Tag Archives: craft

Thrift Shop Shirt Makeover

Quite frankly I can’t keep up with the weather. I have lost count the amount of times I have had to switch between a jumper to a dress, from boots to espadrilles, from cut off denim shorts to a coat (you get the picture). Don’t get me wrong I never say no to a glorious bit of sunshine, it’s just I find it a little exhausting planning the daily wardrobe when you have to factor in such a changeable climate.

With that said, I found myself with a slight clothing quandary on Saturday morning when I was woken by the searing sunshine piercing the blinds in our bedroom. Filled with the joys of summer, I rummaged through my wardrobe looking for the perfect summer outfit. I was off out for lunch with friends and wanted to make an effort. However, and as I can imagine all the ladies out there can relate to, I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to wear. Through all the clothes I had, nothing quite matched what I was thinking.

That was until I found a mens shirt that I had bought at a local charity shop, which I had planned to make into a sleeveless tie front top. Perfect I thought, this is exactly what I need.

So, here is how I made a lovely summer top out of an old mens shirt.

1. I had to firstly cut the sleeves off the shirt. I measured out exactly where I wanted the new sleeve seam to sit by trying the shirt on and marking out with quilting tape on one sleeve. After taking the shirt off I matched the exact same measurments on the other sleeve. I then used my fabric scissors to cut a clean curve and sew a new seam on both armholes.

2. I then repeated this with the hem. I measured out with quilting tape where I wanted the back hem to sit and followed this line through to the front of the shirt. I then used the tape to create a slight ‘S’ shape that curved towards the bottom of the button placket to create the ties. Again, I cut away the excess fabric and used the sewing machine to sew a new hem.

3. I then decided to ‘pretty up’ the shirt by cutting the existing buttons from the shirt and replacing them with new ones.

4. A quick press with iron, some denim cut-off shorts, a necklace and some red lipstick and I was ready for lunch with my friends.

So there we go, get your hands on your husband’s, boyfriend’s, dad’s or brother’s shirt (or you can also search your local charity shops) and get cutting. They really do make gorgeous summer top’s that keep you cool in the sun.

A Very Happy Birthday

I am sure Chris wouldn’t want me to disclose his actual age and whilst denial is a man’s best friend once you pass the 30 threshold, I still wanted to make the big day as memorable as possible. This included the card. What kind of craft lover would I be if I let a birthday go by without at least attempting to make a card!

I have recently been researching and exploring different ways of printing and wanted to incorporate this into a card design. After looking into several options I decided on lino printing as my favoured route. I searched back into the cob-webbed archive of my brain, back to the days on my foundation course at Art College and remembered enjoying carving little lino type worms out of the base material and attempting to make some sort of pretty pattern.


With that said, I visited my favourite Art Shop in Brighton and purchased an A4 sheet of lino and some carving tools. Once home I set about sketching some fonts and planning the card design itself. I wanted something quite simple, so settled on an easy and sincere birthday message…Happy Birthday (I know…Clinton Cards I’m free for freelance if you need me). Wanting to bring a little 3D aspect into the card, I left a couple of the letters blank ready for me to add something to enhance the design.

One thing I did remember from all my time at Art College, was to make sure that when you use lettering in a lino print, you always need to write the message backwards. Otherwise once printed you would also have to present the viewer with a mirror so that they can read their personal message in the way it was intended. Once the message was carved, I used a roller to cover the print block with acrylic paint and print onto the card itself.

I then used my trusty (and now favourite) button covering tool, discovered when upholstering my Victorian Chair, to make some 3D letters to finish the original and sincere birthday message. I firstly had cut and sewn the missing letters onto some patterned fabric and then used the tool itself to cover some 19mm buttons (I’ll blog about how to make your own buttons soon).

Once finished I then hand sewed the buttons into the missing spaces to finish the overall look.

Suffice to say, I think Chris was pleased with his card, but it was pretty hard to tell when I was trumped by the £25 winning scratch card my Auntie sent him in her card!

Put your Feet Up

If there’s anything we’re always on the prowl for it’s an old dusty bit of furniture, crying out to made into something else. It’s a tricky thing of course, because at one time it would have sat proudly in someones home, being just what it is. But we can’t help it. I see a twist here, Anna spies a curve there and the next thing you know we’re making a table into a footstool.

In my mind, I thought I’d stumbled onto a winner. Lovely curved wooden legs, like some kind of retired exotic dancer, peering out from the back of a charity shop. Although once getting home it seemed I’d been duped by the tables’ evocative powers. Sadly up top she wasn’t in great shape. It just didn’t feel right to paint, polish or even worse……… bite the bullet and throw the table away.

So with a little wave of Anna’s upholstery wand, that ugly duckling of a coffee table was turned into a beautiful swan of a cushioned ottoman style footstool.

What you need to make your own

  • An old table from a charity shop
  • Sandpaper, paint and wax for finishing
  • Foam – around 7cm thick
  • Spray glue
  • Cotton batting
  • Some old fabric for upholstery fabric. We had some leftover from the make your own ipad case blog
  • Staple gun
  • Buttons and string
I thought I’d fail at the first hurdle trying to get the top off. At one stage I was using a broom stick to lever it out, only to discover I’d forgotten to remove one of the screws. Slightly embarrassing. Hopefully you’ll sail through this bit and straight onto stripping down the table legs to remove all the old varnish. This is also the best time to cut down the legs if your table is on the tall side. Paint, wax or varnish to the finish you’d prefer.
Lay out the foam on a flat surface and place table upside down on top. Draw around the edge of the table onto the foam to make your template. Cut the foam with a serrated knife, a bread knife will do. Spray one side of the foam with glue and position on top of the table. Measure and cut a piece of cotton batting to cover the foam. You’ll need a bit of excess of around 6cm at the edges. Place over the foam and staple in place. Start from the middle of each side and leave a space in the corners. This will let you finish the corners like you would with a flat sheet corner on a mattress.
Lay your fabric over the top of the cotton batting and repeat the stapling process. Cut off any excess fabric, before screwing the legs back on. Then make a cup of tea, pat yourself on the back and take a seat.

Tip; If you’re going to add buttons drill holes into the table top before covering so you have something to tie the string round.