Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer Sewing, Upcycled Jean Skirt

Sometimes I just want to sew, not for Paganoonoo (my upcycle sewing company), just for myself.  A few days ago I did just that, and made a summer skirt.

My motivation for the project?  I have a pair of very stained vintage overalls that I'd cut off to shorts length.  SO comfortable.  Not the most attractive look, probably limited to gardening and working around the house.
  

I had a desire to make something shorts-like (and fit for public viewing) for the hot summer here in the SF Bay Area.   I'm not that fond of shorts or trying to fit pants, so I thought a skirt might be easier and more comfortable. 






Starting with a pair of jeans purchased from a customer, I set about making a 60's/70's style hippie skirt only at knee length.  The jeans arrived with wear and holes that were come by honestly by her husband working in the pants (l like that!).


I cut the inseam open, leaving a 1/3" wide strip of fabric on the side of the seam to use for sewing down the piece.  I cut up halfway up the front and back seams using the same methods. 
 
The rest was all overlaying, pinning, trying on, re-overlay, re-pin, try on, and repeat literally 15+ times. I was able to conform the skirt to my figure using this method.  I left the hem raw, being very careful not to cut it too short.  It took 5 tries cutting off a bit at a time to get the length I wanted.  To determine where to cut, I marked in while I had it on so I liked where it fell.  After seeing these photos I think I can go a bit shorter in the back. 

I may also do a "Boro" mending on the holes.

The one glitch left is that the bottom of the fly will not sit flush to the body and makes a bit of a 3-D crease. It may not be that visible to others, but I know it is there.

I thought about cutting underneath it and just overlap and topstitch. - a bit tricky though as that would put a smile right at my crotch. LOL.

For now I'm not doing anything.

I have worn the skirt out in public.  It is much more fitted than what I typically wear so is taking some getting used to.

I think they will be a good "shorts" substitute.

What summer sewing are you doing?

If you are intrigued by the notion of upcycle sewing (using existing clothing rather than flat fold cloth to make new styles) check out my business site: www.paganoonoo.com.

We sell instructions for upcycle sewing that walk you through each step of deconstruction and reconstruction resulting in a custom fit. We've worked out the kinks so you don't have to.

Here are a couple examples of summer friendly garments:

Easy to size! This skirt can be scaled to any size as it is build from individual panels taken from dress shirts. The closure is made from a shirt placket from a dress shirt - so you do not need to sew on a button or make a button hole, they are already there! 

More info on sizing upcycled Paganoonoo garments here.

Alter your unisex t-shirt into the most flattering t-shirt you will ever own.  instructions walk you though step-by-step.  Works for all sizes that have a t-shirt that fits the bust, shoulders, arms. Hips too tight? We solve that!
Upcycled t-shirt, added hip room w/inserted back
panel #Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions
Upcycled t-shirt, added hip room w/inserted back
panel #Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

More info about using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions:


Find out which Paganoonoo styles are most flattering for your figure type.



Happy upcycling!   
  
Michelle

Friday, June 14, 2019

Paganoonoo Upcycled Boro Style Unisex Jean Jacket by Artist Trudy Smith

We were at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup when Trudy showed me photos of her version of the upcycled Paganoonoo Boro jean jacket. I was smitten and begged her to mail it to me for a photo shoot so you could see what a fantastic job she did. Thankfully she said, “Yes.”
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Trudy used the Paganoonoo Boro-Style jean jacket sewing instructions as a starting point—combining jeans in a magical way and made an outstanding version. Truthfully, I like hers better than any of mine!  She has elevated jeans into a wearable art piece.

Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions
Her choices of where to place light, medium, and dark elements is balanced and interesting. The use of asymmetric lines in patchworking the various pieces is eye-catching and dynamic. 
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith
 using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

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Layering the jacket with varied Sashiko stitching gives Boro-like textured interest. Adding the traditional Japanese fabric circle to the front creates a focal point so the eye has a place to land before exploring texture, color, and angles.

Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions.

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The jacket elements are remarkably balanced from every angle. There is so much to see it is hard to take your eyes away!
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

--> The thickness of the sashiko thread is a perfect weight for the heavy denim. The spacing of stitches is sufficient to easily distinguish them from a distance. Note how the stitches are not a traditional running stitch with the space between stitches and thread in roughly equal parts. Instead, the space between stitches is about ½ the size of the stitch itself.
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Trudy Smith
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

Again, adding a single circle of traditional Japanese fabric to the back creates a focal point so the eye has a place to land before exploring texture, color, and angles.

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Trudy took to heart the design tips included in the Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions—tips on key design elements that will transform a jacket into the realm of art-to-wear:
Paganoonoo Upcycle Sewing Instructions

"Shape:
 Forget symmetrical a.k.a. completely matching on each side.  Symmetrical can be found in almost every commercial garment. Asymmetry makes a garment far more interesting garment.  

Use angled lines vs. horizontal and vertical lines (same principle as above).  Commercial garments tend to have horizontal and vertical lines.  Angled lines are far more interesting.

The color palette is limited to indigo. Use multiple shades (values) of indigo denim; it’s essential to capturing “Boro” style.  Consider making a color plan for shades, pre-planning ratios or proportions.  Classic ratio divisions in design are 1/3 to 2/3, for example 1/3 light / 2/3 dark.


When possible incorporate multiple denim textures.  I prefer 100% cotton as it becomes soft and velvety with age. Use softer pieces, stiff denim will not hang nicely, may distort the jacket shape, and will be less comfortable to wear."

Trudy mastered all of these principles and more in her version. She not only did an outstanding job of arranging light/dark and interesting angles, she add Boro stitching to highlight elements of the jacket. The combination is most decidedly art-to-wear.

What did she change from the instructions?  She opted to leave off a closure.
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Here is another customer’s interpretation. Evan chose to use straighter angles and smaller pieces of patchwork. 
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Evan
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions
He created interest with terrific distribution of light, medium, and darks, raw edges, multiple pockets, and Boro stitching—all of which add texture.  
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Evan
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions
Detail of Jean Jacket made by Evan
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

(I outlined the patches in white to make them stand out.)

Detail of Jean Jacket made by Evan
using Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions

Evan added his own personal touch with rather brilliant closures2 front waistband sections with the traditional jean buttons and buttonholes!

Both Trudy and Evan made the design their own.
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This is my original version featured on the cover of the instructions:

Ready to get started on your own version? 




You will need:

1) A kimono style waffle robe to use as a base,
2) A pile of various colored jeans,
3) A clearance plate for going over thick seams (video explanation here),
4) A jean sewing machine needle (strong enough for denim),
5) Paganoonoo upcycle sewing instructions (digital and hardcopy available*)

FAQ:

Sizing?  Pick a waffle robe that fits you the way you would like the jacket to fit.  If you would like a larger one than you can find, use the bottom part of the robe to enlarge the sides and then sleeves.


*So there aren't pattern pieces? No—there are deconstruction and reconstruction illustrations with instructions printed on 8.5" x 11" paper.

Sourcing a waffle robe: If you can't easily find a second hand robe (thrift stores, e-bay), try asking your local spa or hotel what they do with old ones.  Chances are they are going into the trash.

Why a waffle robe?  It is the right shape and sturdy enough for the weight of the jeans. 

Do I have to make an "art to wear" version? - No, not at all.  Do whatever you want.

Is it a unisex pattern?  Yes, and the size scales to anyone that can make a waffle robe fit the way they like.

Why no pockets on the jacket? I typically place pockets on the inside so they do not disturb the lines of the design.  That said—put pockets anyplace you would like.




I would love to see your creations!

Happy upcycling,  
Michelle

P.S. Link to other Paganoonoo info:
Facebook upcycle sewing group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Paganoonoo/