Post Christmas Gift & Clothes Swish!

I’m so excited to be finally holding another swishing event. This has been on my mind since last year where I had the idea to do a post Christmas swish to help those left with unwanted gifts to swap them for better ones and also refresh their wardrobe for the new year.

Join us in Shepherd’s Bush on Saturday 4th February and bring along any unwanted gifts, clothing and accessories. Your items will be valued and you will be given coupons to swap for “new” items. Register at 1.30 and the swishing starts at 2.15. 10% of profits from the day will be donated to the  for the Michael Barry Fund founded by Lucy from Smile & Make in memory of her husband who sadly passed away from a brain tumour last year. Find all the details here and I hope to see you on the day! Daisy x

Catch up post: our year so far & what’s ahead

Can you believe it’s almost October? Where has this year gone? I woke up this morning and felt a chill in the air and could sense those chilly mornings creeping in – you know, when it’s still dark outside and you just want to snuggle a little longer under the duvet?

Thankfully we’re not there yet. But I thought I’d reflect on the year so far and share some photos of what we’ve been up to in 2016 as I haven’t blogged much of it.

A couple of weeks ago we had our first ever photoshoot, lead by my lovely friend Zoe from Ladybird Likes. It was so much fun! Here’s a little taster but the rest of the pics will be up for the launch of the new website soon, very soon!

This year my main focuses for the business have been on getting our sewing classes off the ground. But because I love to keep the variety, I also wanted to start a monthly craft club focused around upcycling.

Upcycled Magnetic Memo Board

Back in January (which doesn’t seem that long ago) while I was still tweaking the sewing classes, I debuted the first Make Thrift Craft Club. I never really shared what a success it turned out to be. In our very first Craft Club we made magnetic memo boards out of old biscuit tin lids as I knew there would be lots about after Christmas. I was afraid no one would show but we ended up with 5 people attending and I met some lovely new locals and we all had so much fun! I was really impressed with the memo boards.

Make Thrift Craft Club

The first Make Thrift Craft Club

Here are some of the other projects we’ve made this year. It’s been a lot of fun coming up with new projects each month and also seeing how people interpret them. Mini jam jar terrariums, decoupaged trays and tea cup pin cushions:

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I’ve taken a break from the craft club for the last couple of months to rethink the format as it took a lot of time to develop and reasearch a brand new workshop every month. But don’t fret! If you’re missing the more crafty side of things, stay tuned. I have lots of exciting plans coming up towards Christmas including 3 seasonal workshops to get you in the mood. October will focus on Christmas gift ideas, November will be thrifty decorations and December I’ll share some tips for handmade wrapping paper, cards and gift tags.

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I’ve had a lot of enjoyment teaching sewing this year. And thank you if you joined one of our classes. It’s always a wonderful feeling when you teach a beginner or someone who had sewn before but lost their confidence. The satisfaction they get when they’ve stitched their first item is so wonderful to be a part of. We have taught beginner’s classes in cushion cover making, zipped pouches and tote bags. Intermediate follow a pattern classes making circle skirts (see above) and done lots of mending. I also ran a Goldhawk road tour, originally just as a freebie for those attending my classes but it was so popular, I now run it independantly of the classes. By the way, the last tour date of the year is October 10th, so if you want to come, book here! Or, you can get a free place on this if you book any of our classes until the 30th September.

sewing2 Sewing

Alongside the Mending Club, which I held at the hub, I also worked with Sew Portobello this year and held a Make & Mend weekly session. Two of my regular students were vintage clothing traders so it was always a joy to see what they would bring in to repair. At the moment, I’m still developing some pattern cutting classes, which I hoped to release some dates for in October. This may get pushed back to the new year..

I’m really excited about the Christmas workshops as these are my fave. Who doesn’t love a good Christmase song, a glass of warm mulled wine and some Christmas crafting? Stay tuned!

