watch band refashion

i love the classic, simple face of my trusty timex watch...


but i don't love the janky band, especially since it broke and i had to press a hair elastic into service to hold down the end:


clearly, it was time for an upgrade. i decided to go for a cuff style.

first i removed the band, leaving the crossbars.


then i found a fabric that i liked and cut it up. i made the length the circumference of my wrist plus an inch and a half for seam allowance and overlap for fastening, and made the width as wide as i thought looked good.


i then cut the same size in another fabric--because i had chosen corduroy for the front, i used a thin fabric for the back so that the end product wouldn't be too bulky.


i placed the two fabrics right-side-together, pinned them, and sewed up on both long sides and one short side.


i snippped the corners...


...and then turned it inside out, using a letter opener to poke the corners into shape (anything semi-pointy will do---a small crochet hook, a pencil...). then i turned the ends of the open side in and sewed them up. next came a fastener. i had some snaps in my sewing cabinet, so i went with that:


but you could go with lots of other options: a button, hook and eye, velcro, whatever.

then i sewed the watch on to the band. i realized as i was doing this--and having to be really careful to only go through the top layer of fabric so that my stitches didn't show on the back--that i should have sewn the watch on the the top fabric before i sewed the two pieces of fabric together. so, learn from my mistake! i just sewed around the crossbars, at the corners, using thin thread that matched my fabric:


but you could use embroidery thread or yarn, in the same color as your fabric or a complimentary one, and make the stitching more of a decorative element.

and, voila!


stylish and comfy.

- cakehouse

recycled bath mat

recently the towel that my husband has been using since college (!) sustained some injuries that made it unusable:

unusable as a towel, that is. as the base for a new bath mat, it was perfect. and so i embarked on a project to dress up our bathroom.


- an old towel
- a yard or so of fabric that you'd like to place your just-out-of-the-shower feet on [i used the ruffle from an old bedspread]
- pins
- needle and thread, or sewing machine


1) cut your towel into two equal-sized rectangles, at whatever size will fit best in your bathroom.


2) iron your fabric, and cut it into strips that are 4-1/2" wide, and 4" longer than the sides of your rectangle in length (so, unless you've cut squares out of your towel, you'll have 2 strips of one length and 2 strips of another).


3) iron down a 1/4" fold on each of the long sides of the strips, then fold in half and iron the whole strip flat, until it looks like this:


then fold back 2" at the short ends of each strip, and iron down.


4) place the two rectangles of towel on top of each other, lined up neatly. then place the strips of fabric under the edges of the towels and fold them over at the crease that you ironed in, so that they create a border. follow the photos below to make neat corners:


5) if you like the way it looks at this point, just sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the border, being sure that you catch both the front and back edges, and you're all done!


6) however if, like me, you're not crazy about the color of your towel, or just want more of the fabric in the design, or just want to make life more difficult for yourself, you can keep going. i decided to fill in the middle with a lattice design, like the back of an old lawn chair. if you are going to go this route, don't sew that broder fabric down just yet....


start by cutting a bunch of strips of fabric in a width that looks appealing to you (i used 2"). remember to add a 1/2" to that width for finishing the edges. measure the open space of your mat that you need to fill, and figure out how many strips you need to cut to fill it. for length, cut them an inch longer than the open space, to allow for them to overlap (or, acutally, underlap) with the border fabric.

iron down a 1/4" on each of the long sides of the strips, then sew them down with a straight or zig-zag stitch.


**if you are working with a fabric that's prone to fraying, add 1" to the width that you decide on for the strips, and fold the edges of the fabric over on themselves again before sewing down.

7) weave the strips together...

CIMG1098 them around the edges, and baste them to the towels.

8) then put the border fabric back in place, fold it over the lattice, and pin it down. sew a straight stitch along the inside edges of the trim, being sure that you go through both the front and back edges.


and that's all!


- cakehouse

Why Buy Handmade?

While many of us enjoy buying beautiful, hand-crafted goods, we don’t always think of the positive impact our purchases have on our lives and community. In support of our Indie-pendence theme this month, I have 5 reasons to buy handmade.

