Making Good: Creative patches for jeans

Making Good: Fix rips and tears in pants with creative patches for jeans! Use reverse appliquè for imaginative repairs! www.cucicucicoo.com for www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

Making Good: Fix rips and tears in pants with creative patches for jeans! Use reverse appliquè for imaginative repairs! www.cucicucicoo.com for www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

In January I participated in Green Issues by Agy’s blog train “I didn’t throw it away,” which was all about why you keep certain items for decades. It was really interesting to read what was important to the participants and most of us tended to keep things embedded with emotional value.

So I was really excited to take part in Agy’s new blog train, Making Good,” in which participants write a tutorial about how to fix something and why they decided to fix it. I’m really looking forward to learning how to repair a whole variety of things! Yesterday Agy wrote about using a substance called Polymorph to fix a plastic water jug, and today is my day to participate with a clothing fix that is super useful: fixing rips and tears with creative patches for jeans!

Making Good: Fix rips and tears in pants with creative patches for jeans! Use reverse appliquè for imaginative repairs! www.cucicucicoo.com for www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

Everyone loves wearing jeans, but the production process for them is actually very harmful to the environment, in terms of water usage, pesticides used on cotton plants, and the dyes polluting water. So this is why I like to keep our jeans useful for as long as possible. Then, of course, there’s also the fact that well-worn jeans are way more comfortable than new ones!

Making Good: Fix rips and tears in pants with creative patches for jeans! Use reverse appliquè for imaginative repairs! www.cucicucicoo.com for www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

I’ve already written a tutorial on machine darning holes in jeans, and I use that technique VERY frequently. But sometimes it’s nice to add a bit of pizzazz to your repairs, and that’s when you can go all out with creative patches!

Making Good: Fix rips and tears in pants with creative patches for jeans! Use reverse appliquè for imaginative repairs! www.cucicucicoo.com for www.greenissuessingapore.blogspot.com

And how much fun is it to make patches for kids?! My little boy was thrilled to wear his “new” pants!

Save this Cucicucicoo project on Pinterest

You can, of course make classic patches with regular appliqué shapes (see my tutorial for that here), but I sometimes like to make patches even more visually interesting with the technique of reverse appliquè! Let me show you how!

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How to applique a t shirt to cover logos

Learn to Machine Sew: How to applique a t shirt to cover logos, stains or tears. A simple trick to make your appliqué come out perfectly every time! www.cucicucicoo.com

Learn to Machine Sew: How to applique a t shirt to cover logos, stains or tears. A simple trick to make your appliqué come out perfectly every time! www.cucicucicoo.com

My last lesson for the Learn to Sew series was about how to machine appliqué. Normally I publish a practical tutorial for each technique in the series a few days after the lesson, but life got in the way and almost a month went by. Whoops! In the lesson, I showed you how to use an iron-on adhesive (I recommend Heat’n Bond Lite*) to keep appliqué pieces in place while stitching them down. Today I’m going to show you how to use the same technique on t-shirts (or other jersey items) to cover up ugly logos, stains or tears!

Learn to Machine Sew: How to applique a t shirt to cover logos, stains or tears. A simple trick to make your appliqué come out perfectly every time! www.cucicucicoo.com

So grab your jersey garment and some jersey scraps, and I’ll show you how easy it is to applique a t shirt!

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A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion

I’m super excited because today is the first guest post for my Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewers series! And who better to start off with, than my blogging BFF Irene, from Serger Pepper with a super cute refashion!

Irene and I share a passion for refashioning, sewing with upcycled clothing and other fabrics, and using fabrics creatively. I have quite a collection of projects sewn from her patterns* or tutorials, such as the girls’ Basic Leggings, the Hands-Free Asymmetrical Bag, the Everyday Tank Top, the One Cardigan, Big Girl Briefs, and pajamas from t-shirts. And she’s published a guest post of mine (on turning men’s t-shirts into women’s fitted t-shirts) and published a guest post on Mammabook using two of my tutorials, not to mention has been a valuable pattern tester for me!

You can find lots of great sewing tutorials and patterns on her website, or check out her Facebook group, Serger Pepper Patterns. She has just started collaborating with Craftsy*, writing for their sewing blog! (Wow! Go you, Irene!) Her first post was published there just yesterday on differential feed on overlock machines, so you should go take a look at it if you have a serger. Irene is probably the most Pinterest-obsessed person that I know (she calls herself Pinterst-addicted), so if you ever want some great ideas, check out her Pinterest boards!

Irene di Serger Pepper all'incontro di bloggers di cucito, il 28 marzo 2015.  #cucitoitaliano

Incidentally, I also finally met Irene in person just two days ago in Milan for the Blog Italiani di Cucito meetup of Italian sewing bloggers. (On the right in the picture above. Isn’t she adorable?!) What an amazing experience, to spend a day with 30 women with the love of sewing in common, and how many amazing new friends!

Ok, enough, you want the tutorial, right?! So let me pass you on to Irene! (And when you comment to tell her how much you like this project, compliment her on her English, too! Isn’t it great?)


