Summer Repurposing

August 5, 2009

As you know, I am exploring all the possibilities that some of the vintage linens in my closet can hold. I had brought down a pile about two weeks ago, and I have been slowly going through them, and writing down design possibilities for each. I also found a pile of lovely handkerchiefs, and after Soule Mama’s and Waldorf Mama’s posts, I am certainly ironing them up and sewing something pretty, and useful to keep them in.


Last night, I was drafting a pattern for a linen skirt that I want to make, and I decided that instead of using muslin as a test run, I would use the same sheets that I made the pajamas with last week, and see if that worked.

This is a real lazy day skirt, and one that has to call for wrinkle appropriate attire, but I love the feel of it, and I foresee many summer picnics and playground moments wearing it.



I also had a pillow case that I loved, but that had a bad spot at the very bottom that prevented me from using on any of our beds. After staring at it for days, I finally decided to make a tote from it. I think that what truly made this pillow case feel unique was the lace work in the front, and the beautiful buttons in the back.


Since the pillow case is rather light, I chose to use a striped upholstery fabric for the handles. They are sturdy, and I don’t think that they will tear easily. To be honest, at first I thought that adding a striped fabric would really change the softness of the bag, but I love it. It just adds a fun twist, and something that you just wouldn’t expect.

So I have a question for all you fantastic sewing friends out there. I think that I need to line the bag with a bit of a sturdier fabric, but since it is completed, what do you think would be the best way to tackle that? I was thinking that I could just create a liner the same dimension as the exterior, and then just top stitch at the edge of the bag, but I am not sure if that will look strange. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Finally, I am a proud mama today. My sons found an old bottle of vanilla extract that my mom brought me home years ago from Mexico. The vanilla was long since expired (and used for that matter), and so I had rinsed it out, and I was contemplating what to do with it.


After a long day of dealing with two very fussy children, I was at my wits end and was in need of a break. Sometimes when you ask for a bit of peace, it arrive in such a peculiar way. The boys were outside playing, and the next thing that I knew, they were presenting me with a gorgeous bouquet of yellow and purples flowers, in the blue bottle. My oldest declared “Mama, I thought that this might make you smile”. That is did.

At least I know that all my talk of how to reuse and repurpose is wearing off a little. Now I have a beautiful vase, some special flowers, and just the peace that I was looking for.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

julesinseach August 5, 2009 at 7:28 pm

I know exactly what you mean by needing a break.
Sometimes, especially on a rainy cooped up kind of day I find myself retreating to a room by myself and closing the door. Just a little time to pull it together.

I love that bag. I wonder if you could just line it roughly with a heavier linen and then maybe add a ruffle or binding tape to the top to hide the seam.

pretty flowers from your thoughful offspring.

you are a lucky girl.

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KusZ - Jewelry and more August 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I love the tote bag, the handles make it very fresh!!! Guess the flowers made you smile, which is a nice thing after a dreadfull day…

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Green Acres in the City August 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm

I understand the "break", I needed one and sent Cameron down to play and laid Henry down. Cameron just came up to tell me that I was the best mama ever. OH they make my heart sing. Love the skirt and bag too!

Being a mama is the BEST!

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Heather August 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Yep, they really do know how to make special moments. I love being a mama, and being able to do all these cool things with my kiddos. I think that I have figured out lately that I really need those special moments that only they can create. Knowing that we have a close bond just makes my day.

Jules, thanks for the tip, I like the idea of the binding tape on top.

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stitching under oaks August 6, 2009 at 12:18 am

the skirt is just beautiful! Nice test run, indeed. And those flowers from your kiddos, that's the stuff that make parenting so satisfying!

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Eva August 6, 2009 at 12:21 am

The skirt is so pretty, and very summery

I agree that a heavy linen liner would work well for the bag. You could roll it under, like you would for a casing, and then top stitch it, or you could use the binding tape for added sturdiness.

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renee ~ heirloom seasons August 6, 2009 at 1:26 am

Nice sewing projects! I think it would be fine if you top stitched the lining in. Though you could cover the topstitching with a nice little trim or lace if you thought it needed it. I would also suggest tapering in the sides and bottom of the lining just a tiny bit (maybe eighth or quarter of an inch) so that it doesn't cause any awkward bulk in that delicate fabric. (Of course keep the top measurements exactly matching the bag so it fits in perfectly.) Glad you got your smile!

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Kayla August 6, 2009 at 1:55 am

I totally understand needing a break. My wonderful husband took our daughter out for a "date." I'm sipping wine and enjoying the silence.

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Gina August 6, 2009 at 3:20 am

That is such a cute skirt! You are such an inspiration with all the ways that you reuse the things that you have. I love the bag, it looks cute and functional.

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Larissa August 7, 2009 at 11:54 pm

i love all the impromptu sewing you've been up to lately. the skirt fits you so well. I agree with all the tote lining advise (and don't forget to add a pocket for the keys and cell phone).

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