Sunday, December 30, 2018

Year end 2018 and Upcycling 501's with embellishments

It's almost the end of 2018, a great year.  

I'm still wildly enthusiastic about upcycle sewing.  Upcycling in general too!

I plan to continue my upcycle sewing business, Paganoonoo,  selling upcycle sewing instructions on Etsy and at shows, giving workshops, and creating video tips.

I have been reflecting on the business, and things accomplished this year:
  • Learned how to use Procreate and Canva to create ads and graphics
  • Increased sales (60% on Etsy!)
  • Made garments to sell (wildly successful)
  • Collaboration with another artist - Cathryn Cooper
  • Released 3 more patterns
  • Transformed one more room into the house to exclusive Paganoonoo space (thank you George)
  • released video tips
and more, of course, plus those things I said would happen but did not, the two top of mind include: 
  • Video classes - huge learning curve! 
  • Workspaces kept clean (intermittent)

Looking forward - what to do and not do in 2019? These things are clear:
  • Video classes are on hold, they are a huge time commitment I am not willing to make right now.  This was a tough call, but spending quite a bit of time this year and still not being ready to create classes influenced my decision to take a break.
  • Explore more surface design upcycling
  • Make more garments for sale.  I love to sew and would like to get back to more of what I love.  Look for garments in the Etsy shop and at events.
Yesterday I started in on the surface design exploration with this pair of old Levi 501's:

I did a bit of free motion stitching, added
 fabric pen circles, a hand sketched crow by Cathryn Cooper wrapped with nubby yarn, a few fabric bits, a black leather patch and some buttons:


To add the embellishments I opened up the non-felled leg seam.  When I was done I turned the pants inside out and resewed the seam together.
It has been a fun project! If you are interested, the measurements are: waist 35", front rise 11", inseam 28"
My daughter-in-law modeling
Too big for her but they still look pretty good!

My wish for you in 2019 is that your creativity flow and your muse be ever present. Happy New Year! Michelle
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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The San Francisco School of Needlework and Design

There is a terrific resource in San Francisco:

I've had the pleasure of visiting and the space is superb. There is a huge collection of reference books, many examples on the wall, and inspiration abounds!  An abundance of classes are available.
I'm impressed with and supportive of their Vision, Mission and Values: 
Please join me at the Needlework School on January 9th for a "Lunch and Learn" presentation.  Details below:
Bonus - they are directly next to Tiffanys (several floors up) on Union Square.
And just a few blocks from the new Britex Fabrics building.

If going to San Francisco is not in the cards for you, 

I will be presenting* in Puyallup at the 
Sewing and Stitchery Expo in March 2019.  

*On the Free Stage all 4 days!

I may also be coming to a Sewing Guild near you soon.
To get notifications, join the Paganoonoo mailing list, never sold or shared, and:
  • See new example garments, 
  • Get links to upcycle video tips
  • Get notifications about sales
  • Hear about new patterns
  • Get event info... and more!
To arrange a workshop and/or talk for your group or organization please contact me at

More about upcycle sewing and Paganoonoo at

Happy Upcycling! Michelle

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sew a new favorite upcycled flannel - Paganoonoo Patti style

Paganoonoo Patti upcycled
blouse features a
loose-hip and high/low hem
Paganoonoo specializes in a new kind of sewing, upcycled. Upcycling is kind of like recycling (using materials again) except in upcycling the material value is upgraded.  Time, materials and/or labor are used to make a change that increases the value beyond that of the starting material.  

For example, when a parts of a thrifted plain flannel shirt are added to two other shirts - the new design is more desirable (valuable) than the original shirts.
Paganoonoo Patti design
Made from a flannel shirt,
shirt placket & tie-dye cloth
Paganoonoo Patti upcycled blouse has a loose fit at the hip.
Upcycle your favorite flannel!

  Upcycle sewing is done using primarily existing garments as the starting materials instead of flat cloth.  

It is eco-friendly and good on the budget
  • You get a perfect fit - just by starting with a garment that already fits your shoulder, bust and upper arms the way you like. 
  • Everything below the bust is transformed into a loose fit.
  • Getting a custom fit is that easy for everyone from a XXS to 3X or larger.
A great place to get started is with Paganoonoo's easiest to make and most versatile design, the Patti blouse
Paganoonoo Patti blouse made from
3 flannel shirts. Loose hip fit. High low hem
Paganoonoo Patti blouse made
from 3 flannel shirts. Spray
of decorative buttons on the placket.
Paganoonoo Patti blouse made from
3 flannel shirts. Loose hip fit. High low he
A traditional dress shirt is modified to add a back panel, creating abundant hip and belly room.  The resulting blouse is magical, it looks great on every figure type, and it gently skims the body rather than straining anywhere.  

