Saskia Designs

How to transform and repurpose your woollens

Have you got some sweaters or woollens that you don’t want to part with? don’t wear because they have a hole ? love but are worn out ? or maybe just outdated ? 

I highly recommend doing something with them before giving them up.

Have a go at machine felting

Below are some tips to get you started. 

1 Check the content of your item, 100% wool gives the best results, also check to make sure it isn’t machine washable, as it won’t felt.

2  Place your item(s) with similar colours into a washing machine using regular mild detergent and set to the longest, hottest cycle available.  The heat and agitation in the machine will do all the lovely felting work for you !

3  Remove your items promptly from the machine, flatten out as much as possible and place on a drying rack. Once dry, iron on a hot setting with steam if needed.

Start thinking about what you want to make - mittens, eye glass cases, pot holders, trivets, decorations…have fun!

Below is one of my tea cosies, made from a lovely electric blue wool sweater, embroidered with a Delft inspired heart. 

Need more help, get in touch…

My favourite drawing tool

I often get asked about the tools I use. Many presume I must have some fancy programmable machine, but I don’t. I use straight stitch, a regular domestic sewing machine, literally drawing with it. 

I do have the Volvo of sewing machines, a Bernina. Its Swiss made, metal body and built to sew through anything and everything. My main workhorse is a 1090 which I’ve had since 1995. It was an investment piece, but having tried various brands, and burnt through a few already, I knew I needed a Bernina.

 If you are thinking of investing in a sewing machine, test a variety of brands, and see what suits your needs and budget. Second hand machines, especially Bernina’s are hard to find, but totally worth searching out ! 

A few years ago, I realized that my original Bernina will need to retire at some point. Thanks to my brilliant repair technician, Larry Shackleton, I now have backup, a solid old Record (serious tank) and a second 1090 that has not been used nearly as much as mine. Both he had as trade in’s, lucky for me !

Alternatively, if you are in Toronto, the Workroom is a Bernina agent, and you can test/rent the machines there in this lovely local textile shop.

Confessions of a textile lover

I have a life long love of working with textiles. Early on my mum taught me how to use her antique Singer sewing machine so that I could sew clothes and accessories for my toys.  By 10 years old I was making my own clothes and bags, mostly from my own patterns created out of newspaper.

I bought fabrics from the local market in Leicester which had lots of textile stalls. I would also rummage through the local jumble sales for clothing to alter to my own styling…

Now I still gather as much as I can to repurpose from charity shops, especially woollen sweaters. There are no fabric stalls in the markets here in Toronto. Instead I search out the independent fabric shops for my materials. When I travel, I love to find fabric shops, adding to my stash of textiles.

Silk is still my favourite fabric, its lustre and vibrant rich colours are so wonderful to work with. I am however, searching for a sustainable silk or an alternative fabric before my collection of silks runs out.  

The cotton, rayon and woollen threads I use all have good sustainability policies (Madeira, Guterman and Aurifil) as well as being great colourful quality products to create with.

Read more on the materials I use here.

I thought I would share an old picture of myself at 19 years old,  sporting a pair of my then custom order-able shorts from 100% Saskia Designs. 

Get in touch with any suggestions or queries

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