See you soon guys,

Daisy x



DIY: Upcycled wrist pin cushion

DIY: Upcycled wrist pin cushion1

Hello again.. Sorry for my hiatus, I’ve been busy working on lots of new things for Make Thrift London and blogging has gotten neglected. But fear not, I’ve got a heap of great posts in the pipeline, from furniture upcycling, the return of Mending Monday, more thrifty DIYs, so stay tuned..

Last week I was working on my next Mending Monday post, when I found myself struggling to grab pins whilst trying to pin onto myself and realised I needed a wrist pin cushion to keep my pins in easy reach. I came up with this super easy DIY upcycling a bottle top. You should be able to find most materials in your sewing room or around the house.

You will need:

  • a piece of scrap fabric about 12x12cm (preferably cotton or something non-stretchy, definitely pretty)
  • some stuffing (I used some scrap wadding)
  • a needle and thread
  • chalk or a pencil
  • craft knife
  • piece of elastic around 1cm wide (long enough to stretch round your wrist comfortably with a small overlap)
  • a plastic bottle lid (mine came from a milkshake)
  • multi-purpose glue
  • scissors and a cutting mat if you have one or something to protect the table underneath like a piece of cardboard
  • sewing machine (you could also hand sew)

Step 1: Prepare your cushion

Using chalk or a pencil draw a rough circle just inside the perimeter of your fabric or with a diameter of about 12cm (so from one side to the other.) Cut out your circle.

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Thread up a needle, knot one end and stitch a large running stitch (in and out) about 1cm long around the edge of your circle about half a cm in from the edge.

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When you get back to the start, pull the thread to gather your stitches so the circle comes together to create a ball and you’re left with an opening.

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Grab some stuffing and start..well, stuffing your cushion. If you’re using wadding instead of stuffing like me, rip up the wadding into smaller pieces so it’s easier to stuff and more even. Keep filling until it’s quite a firm ball when you pull your thread to close it.

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Now comes the fiddly bit. Once you’ve pulled your stitching together, you need to stitch it closed. I found squeezing the cushion whilst I pulled the thread taught the easiest way. I then made a few initial stitches across the opening to hold it together and then reinforced these stitches by going over them a few times in the same place and knotting at the end. It’s important you make sure this bit is secure. We don’t want it popping open. It’s a fiddly business but you’ll get there.

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Step 2: Making the wristband

Take your piece of elastic and place it across the centre of your bottle top. Using a marker pen, make a small mark at the top and bottom and again about about 1-1.5cm apart. This marks the space where the elastic will go across your wrist, so adjust according to the size of your bottle top.

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Take your craft knife and over a cutting mat or some cardboard to protect your surface underneath, carefully make 2 vertical cuts from your top mark to the bottom.

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Next feed through your elastic, starting on the outside, (flat side) of the bottle cap. I found it easiest to press down slightly from the inside, on the central piece between your two slits, to make the opening larger and feed through your elastic, then pull through a little and using the corner of the elastic, feed it back through the second slit. Once it’s poking through, pull from the outside. Feed it through until the elastic is roughly the same length, either side of the centre of your slits.

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Now, overlap your elastic by about 1.5cm and pin lengthways. Pop it over your wrist and check you’re happy with the tightness. Too tight? Release some of the elastic and repin. Or, as in my case, too loose, snip off a cm at a time and check again until you’re happy. Mine fit without any stretch the first time but I felt it would slide around my wrist, so I wanted it a little tighter.

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Once you’re happy, keeping the pin in place, remove it from your wrist and thread up your sewing machine. You want a medium zig zag stitch which won’t be too wide that it goes off the edge with a stitch length of about 2. I used blue thread so it would be easy to see in the photos but you could use a matching colour so it isn’t noticeable.

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Keeping the pin in, carefully place your elastic under your presser foot, keeping it in the centre of the foot. Start at the top, just beyond the overlap of the elastic so you definitely catch it. Lower the needle into your elastic and put the foot down before removing your pin. Carefully stitch, ensuring you keep the overlaps even and backstitch at the beginning and end to secure.

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Once you’re done, take it out and trim your ends and put it on to check it stretches nicely without coming apart.