I am really excited to open this new awesome eco-series by Lisa @ Cucicucicoo… what an honor! This series is all about how we can love our Mother Earth re-using materials instead of throwing away everything after using it: this is more or less my whole life purpose! People who know me jokes me about toilet paper… which is probably the only disposable I admit in my house!

Being a sewing blogger, I will focus on how to refashion pre-loved garments: and this garment has been truly loved! It wasn’t in my refashion pile, also if I have worn it the last time a long time ago. I am attached to it because it is what I wore at my matriculation exams in the middle of the 90’s!

I have always been a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and this has been my first long dress… I felt so feminine and grown-up when I have bought it! But… it’s totally un-wearable now: too 90’s! Since I am unable to throw away garments, it stayed hidden in my closet until my friend Lisa asked me to create something for this series… and the proverbial bulb turned on!

Why not using it to make a not-so-boxy T-shirt I can actually wear?

A Flowy and Flowery T-Shirt Dress Refashion: a tutorial by Serger Pepper as part of the Cucicucicoo's Eco Sewers and Crafters series. Save a big and boxy t-shirt and unfashionable flowery dress, by combining them! www.cucicucicoo.com

Follow me into this step-by-step tutorial to create your own!

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Sweater refashion tutorial: cardigan slim down

Sweater refashion tutorial: How to slim down a huge maxi cardigan... the EASY way! www.cucicucicoo.com

Sweater refashion tutorial: How to slim down a huge maxi cardigan... the EASY way! www.cucicucicoo.com

When I was last in Bologna, a bit over a year ago, I couldn’t resist stopping by a higher-end used clothing stand in an open air market. And I grabbed up a gorgeous wool maxi-cardigan

Sweater refashion tutorial: How to slim down a huge maxi cardigan... the EASY way! www.cucicucicoo.com

…that was WAY too big for me! It was obviously supposed to be very long, but it was too wide around the torso and in the armpits. With it buttoned, I felt like a giant metal tube, because it clearly suffocated the little bit of body shape I have.

Sweater refashion tutorial: How to slim down a huge maxi cardigan... the EASY way! www.cucicucicoo.com

But we were talking high quality original Irish Aran wool, and I couldn’t bear to pass it up. Plus I figured that it couldn’t be too hard to slim-up the cardigan. Do you have a gargantuan sweater, too? Or you just want to see how I easily transformed this one into something that actually fit right? Well, then read on!

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Leggings sewing fail… saved!

How I saved a leggings sewing fail. Make too-tight leggings wider by adding stretchy side stripes! | www.cucicucicoo.com

I just love leggings, and my posts on how to draft your own leggings pattern and how to sew leggings are two of my most visited tutorials. (And you can also purchase my women’s leggings pattern here or my girl’s leggings pattern here!) In September …

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How to embellish with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

Tutorial: How to embellish clothing with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

Tutorial: How to embellish clothing with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

Working with t-shirts is so much fun. They don’t ravel and, depending on the fabric content, the edges roll up, which can be interesting for your projects. In the summer you can see loads ladies walking around with slashed t-shirts, with the strands of fabric rolling into something like cords. But two or three years ago I started seeing a different slashing technique. This more controlled version incorporates stitching to keep the slashes where they should be. Then I saw this post on Refashion Co-op (which I contribute to, as well), using this technique along with the technique of reverse applique. (Remember that? I used it on this layered t-shirt refashion.) I was fascinated, but there was no tutorial, so I decided that I’d just have to figure it out myself. Some day… which never seemed to arrive.

Tutorial: How to embellish clothing with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

That is until I found myself with these hand-me-down shirts for my daughter. Now, I never say no to hand-me-downs. But sometimes I just can’t bring myself to dress my kids in them. Bratz?! Are you kidding me? Those are the most horrifyingly ugly and uneducating toys I’ve ever seen. And I can’t say I’m much of a High School Musical fan, either. (Though back when it was popular amongst middle schoolers I did show it to some of my students with some activities to complete while they watched. It was the only time that particular group was ever quiet in my whole experience with them.) However these two shirts were in perfectly good condition and Sofia loves the color yellow, so it was a shame to just pretend we didn’t actually have them.

Tutorial: How to embellish clothing with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

All it took were some scraps of other old t-shirts to get rid of the offending graphics.

Tutorial: How to embellish clothing with slashed t-shirt reverse applique

And then we had another unique piece of clothing for my sweet gal! She calls this her “oven shirt,” and I have to say that she’s right; it does look an awful lot like the inside of an oven. Whatever we want to call it, this t-shirt has been one of her favorites ever since I made it over a year ago. (Yes, it took me a while to actually publish this tutorial, huh? You can tell by Sofi’s teeth. Her new front ones grew in  quite a while ago.)

Would you like to like to save a shirt by embellishing it with this slashed t-shirt reverse applique? Well then, read on!

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How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

It’s that time of the year again. You know, when your Facebook feed is full of first day of school pictures? Yes, back to school! Where we live, kids up through 5th grade have to wear these hideous smocks, but in the hotter months they’re allowed to wear a white t-shirt. I, of course, find plain white t-shirts terribly boring, so I like to embellish them (like I did with these spiral applique t-shirts and this other ruffled t-shirt).

