Monday, 30 September 2013

Sarong Refashions

In UK charity shops at least there is always a rack of donated sarongs. I guess people buy them for holidays abroad and have no use for them here! It's another place I look for discarded fabric - often sarongs are soft and light and make lovely summer tops or skirts, and the nice thing is that unlike other refashions you are basically just getting straight yardage.

The fabric for my latest garment is taken from a sarong, but not from a charity shop. When my children were little I went a bit crazy and bought the whole family, yes husband and son included, matching sarongs from People Tree. They are a fair trade/organic clothing company still very much in business whose website you can find here. There is some information on how cloth and clothes are manufactured as well as some cute items for sale.

Anyway, I digress. We had a lot of fun for a few summers running around the garden in our sarongs. Then the children began to grow up and no longer found it amusing to match their parents ;) The sarongs are made from beautifully soft, organic, fair trade, tie-dyed cotton, far too good to discard! Pre-blog I already made this bag, lined with one of the sarongs...

Bag exterior

Trying to show bag interior. The red lining inside the straps is from an old
linen skirt I used to wear

The pattern is from a book called Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. It's one of those bags that just expands and expands - I have used it constantly since I made it, mostly for lugging crafty stuff to and fro but it's good for stuffing with books and shopping too. The pattern was easy and fun - highly recommended!

...and two scarves, one wide and one thin which I wear several times a week. As you can see the fabric takes on a different texture, un-ironed and crumpled. These were made by cutting the sarong 2/3rds 1/3rd, so if you find a sarong in a colour that suits your skin tone, this works really well with no waste.

Now I have made this top, my third based on Simplicity 1920. (I think these are what I wear instead of t-shirts.) I did a different order of construction this time (shoulders and neckline first), so that I could try out the length for a high-low hem. I have three inches added to the extension lines on the pattern to allow me to experiment and also because the first top came up quite short. (Other versions here with some comments on the pattern, and seen here although this was made pre-blog.) The fabric is quite fine so I used French seams again (still enamored of the lovely neat interior finish these give!)

I'm not done with sarong refashions yet, although there is only a scrap of this fabric left now. My friend has given me another beautiful one, which I am making into a lined A-line skirt.

What are you working on at the moment?

Happy sewing, 'til next time!


  1. The fabric is really lovely. Great re-use of an old textile :)

  2. Thank you Carolyn, that means a lot coming from you - I view you as the queen of textile re-use (especially after your recent amazing white dress)!

  3. Great refashion Philippa! Both the bag and top are awesome..I will by on the look out for large scarves and sarongs now!

    1. Well you never know...I just want to go to the place you got your dotted chambray from!!

  4. I love that fabric! And the high-low hem looks really cool. I can't believe you got a bag lining, two scarves and a top out of a sarong!

    1. Haha, no, these were a family of sarongs! Although that would have been amazing...

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  6. Oh my! I really love your shirt! It looks great on you. I may have to find that pattern because I really like the style of it.

    I must admit though, I had to google what a sarong was!!! lol. Am I that clueless or is the US just not that into them? who knows. they sure are cute though.

    Also, thanks for the heads up on the cute bag; I need an expandable one for all my kids gear ;-)

  7. Very pretty fabric! I'm really digging that bag!

  8. What lovely fabric! How nice to get so many items from it. The "not-a-t-shirt" is especially nice.

    (And....I have no idea what a sarong is, either! When I've heard the word used here, it's been a little skirt to cover up a swimsuit.)