The loosely pleated back panel provides an opportunity to mix fabric colors or patterns for interest.

Paganoonoo Patti blouse made
from 3 flannel shirts. Loose hip fit.

How do Paganoonoo sewing instructions work?  The instructions walk you through the process of cutting up the garments and sewing pieces back together. There are no pattern pieces to pin.  Technical illustrations and instructions walk you through every step of deconstruction and reconstruction.  If you have successfully sewn a garment in the past you can make the Paganoonoo Patti!

This Patti blouse was embellished with
a spray of buttons on the front placket
With Paganoonoo instructions you are set up for success!

Get started upcycling today - instructions are available from the Paganoonoo Etsy shop

Purchase a:


Happy Upcycling! 


P.P.S.  Michelle's free upcycling video tips

Colors and patterns:
Reverse appliqué: 
Thrifted Notions:
Vintage Linen Gifts:  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New child’s pattern and Pacific International Quilt Festival

It's Here!!
Starting Thursday, Oct 11:

4 days: October 11-14 at the Santa Clara, California, Convention Center

Not a quilter?  Go anyway if you are interested in art, in sewing, in wearable art.
This show is outstanding.  The quilts are jaw dropping works of art. There is a wearable art contest with all the entries on display.  Raffles abound.
I bought my sewing machine at this show and there are tools and notions for garment sewers.
Paganoonoo (booth 824) is introducing a brand new pattern for children, the Kendra top/tunic.  It is made using a child's dress shirt as the base, and the rest can be made from another dress shirt or two, or flat fold fabric from your stash.

I've had a blast making samples, as you can see below.  The garment lends itself to embellishment, such as the appliqued heart, and patches and buttons on other shirts.

This version was made starting with the yellow dress shirt.  The solid purple is from a second adult dress shirt.  The other three fabrics, including the striped band, are stash materials.  The striped flowered fabric is one I have had for at least 30 years if not longer!  I used some of the last little bits here.  The small circle is covering a stain.

This version was made starting with the small red plaid dress shirt.  The fabric on the lower back was left over from an adult shirt upcycle.  The band is stash fabric and features the front tab closure option with a red button. I could not resist the "See Jane run?" fabric as those are the exact readers I used in school.  


This royal blue version was made using all children's dress shirts.  The back section has a button placket because the front of a second shirt was used to create the lower back panel.  The empire waist band is also made out of plackets.

Also made from all children's dress shirts, this version features a front tab closure.  The back panel is made from two sleeves bracketing a piece of the same fabric that has been is topped with a bit of a placket.  A bit easier to see in the illustration above. Using sleeves makes it obvious that the shirt is upcycled.
 This version is the one I selected for the pattern cover.  It is made primarily from two children's shirts.  The band is a placket from an adult dress shirt.  The sleeve scrap is from my stash.  The patch on the back band is from other one of the sample shirts.  The button are all mismatched from my button stash.  I love the way they frame the center of the band.
The pattern will be available online (Etsy store) after the show, on Tuesday 10/16.

 Several folks have mentioned they would like to see upcycle patterns for boys too.  I'm working on it!

Another bit of fun... flannels.  It is that time of year and I made a whole bunch of "Patti" flannels for Artistry in Fashion.  They just about sold out.  I will be bringing a collection of uncut flannels for you to purchase at PIQF, along with patterns, of course.

I've been increasingly interested in using surface embellishments as a form of upcycling.  Here are some of the results on flannels:


The lions are cut outs from damaged quilts.  I love that the useable parts get salvaged, honoring the women who made them.

Hope to see you at the show!  Come by wearing your Paganoonoo and get 20% off and a handful of cards to give out to the people who admire your one-of-a-kind upcycle!

Happy Upcycling,

Upcycle Sewing Made Simple

P. S.  If you would like to be on the Paganoonoo e-mail list, never sold or shared, and see new example garments, get links to my video tips, hear about sales, new patterns and events, please click here.