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

Nicky did one year of private school/day care before he was old enough to start public nursery school last year. These two shirts were part of his school’s summer uniform. They were still in perfectly wearable condition, but I don’t like my kids going around like walking advertisements and in any case I don’t think his current school would appreciate him coming dressed in another school’s shirt. So what did I do?

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

I grabbed a bunch of t-shirt scraps left over from other projects in various shades of blue…

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

…and made some ombre stripes!

Refashioning Tutorial: How to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes

This could be done in a simpler way than I’ll show you here, but I wanted a perfectly clean effect, without any raw edges sticking out. To do this, I opened up the sleeves to be able to enclose the ends of the stripes. See? You would never say that these shirts hadn’t been made like this in the first place! Would you like to learn how to cover up logos on clothes with applique stripes? Then read on!

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Girlify a men’s t-shirt: making t-shirts more femminine

Refashion Tutorial: Girlify a men's t-shirt: making t-shirts more femminine

We all know how fantastic refashioning is, right? But in my book, the best refashioning is making minimal changes to an unloved garment so that it once again becomes loved. So how awesome is it when you can take a couple of men’s t-shirts forgotten …

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Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans

Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans (a.k.a. How can I save my favorite pair of jeans?!)

Backstitch Practice Tutorial: How to Darn Jeans (a.k.a. How can I save my favorite pair of jeans?!)

Ok, are you guys ready for a life-changing event? I know you have a favorite pair of jeans. And I know the pain when they eventually rip open at the knees, butt, crotch or wherever else. But do not fear, you are not destined to have a dresser full of cut-off jean shorts because today I am going to show you how to darn holes in jeans with what you learned in our last lesson of the Learn to Machine Sew series: the backstitch.

What exactly does darning mean and how is it different from patching? As Wikipedia explains it, “Darning is a sewing technique for repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting using needle and thread alone.” So, while patching is adding extra fabric over or under a hole to repair it, darning is basically recreating the fabric with thread. Now, sometimes I love the way a patch looks (have you ever seen jeans patched with lace? Gorgeous!), but sometimes I don’t want embellishment, just a totally normal pair of jeans. And that’s when darning is just the best thing ever. I’ve lost count of how many holes I’ve darned on my husband’s and my jeans. Every time I do it, I heave a big sigh of relief that I’ve saved yet another loved garment from the Cut It Up Refashion Pile.

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Tutorial: How to refashion a short scarf into a shrug

Tutorial: How to refashion a short scarf into a cozy winter shrug

Are you an expert refashioner or just starting to get interesting in it? If you’re interested in hearing my thoughts about refashioning, how I got started and some of my past messups, take a look at my interview as part of the Greeny Crafter series …

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Tutorial: Turn little kid pants into big kid pants

Turn little kid pants into big kid pants

I recently wrote a post on the upcycled t-shirt underwear I sewed for my little boy when he was potty trained. One of the nice things about children wearing underwear (besides the obvious plus of not having to deal with diapers anymore) is that you …

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Tutorial: Applique to cover rips in clothes

flower applique on ripped pants

Last July the daughter of a good friend of ours was getting ready to head to the Galapagos (lucky thing, her!). While her mother was ironing her things for the trip she accidentally melted a bit of her versatile polyester pants which were going to …

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How to make pants from a shorts pattern

make pants from a shorts pattern

And here we have the third and last post about the MADE kid shorts pattern. (If you haven’t yet, read about making shorts from duvet cover scraps and making shorts from a thrifted t shirt, reusing the original hem.) This time I’ll be more seasonal …

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Upcycled T Shirt Shorts: how to reuse the original hem

upcycled tshirt shorts

Here’s the second part of the series on shorts and pants made with the MADE pattern. (Did you read the first part about my shorts made from scraps of a duvet cover?) I’m really happy with how these shorts came out because they’re really soft …

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The Super Simple Dress-Skirt

Turn a dress into a skirt

I bought this cute dress used for €1 at my local market in April. I wasn’t able to try it on but I figured that if it didn’t fit, I could always use the fabric for something else. Well, come the hot weather, I found …

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I’m on Mammabook

ankle socks from long socks

  Have you seen Mammabook’s collection of guest posts this year? The theme is “Creative Recycling for Children” so you can immagine how many cool ideas there are and how happy I was to be able to participate as well! Silvia asked me if I …

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Skirt with double ruffle

adding a bottom ruffle to a skirt

  You might remember this photo from the 9th day of my Me-Made-May ’13 challenge. I brought the kids to school in the morning wearing the skirt as it had been when my sister gave it to me a few years ago, but it was …

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Tutorial: Turn a shirt into leggings

leggings from a shirt

  And here we have the third and last leggings tutorial! You’ll need a pattern (tutorial here) and a long-sleeved shirt in some sort of stretchy fabric and you’ll sew them in a similar way to how you sew leggings with fabric yardage (tutorial here). …

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How to sew leggings (Tutorial)

sewing leggings

  Last week I showed you how to draft a leggings pattern from a pair you already have. Now I’ll show you how to use that pattern to sew your fabulous leggings. As with the pattern, I’m making them for my daughter exactly like the …

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