1. Supports Local Economies
Buying from local businesses (crafters and artists) that are buying their supplies locally, you are putting your money back into the local economy, instead of large conglomerates that funnel their money to a headquarters across the country or across the world.

Skirt by BetterThanJam

2. Builds Community
Supporting local artists allows a flourishing artistic community. It’s not just the local artists that benefit. It invites more galleries and boutiques as well as community artists projects, gardens, murals, arts education, and more.

Painting by ArtByIris photographed in front of the Brooklyn Bridge

3. Better Quality Goods
You know exactly what’s gone into each product and can speak with the crafter about the why and how of making each piece. In addition to the detailed craftsmanship, many handmade goods are made from natural or recycled materials. This and making the products to last for generations instead of years lessens our impact on the natural world.

Veggie Garden Soap Bar by NordeaSoaperie

4. More Beauty in Your Life
Many mundane and practical pieces used in everyday life can be enhanced by using instead beautifully crafted handmade goods. Beauty makes the soul rest easier and smiles more prevalent.

Cloth Napkins by Cakehouse

5. Responsible Buying
No sweatshops, less than minimum wage workers, nor corporate outsourcing. It feels good to be connected to where our goods come from, to know that each piece was made with joy and completed by one or maybe a handful of people.

Robot Card by MamaRobot

Supporting handcrafted goods means we can become responsible for where our money goes and what we bring into our lives: beauty, health, and community.

HOW TO: resuscitate that old t-shirt!

as i've mentioned here on the {newnew} blog before, one of my favorite forms of recycling is wardrobe recycling, aka wardrobe refashioning. instead of heading to h+m when you feel like you have nothing to wear, why not shop in your closet instead, and re-make something that doesn't fit anymore—or just doesn't fit your current style?

one of the easiest places to start refashioning is with t-shirts. we all have them: the t-shirts we don't wear but can't seem to let go of. here's what i did with one of mine.

this was part of my college uniform:


not only is it ridiculously big (as all of my clothes were back then), it had developed some issues in the back....


...and so had since been relegated to the pajama drawer. but i never wore it, because i was afraid it was just going to keep ripping and completely fall apart. clearly, it was time to dismantle it myself.

i started by removing the sleeves, then cutting across the back horizontally at the spot of the enormous gaping hole, leaving me with this:


then i cut down the sides vertically, making two pieces, and slit the part of the back that was attached to the front down the middle, comme ca:


i decided that those two pieces coming off the top of the front piece would become straps, so i trimmed them a bit to make them slimmer and equal widths, and hemmed the edges. i also turned the neckband under in the front and stitched it down to make a uniform hem all around.

then i put it all together: pinned the side seams and sewed them up, hemmed the top of the back piece, attached the straps to the back, and hemmed the front piece— which had ended up longer than the back—at the bottom. and this is what i got:



putting it on, i realized that the part where i had hemmed under the existing neckband stuck out...


...and i was going to fix it by turning it under one more time and re-hemming, but then i realized that i liked it the way it was. i also love that the finished product retained some of the pinholes and frayed edges of the original shirt.

and so something destined for the scrap heap became a fab, totally original "new" top.

- cakehouse

my green craft: cakehouse

though i knew that i wanted to start my own business after graduating from design school, it took me a rather ridiculously long time to settle on what that business would be. i had studied textile design, so i knew i wanted to work in the fabric medium; then i figured out that i wanted to do home accessories, and to silkscreen. okay, good! but i couldn't get past that point. only when i realized that i should work with recycled fabric—incorporating my love of everything vintage and secondhand, and my ever-growing want to make my life greener—did my business really start to take solid shape. of course, i still had to decide on a product to launch with, so i upped the eco ante by choosing to make cloth napkins.


i now make napkins and coasters, out of fabric that i find at thrift stores all over the city and sometimes beyond—whenever we go on vacation, i manage to work in a trip to the local thrift stores (there's a great website that makes this possible). i mostly work with bedsheets, curtains, tableclothes, and the occasional housecoat. i cut them up, sew them back together, and print on them with nontoxic water-based inks.


i try to keep with the green/recycling ethos at every level of cakehouse, not just in terms of the products themselves. i wash all my fabric in natural detergent, and dry it on the line in my backyard (9 months out of the year, anyway). my sewing machine is from 1965 (via ebay), my ironing board came from freecycle (and is possibly from before 1965...), my cutting and piecing table came from a family in my neighborhood that was giving it away. i just recycled some unwanted shutters into fantastic displays for when i sell at markets and fairs. not only is it great for the earth to re-use instead of buying new, but it really satisfies me on an aesthetic level to look around my studio and see things with a history, things with a little wear and therefore, i think, more personality.


