Fossicking for fabrics

Some sewing friends recently recently introduced me to The Fabric Cave.   It combines four of my favourite things:  not for profit, supported employment, upcycling and sewing supplies.   The look and smell of this place evokes memories of 50 Nana’s sewing rooms.   Their stock has all been donated by people culling their stashes –  ready to find new lives in the a different sewing room.   They even have UFOs ready for some renewed inspiration.

My most recent trip there was with two dear friends – one of them the author behind Misty Cow Designs blog. How lovely it is to go shopping with people who ‘get it’.   I arrived with some odds and sods and one of my mother’s UFOs – appliqued squares for a patchwork quilt she started 20 years ago and then went off the idea.   She’d held onto it all this time because there was too much work in it to part with – but the prospect of it finding new love somewhere else spurred her into donating.’

My friends and I each spent about $50 and came out with very different supplies for our wide and varied interests.

Among my haul was this stash of vintage coloured patchwork fabrics.  I’d found myself looking at all the patchwork scraps and stumbled across a very retro piece;  I’ve been wanted to make a modern vintage quilt for some time and here was my start.    I immediately found a complimentary piece – and another – and another.     All the pieces seemed to jump out at me for re-use.   Yes, I was rather excited.    Because all the pieces are different sizes, I’ll probably go with some type of random pieced scrappy quilt.

retro fabrics

The top left piece was my starting piece of inspiration.  And the rest just followed

mid century modern fabric

OK, this one isn’t going to match my modern vintage quilt, but I couldn’t leave it behind.  I have no idea what I will do with it because at 25cm, it’s fairly narrow.   But I’m sure it will speak to me eventually.

Can’t wait for my next trip there.


Upcycled Blouse

Two posts happening in rapid succession here; I held off from posting about one garment because the other was complimentary.

I’ve been making an under bust corset in peacock colours and needed a blouse to go underneath.   I found this one at a local second hand store.  The colour was absolutely perfect, but all those wrap-around ties were awful.


It was a fairly easy job to cut the ties off and square the front so that I could add some buttons.   I then discovered that my local spotlight store no longer stocks a wide range of buttons.   Aargh.   Some lovely sewing friends on Facebook pointed me in the direction of  the wonderful Fabric Cave in Meadowbank, Sydney (more on them later) where I found the perfect buttons. Voila – new shirt.

IMG_4487 IMG_4492

And it looks perfect under my new corset.

Steampunk Utility Belt

This backpack was given to me by my hubby about 20 years ago.   It had become very worn out and should probably have been retired, but the emotional attachments were strong.  I decided that rather than living all sad and unused in the bottom of my wardrobe, I would be better off giving it a new lease of life.


I started by unpicking the seams and removing the pockets from the outside.   These pockets will become the core pieces for the utility belt.   I cut leather from the back and bottom of the bag to make backs for the pockets and also wide belt loops on the back of the pockets.



Putting the leather pockets together was a bit tricky.  The sewing machine struggled, but we got through.   And I cut the pocket backs a little small by mistake, so put a few extra darts in the front sections to make them fit.

The buckle on the front pocket (see below) was cut from one of the backpack’s straps.   I sewed the top of the strap into the top of the pocket and super-glued the bottom to the pocket.   I would have preferred to sew it on, but it was an afterthought and superglue was my best remaining option.

Anyway, here is the final work.   Because of the belt loops, I can move the pockets on or off my belt or position differently as required.   Now, all I need is a Steampunk event!