcycling, from getting started, to tools, techniques, gifts and more.

Join Michelle Paganini for these short but informative videos.Register Today!

Happy Upcycling! Michelle

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Damask Tablecloth Bloomers/ Palazzo Pants

Vintage linens!  I find them irresistible. A beautiful red/pink damask tablecloth inspired me to make a pair of Bloomers/ Palazzo Pants.  With holes I got it for the bargain price of $2.

 I carefully folded and laid out the tablecloth to take advantage of the selvedges and frayed edges. I used a modified Tina Givens Jaqueline pattern.
I then worked on patches for the holes. A vintage quilt top (poorly sewn together) provided some of the patches.

I hand stitched the patches in place, quilting the quilt top pieces as I went.  The Easter chicks added a bit of fun.

The last patch was from a small embroidered napkin(?) 

Loose fitting and quite comfortable, the waist is finished with a t-shirt drawstring in a casing.
The other parts of the outfit include the rayon top, earrings, bracelet, shoes - all purchased from other artists and a thrifted necklace. 

Happy upcycling!  Michelle

P.S.  Learn how to refashion clothing with my Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions - shop here.  We set you up for success!

P.P.S.  Create simple upcycle sewing projects with free video tips!  I show you how to add a double color to a dress shirt, combine color and pattern with confidence, shorten sleeves to ¾ and add a decorative cuff, and more!  Register for free today!