Monday, April 25, 2016

Cashmere and Cotton Upcycle by Paganoonoo

I custom made this blouse for my dear friend Cynthia so when the pattern gets released you know who it will be named after! (not in the queue yet) It was the first time I paired cashmere with cotton and I liked the combination.
Paganoonoo Custom Made Upcycle for Cynthia

Paganoonoo Custom Made Upcycle for Cynthia
The other day I needed a creative boost so I started draping with no outcome in mind. I began with a beautifully colored top, printed skirt, and the leftover cashmere from Cynthia's blouse.  

I paired the top of the cashmere turtleneck with the shirt
I used a zig zag stitch to ease the strain on the cashmere
I split the back 1/3 print and 2/3 original color and test fit an overlay piece.I topstitched the overlay in place after pressing the edges under to match the shirt armscye and side seam

There was a vertical pucker parallel to the overlay so instead of fighting it I made a tuck.  Then I sewed the tuck together with green embroidery thread and used french knots for interest.
The front needed something more and I did not want anything too busy to disturb the play of colors so I added a large pocket from the remainder of the cashmere.  It is purposely oversized to hang loosely at the top. All good, but a bit boring.

I knew another element was needed.  In these cases I usually turn to the Judy Flower pattern, as I did here. What a difference!

Happy Upcycling!

Upcycling instructions are available in the
Paganoonoo Etsy Store.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beautiful pink & blue version of the Patti Blouse - by Paganoonoo student Beckie

Beckie Simmie, Santa Rosa ASG with her version
of the Paganoonoo upcycle Patti Blouse Pattern.
Fantastic color blocking!

I had the pleasure of giving a class for the Santa Rosa, CA ASG group in March.

We had a great time creating Paganoonoo Patti Blouses

I am always amazed that when 10, 20, 50 people are making the same exact pattern the garments never look quite the same.
This is especially true for upcycled garments.  The Patti pattern uses 3 different dress shirts. Because the shirts are randomly chosen from anyone's closet, or a thrift store, the odds of creating the exact same shirt are astronomical (like winning the lottery).
Beckie Simmie, Santa Rosa ASG with her version
of the Paganoonoo upcycle Patti Blouse Pattern.
Fantastic color blocking!

To me part of the fun is finding colors and patterns that look great together. Our class agreed unanimously that Beckie won the color blocking prize.

Not only do the the colors look fabulous together, they compliment Beckie's hair and coloring.  

Beckie Simmie, Santa Rosa ASG with her version
of the Paganoonoo upcycle Patti Blouse Pattern.
Fantastic color blocking!
When selecting shirt colors keep in mind what colors look great on you.   Just because colors look great together doesn't mean they will look great on you. 

I look ill/awful in peach, yellowish brown, lime green, etc. but I shine in fire engine red. If you are uncertain, starting with your eye color is a safe bet.
Beckie made a few modifications from the pattern:

  • no front stripe
  • no front pocket
  • sleeve raised to just above the elbow
  • added a double collar
  • added a faux hankie
One other thing Beckie did very successfully is combine patterns.  The mix of a large non-uniform plaid & smaller plaid & tropical print could have been overwhelming but the excellent color matching creates harmony. She also created balance with that little touch of blue in the faux hankie in the pocket. I typically use the Judy Flower to do the same thing. The hankie worked just as well.  

Fantastic work Beckie, thank you for sharing with the rest of 

Start your own upcycled garment today! Visit the Paganoonoo Etsy Shop to find the "Patti" (shown here) and find the best Paganoonoo design for your tastes.

Happy Upcycling!

Find everything you need to know about upcycle sewing with Paganoonoo instructions:

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!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thoughts on Upcycled Denim

There is something magical about denim that makes it universally appealing.  George and I were grocery shopping in Costco Saturday and I started looking at the number of people wearing jeans.  I'd guess it was at least 2/3 of us.

Personally I love the durability of denim and the way it fades as it grows softer and softer.  Used denim feels good and looks good.  

I find it a bit comical and sad that so much artificial distressed denim is sold. Comical because I can only imagine what the people doing the artificial distressing (probably in China) are thinking about us that we want pre-ripped and pre-torn clothing.  Sad because that work is done in unsafe conditions and if we wore our jeans longer they might get that way by themselves.

From "Blue jeans are big business, and in recent years fashion designers have created new demand for denim which comes with a pre-worn look. To meet this demand, the process ofsandblasting was introduced as a cheap and easy way of ‘distressing’ jeans. Sandblasting involves ring abrasive sand onto denim under high pressure, whether in a machine booth or simply via an air gun attached to a hose. Often performed without proper ventilation, safety equipment or training, the practice exposes workers to serious risk of silicosis, the deadly lung disease caused by inhalation of silica dust." Other types of distressing causes similar problems. 