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Part 3: Put it all together

Finally, place your glue inside the rim of the bottle top-follow the guidelines on your glue-some suggest waiting until it’s tacky before placing your other side against it.

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Place the stitched edge down into the cap and press down. Check where you might need extra glue and top up around the sides. Hold in place for a minute or so and leave to dry completely.

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Once the glue is completely dry, just pop your pins in and you’re ready to start pinning! *Be extra careful not to put too much pressure onto the top of your pins or they may pierce through the plastic. I put a needle into mine and kept it on trying on a the dress I was altering and as I pulled my arm through it pushed the needle so far into the cushion and it poked through the back! So please don’t be silly like me.

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I hope you enjoy this little DIY. Share your pics using the hashtag #MakeThriftLondon and @MakeThriftLDN on twitter or instagram.

Fancy joining our Mending Club? We’re holding our first open session on Saturday 8th August, where I’ll help you repair, alter or refashion your clothes. Bring in your pile to get some inspiration and revive your old wardrobe. Blog readers can save 10% on the morning, afternoon or full day session with promo code BLOG10. Book here.

Daisy x



A Sewing Time Capsule: Part One

Sewing Time Capsule

If you follow me on instagram or Facebook you may have seen me post a photo this week of my Jones’ sewing machine. I’ve got a weakness for vintage sewing machines and at last count own 7 vintage or antique metal sewing machines which I have acquired from various places over the last 4 or 5 years. Oops. This Jones Family CS model E was one I spotted a couple of years ago at the Friday Flea market on Portobello Road. A lot of the traders on Friday have stock straight from house clearances and don’t always know exactly what they have, so it really is a goldmine for finding wonderful treasures. This sewing machine was no exception.

When I got it home, I opened the carry case it came in which, I forgot to mention, on the way home popped open and the machine almost fell out! It must weigh about 10kg and so I’m not sure the case is original because its very light and flimsy. Any how, it made it back without damage and when I unpacked it I was thrilled to find at the bottom of the box, a selection of fabrics, a half finished dress and pattern instructions and a few other paper bits. I was very excited and popped everything into a carrier bag and put it in my studio to look at properly later…and then I forgotten about it. If you’ve seen my studio you will understand how easily this can happen. After trying it once, the sewing machine has been sitting on display on the bookshelf in my studio ever since.

I’m pleased to say, my studio has recently undergone a huge clear out (well 3 huge clear outs in the last 6 months) and most recently, we moved everything round so the space make more sense and I’ve started rediscovering all the awesome things I’ve rescued over the years.

So, this brings me back to the box. There was a lot of interest in this sewing machine’s contents on instagram and I knew it would be perfect to document on here. It seems like the previous owner either forgot about it or something happened so they didn’t manage to finish the dress and having found that bag of contents and had a more thorough look, there were many interesting pieces to the puzzle..

Here are the contents in order of photos: A selection of fabrics including some stripy deck chair canvas and some mint green lining, an almost completed Clothkits Style 596 Dress (from a kit) and instructions, a Clothkits reorder form and the original envelope date stamped 28 March 1980 and labels, 2 Simplicity 8623 Girl’s sleeve pattern pieces, 2 newspaper traced bodice pattern pieces, a label from a step pump with instructions (random,) a Smiths Bros Tooting paper bag and perhaps the most interesting and revealing piece of the time capsule: a typed letter which appears to be more of rambling nonsense than actually meant for someone to read but it tells us a lot. Read on below, to find out what it says..

Sewing Time Capsule Contents

Sewing Time Capsule Fabrics

Vintage Sewing Capsule DressVintage Sewing Capsule

Patterns in Vintage Sewing Capsule



Letter reads (as typed):

sweet nice darling daughter that is what i amhe knew every thing address glad i haven’t got a roast dinner to do. slave come and have a cup of tea I’ve made its in the kitchen its two oclock and news time on radio two -pause in speech- its got marks all ready yes idont particularly whant the picture in there no. are you going to stick it on with blue tack-this is reported speech on the 7.i0.79 `at1 oclock in the paskes house hold in grove on the old side as has been for the last 12 years and is likely to be for many more years to come except that the number in the house is fluctuating as nicholas has gone to manchester university to study history and economics carol hopefully is leaving next year to teacher training college todo a Bed together with these hands that are typing this nonsense but for now she m st go and study little dorrit by dickens or else she wont be considered even for college-bye for now.