[you can read more about my adventures in greening my life on a more personal level here.]

- cakehouse

Wardrobe Refashionistas

Like a lot of people, maybe you've been looking for ways to be more green. You've ditched the Clorox and the Lysol for the Seventh Generation and the Method, you're filling the fridge with organic apples from Long Island instead of strawberries flown in from New Zealand (and carrying them home in cloth bags instead of plastic), you're keeping the thermostat set low, you've filled all your sockets with the twirly lightbulbs.

But how eco-friendly is your closet?

I'm not talking about buying organic jeans from Bono—I'm talking about a way to apply your creative and artistic talent to reducing your fashion footprint. Wardrobe Refashion is an online community of people who have pledged to "abstain from the purchase of 'new' manufactured items of clothing" for 2, 4, or 6 months. Instead, they promise to "refashion, renovate, recycle preloved fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of [their] contract." You're also allowed to buy new fabric and yarn to make clothes, and to buy handmade clothes, so Etsy shops are fair game! Shoes are exempt, as are underwear, though you're "encouraged to have a go at making those." (Hey, if Daniel Day-Lewis can do it, so can you.) Members then post their projects on the Wardrobe Refashion site, which makes it great for novice sewers, as there are lots of tutorials and inspiration.

Wardrobe Refashion was started by an Australian woman named Nicola Prested. She "wanted to save money, make less of an impact on the environment, increase my sewing skills and define my own style rather than buying off the rack what everyone else is buying," so made a personal decision not to buy new clothes for six months. She wrote about her experiment on her blog and asked if others would be interested in getting in on it—and got 60 takers. One of them suggested she start a group blog for everyone making the no-new-clothes pledge, and Wardrobe Refashion was born. A Refashion Flickr group has also been formed, if you'd like less text with your photos.

So check it out, maybe start light with a 2-month pledge..... I'm on month 8 and not looking back.

- Kristen

renegade rolls back into town...

the renegade craft fair—the massive indie craft market that has been taking over williamsburg's mccarren park (last year moving into the mccarren pool) for a weekend for the past 3 summers—is gearing up for it's 4th annual brooklyn show, which will be on saturday june 14th & sunday june 15th.

renegade was started in 2003 by a crafter named sue daly when she couldn't find a craft show or market that reflected her DIY aesthetic. the first renegade was in chicago, where they now have a brick and mortar shop in addition to two annual fairs—one in the summer and one for the winter holiday season. and this year they'll be pitching their tents in san francisco for the the first time too.

you can read a piece from the ny times about renegade here, and see pictures of past shows here.

and the applications for the brooklyn show are up! just go to their site and click on the brooklyn link to find the online application. good luck everybody—i put my application in yesterday....


Love is in the Air!


From gift tags, to cards, original art, and prints, The {NewNew}'s got it all for Valentine's Day. Check out these great holiday themed items from FineArtist, LucidDreamDesigns and Stereoette.

And for that HOT Femme in your life the {NewNew} has some great jewelry, clothing, fine art, candles and more! This selection of items by Art By Iris, Bead Scarf,Brooklyn Bee, Brooklyn Butterfly, Cakehouse, JT Stitches, Dew On A Petal, KimmChi, Fine Artist, Nina Dinoff, Ms. Kitty Fantastico, and the lovelyStereoette


For the Guy in your Life, we've got some great stuff, from shirts to iphone cozies, cufflinks and more! By Art By Iris, Brooklyn Bee, Cakehouse, JT Stitches, KimmChi, Fine Artist, Nina Dinoff, Ms. Kitty Fantastico