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

Sock Monkey Workshop at Etsy

Join us for an afternoon of creating original sock monkeys for Fresh Art's sock monkey program. Fresh Art is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing expanded artistic, personal development, and entrepreneurial opportunities to New York City artists with special needs. The sock monkeys we create this afternoon will be sold to raise funds to support fresh art's programs. All skill levels are welcome, though basic hand sewing skills are helpful.

Saturday, October 25, 2008; 10am-3pm
325 Gold St, 3rd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Ages 12 & up are welcome.
Please RSVP at for this free workshop.

Hosted by Fresh Art, the NewNew York Team , and Etsy Labs.

Etsy Labs has reopened!

Starting tonight Etsy Labs is open again for their weekly craft nights! Etsy Labs was closed for the past few weeks due to a move from the 6th Floor to the 3rd floor of their 325 Gold Street building. The move is complete and the space looks great:

Julie [below] hosted a live chat on Etsy and gave instructions on how to make a pillow.

Danielle [in the photo below] and Christine worked on sewing the pillows. Check out all the Labs' sewing machines and sergers!

If you'd like to visit the Labs, the space is open to visitors every Monday from 4-8:00. The building is at 325 Gold Street in Brooklyn, which is right near Downtown Brooklyn, a close walk to several subway stops.


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

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

Coming up this week...

Live in the Bronx? Interested in the Bronx? The International Center of Photography is hosting a student photography exhibition focusing on photos of the Bronx. The 'I Love the Bronx' show opened this week at Garrison Avenue in the Bronx.

Focusing on South Brooklyn, the opening reception for 'Lost in Transition: South Brooklyn, Williamsburg & Coney Island' is 2/10/08 at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

It's a quiet weekend for art and craft events.... a good time to consider applying for a blacksmith scholarship at the John Campbell Folk School or a chance to have your work appear in a craft book from Lark Publishing.

If you're interested in learning to sew, now is the perfect time to sign up for a 'Design your own tote' sewing class at Etsy Labs; a three week Tuesday-afternoon class beginning February 12th.

---Joanne aka joannetracydesigns----