The rest is definitely non-sense. As is the other page.

I’m not quite sure whether this was more of a diary entry or an actual letter to someone documenting the day. Either way, I love that the date and time have been recorded..and it gives us a little insight into life at the time like snapshot on this day.

I’ll share more on the actual sewing machine and dress in part two. I plan to complete the dress..hopefully on the Jones machine..I need to buy some needles for it first. It takes rounded shank needles so I’ll need to find some. I did have a go on it the other day. So I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small insight into this sewing machine’s story. I love old things because of the history behind them and I’m always fascinated by any details I can find out about the items past or the previous owner(s).

Would you be interested in me documenting more of my finds? Have you found anything with an interesting story to tell?

Thanks for reading,

Daisy x

Mending Monday: Repairing a seam – denim

Repairind Denim Seams - Make Thrift LondonThis week I’ve done another really simple repair. I’ve got this vintage denim jacket which used to be my Mum’s from circa 1980s. It’s probably a size too small for me across the shoulders but although snug, it fits (just about) and I love it. The downside to this is the seams which take the most beating are the back shoulder/sleeve seams and over the past few years the strain has caused the stitching to open up. It’s really quick and easy to repair these seams by going over the same stitch line that has come away. One side has an actual hole (which I only just noticed) and the other has just started to come apart. Here’s the before and after of the seam with the hole:Before and After- Repairing Denim Seam
There is a special stitch you can use to reinforce these seams (see image below). I use the Janome 7025 machines in all my classes and it has a straight stretch stitch which is really strong and basically like 4 stitches in place of one usual stitch. This is stitch is perfect (even on non-stretch fabrics) for seams that take a lot of strain like this one. If you don’t have this stitch on your machine a straight stitch will still do the job. I would make it slightly small than usual to make it a bit stronger so turn the stitch length down to 2 instead of the normal 2.5mm.

For the side where the seam had completely opened up:

  • Turn the jacket inside out and identify the seam which needs fixing
  • Pin together edge to edge

Repairing Denim Seams - Mending Monday

  • Stitch along original stitch line making sure you go over the first and last couple of stitches which are still intact to make sure you reinforce the old stitches
  • Use a zig zag stitch or overlocker to neaten off the edges

Repair Denim SeamWhen I did this and looked onto the right side I noticed the crossing seam was also coming open so I turned it back inside out marking the beginning and end point of the weakened seam with a pin to make sure I knew where to start and finish and went over this seam as well.

*Tip* When repairing 2 crossing seams it’s important to identify which seam should be stitched first. If the crossing is open you’ll be able to get in and stitch the seam right across without stopping before you stitch down the crossing seam. If you’re not sure, try looking at another crossing seam which is intact. Which has been stitched first? Whichever one was stiched last, you will stitch last. If the ‘cross roads’ is still intact then stitch in as close as you can get to the seam and back stitch.

Making MOnday - Denim Jacket RepairWhen stitching down two crossing seams ensure the seam allowances are facing the same way (usually towards the back of the garment.) This will stop the seam twisting around and help it lay flat.

I basically did the same with the other arm. Although the seam wasn’t completely open on this side, one of the seams had come apart and so I went over this row of stitching, again with the straight stretch stitch.

Here’s the before and after for that side:

Repaired Denim Jacket Before and AfterI wear this jacket throughout the Spring and Summer months so will get a lot of wear out of this for years to come. As always, let me know if you try any of these repairs or alterations using the hashtag #mendingmonday.

If you want to learn hemming, how to sew different types of buttons, taking in garments to improve fit and how to mend rips and tears, why not join our mending Club? You can book a single session or all 4 weeks. All the details are here.

Thanks for reading!

Daisy x