Thursday, 3 September 2015

Upcycling, sewing a dress and kringwinkels in Belgium

Hi, my lovely readers, how are you all?

Thanks for your positive reactions to my previous post. I'm trying to bring my blogging up to speed with what has been happening during August.

So here is another sewing and upcycling post for a change!

About kringwinkels in Belgium

We are very lucky to have a local kringwinkel in our little village. A kringwinkel is the equivalent of a charity shop in England, you can donate your goods and buy other donations there. They also provide employment and training for people.

Kringwinkels are in most towns, and living around Antwerp, I am lucky to have several to choose from.

I often check to see what is 'new', and I love to image what the story is behind an item. On a few occasions I have seen things that connect to me personally, such as china plates from the Potteries in England (where I used to live before moving to Belgium). Often I have fun taking photos of old things without buying them. Other times I found a nice jacket or other clothing.

However, these days I tend to 'hunt' for crafty stuff. I go through fabrics, crochet doilies and other handmade things, for me they are akin 'treasures'. Of course I need to be strict with myself and make good choices. Not everything is a bargain! I do not buy pairs of knitting needles because no matter how cheap, I prefer working with my nice Knit-Pro circular needles. However, finding someone else's old sewing supplies thrills me. I do not buy questionable acrylic yarn in ugly colours, but I might pick out the one ball of real wool, if I am lucky!

Often it is 'craft at first sight' - I find something and it inspires me to make something new with it!

This happened with the following fabric I located.

It disguised itself as an Ikea curtain, but I could see the dress it would transform itself into.

My Ikea hack - the upcycled curtain dress

How could I resist the lovely printed curtain panel? It was made of thick cotton and a nice length. I love the natural print design.

Here you can see me using my own paper pattern which I had used for my first dressmaking, you can read about it in a previous post of mine.

 This time I shortened the length.

You can see both dresses here next to each other.

My finished dress made from a curtain panel!!!

Later I worked on some extra pieces which I thought to add to make a sort of  'dotty angel frock dress' in my own style. I sewed some pockets and a collar bib by hand which I embellished with some crochet touches.

Upon checking I realized that less was more, and left them off. They might come in handy for another creation!

I really like how the dress looks now, letting the pattern and shape speak for itself.

Extra pockets
Matching bib collar

Attending a FEMMA Sewing workshop at the kringwinkel in Niel

You might recall that earlier this summer I mentioned I was taking part in a Sewing workshop at one of my local kringwinkels /charity shops, and yes, I was planning on blogging about it, so here it is, just a little bit later!

Really this played a part to encourage me on my new journey of dressmaking, sewing and upcycling.

This was hosted by an organisation called Femma which provides various courses, in this case it was sewing.

I went there with my youngest daughter, we had both registered for it. On the actual day it turned out we were the only ones (despite some other people having signed up for it!)

So we had the full attention and help of our teacher. We had some really good Bernina sewing machines there. I had brought one of my T-shirt tops that I hadn't really worn much and I bought a second patterned top there to use for this project. After some discussion and measuring, I decided that I wanted to add some panels to my top, which is what I did. My daughter had brought her own sewing project along.

Here you can see one of the finished side panels, with some added vintage crochet lace as a trim.

My upcycled Top with floral trim
My modelling shot (You can tell it was earlier this summer because my hair was really short then. It has grown quite a bit since then!!!)

And here is my instant 'new' sewing box collection with all sorts of goodies. I purchased it on the day of the workshop at the kringwinkel.

I also want to mention that things have been pretty busy this summer. I managed to injure my right knee end of April which caused me quite a fair amount of pain and discomfort. Anyway, long story short, I had an operation on my meniscus 7days ago and I'm hoping to finally get better now, though it might take more time. I also had various dental interventions which should soon be finished.

Crafting has helped me a lot to get through these difficult times. I want you to know I have more things to show you, but I decided to break them down into smaller parts!!!

I hope to see you back here soon...

Thanks for stopping by!!! 😊


  1. What a great idea to have classes at a charity shop, I love what you did to the Ikea curtain, a great dress. The T Shirt top is stunning too with the panel addition. Hope you are feeling a lot better now after surgery, take is easy surgery can be hard to get over. Take care.

    1. Thank you, Lorraine for your nice comments and wishes. I still need to take things easy. xx

  2. How creative! Nice dress and top!
    I also love kringwinkels and it's indeed exciting to find a good ball of yarn, or fabric in your case.
    I hope all goes well with the teeth and your knee!

    1. Hello Sigrid, glad you share my passion for 'kringen' !!! ;) xx

  3. That summer dress is something else - what a fabulous fabric find. Lots of crochet then while you are on the mend. Best Bishes Jo x

    1. Yes, indeed it was a great find. Thanks, Jo!! :) xx

  4. You are a woman of many talents, Ingrid. The curtain dress is gorgeous (in the best tradition of Gone with the Wind)

    1. Hi Amelia, thanks for your lovely words!! :) xx

    2. And the movie The Sound of Music where Maria made playclothes for the children from curtains but one would never know that this dress was made from curtain fabric, Very nice.

  5. Ingrid, that little dress is so cute & summery! And the panels just make that top, I love it. Hope you have a quick recovery - at least neither dental nor knee woes will stop you from crocheting ;-)

    1. Hello Diane, glad you like it! Yes, crochet can surely take your mind off things! :) xx

  6. I hope that all of your medical things will soon be resolved and that you will be feeling more yourself again. It is great that you have enjoyed your crafting in the meantime to keep you occupied. I love that dress - and the fabric!! Great job! xx

  7. The Ikea dress is pure genius. I love it so much i think Ikea should sell them! Love your upcycled shirt, you are amazing.

  8. Wow Ingrid! (I seem to start so many comments to you with 'wow' lately) I love your upcycling. This is something I have dabbled with while mending children's clothes although the extent of my upcycling has been patching knees and embellishing with decorative stitching.
    You are very clever and creative. How special to share your crafts with your daughter. I am glad that the teacher still went ahead with your class even though it was just two of you.
    I am glad you have had the surgery and hope you heal well. I picture you with with your feet up, hooks, yarn and knitting needles and patterns by your side as you get stuck into your projects. I hope your daughter is still close to lend a hand while you recover.
    Healing hugs xx

    1. Hey Jodie, it's ok to start with a 'wow', hehehe!! ;)) When you are not feeling well, it is good to use that creative energy to get better again. Hugs back to you! xx

    2. Well you certainly have a LOT of that (creative energy) and I love seeing the outcome(s). You inspire me. :-)