The denim we already have is such a great resource.  How many of you have piles of used denim at home for just the reasons I described?  It can be tough to let go of something so potentially useful.

I bet many of you have made things from jeans.  When I was in high school I created the mandatory long hippie skirt from a pair of jeans and wore it proudly.  The next thing I remember making is a collection of pockets sewn together that hung on the wall in one of my first apartments filled with kitchen utensils. I wish I still had that!

I continue to upcycle denim, most of it now into tote bags that I use for grocery shopping, sometimes as a purse, and often for traveling. My best creation to date is the jacket shown here, featured in previous posts. 

Given my love of denim it is probably not a surprise that I just created a new Pinterest Board just for upcycled jeans and denim.

If you would like to join me in pinning on the board let me know and I'll send you an invite. 

March 2018 update: 
Upcycling instructions now available for this jacket!!

Happy Upcycling!

See the Paganoonoo collection of upcycle sewing instruction pattern booklets and start upcycling today!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Secret Weapon for Upcycling - Dress Forms


I'm Michelle Paganini, owner of Paganoonoo, an upcycle fashion designer and patternmaker for Paganoonoo.

This is the story of how dress forms became my secret weapon for upcycling. It is a long post but stick with me, it comes full circle!

When I took Draping at Canada College in 2012 my projects were not impressive.  My Mother was ill and died that semester, and I wanted to be at school because I found it comforting to be there.

My draping instructor, Judy Jackson (of Craftsy Fame), had been my instructor in previous classes, she knew I was a hard working and dedicated student, and went out of her way to be accommodating given the circumstance.

My final project seemed so simple compared to my fellow students that I was almost embarrassed.  Fast forward, seemingly unrelated, during a later semester, Ronda Chaney, the head of the Canada Collage Fashion Department (Redwood City, California) encouraged all of us to apply for scholarships as she does every year.  This time I did apply and was granted a scholarship by the SouthVally Quilt Association (Thank you!!!)

I purchased a dress form. I'd had a cheaper version years ago, the type you crank open to change sizes, couldn't pin into, in other words... mostly useless. 

The form I purchased is a PGM pro, similar to the top-of-the-line Wolf dress forms, and completely pinnable.  It has changed my life.  BEST SEWING TOOL INVESTMENT EVER!!! And I have a lot of sewing tools.  A year later I won a second scholarship from SVQA and bought a second dress form in a different size.

How have dress forms changed your life Michelle?  I started upcycling on my forms.  Working with 3D garments is challenging, and trying to design with the garments laid flat seems nearly impossible to me.  All of my upcycled designs are draped to begin with, then I go on to writing the pattern instructions.

An example of one of my designs translated into a pattern

I've called Judy Jackson up to let her know how draping plays a huge part in my business and to thank her for teaching me so much. P.S. She is teaching again next semester.

With a dress form I can see what is happening with the design/garment from all sides and angles. I can audition color choices, color blocking, design elements, fit, the drape, manipulate pleating, everything!  This perspective is invaluable and why you want a pinnable dress form.

You saw my dress forms if you stopped by in Puyallup at the Sewing Expo. Speaking of the Expo, many women mentioned they wished they had know about Paganoonoo instructions before they gave away their Husband/Father/Grandfather's garments so they could have made garment for themselves/children/grandchildren from their loved ones clothing. I became curious about using a loved ones clothing as a keepsakes. I ran across a blog post by Judi, owner on Mannequin Madness,

Hang in, we are coming around full circle...
It turns out that Judi rents and sells recycled mannequins and she sells PGM and Roxy sewing dress forms!!!!!
In 2003 the Environmental Protection Agency gave Mannequin Madness a special achievement award for recycling over 100,000 pounds of mannequins in just ONE year.
                    This is my kind of woman!!!    

Judi's Personal Mission

Provide customers with the widest variety
of mannequin options on the internet

Recycle mannequins for retail chains so
unwanted mannequins don't end up in landfill

Inspire people's imagination with
creative ways of using mannequins.

(see examples on her Pinterest board)

I highly recommend purchasing a pinnable dress form and Judi's business is exactly the kind of green-centered business I believe strongly in supporting. Mannequin Madness in Oakland California. 

Check out Judi's blog post:   How to Select a Professional Sewing Dress Form for your Needs and Budget
P.S. One of Judi's 10 ideas for loved one's clothing is to rent a mannequin for a funeral to display the loved one's military uniform or other special clothing.  Brilliant!
Happy Upcycling!  Michelle

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