Stylish Remakes – Japanese Sewing book giveaway

By Susan | Comments: 4 | March 3, 2016

Some time ago I was given a copy of Stylish Remakes to review, when I was asked to do it I said sure, I’m not normally an up cycling type of sewer but am always interested to have a look at something.


When the book arrived I was intrigued. It has some really great ideas to take pre existing garments and give them some cool and sometimes quirky twists to create a new garment.



I was all inspired and yet the book has been sitting there and I haven’t created any projects. I sat down the other week to choose a project and then it dawned on me, I’m trying to decrease my stash and I rarely if ever buy any clothes (even 2nd hand clothes).

This is a book that is to be utilised and treasured by upcyclers who love to rummage at a charity shop. Who chop and recreate and do all manner of wondrous things with an existing start point…and I’m not one of those people. I struggle to find anything at charity shops, am hopeless at doing alterations because to me it’s faster and easier to just grab fabric from the stash and create from the very beginning.


Despite all this the book really sparks my imagination, one of the pieces I really like is taking a bunch of bandannas and making outfits from sewing them together. Such a cool idea to use scarves or bandannas or even fat quarters. Now I don’t have any of those things but I do have a collection of lovely swatches from when we did our Shibori workshop.


I started sewing them together using french seams in the fine fabric. it was this very fineness that made me reconsider the dress as the fabric was virtually sheer and a dress made from it would be unwearable. Creating something only for the photos goes against all the good that upcycling promotes so I needed another way of using the sewn together squares.

During all this sewing and thinking it’s been really hot, when I’m working at home I keep the front door open to promote a cross breeze. This is good except for the flaw that everyone who walks past has a look in, it seems like half the apartments in my building are now some kind of AirBnB and the foot traffic / looking in was getting a little ridiculous for my tastes.

Taking my sewn together squares and inspiration from Japanese doorways which often have fabric coverings called Noren, I created one of my own.


As you can see it keeps the airflow going but discourages peeping eyes, added benefit of looking really beautiful.

So while it’s not a project from the book it is a project inspired by the book which has certainly made me look more seriously at upcycling and how I can use what is around me to create new things.

The publishers have generously given me a book to giveaway to any Australian upcyclers (sorry overseas readers maybe next time), so if you genuinely think you want to give upcycling a go or are a current upcycling fan then please leave a comment below telling me why you should get the book or linking to one of your own upcycling projects. I’ll choose a winner within a week and post it out.


  • Betty warner
    March 3, 2016

    Hi – I’ve just done my first hack which I posted on Insta @bettystartstosew!

    2 reasons I’d love the book 1/ I’m new to this sewing business (never to old…) 2/ I’m hoarding my husband’s business shirts and need inspiration.

  • Carol Milton
    March 4, 2016

    When I saw this photo of you in a floral print standing next to a vintage car, then read about the Stylish Remakes book I realised I could show you my latest recycling project. Two years ago I was on holiday in the UK and whilst there could not resist looking in several op shops! In a small seaside village on the Hamphire/West Sussex borders I found a beautiful linen dress but it was in one size smaller than I take now, but because the colours and design were so beautiful, I had to buy it and then find a use for it. This week I did, and now I have an A line skirt which is lined and has self bias binding waist top. I shall use the scraps to make some fabric jewellery.
    If I were to win this book I am sure I could make many more projects out of my recycling drawer!
    Thank you for your blog, it is always interesting. Now, I really must explore Sibori after seeing your panels here!
    You can see my skirt @carolmilton on Instagram.

  • Jess
    March 14, 2016

    You’ve probably already chosen your winner, but I had to share an up cycle I did for my daughter last year. I took a men’s shirt and created a crazy cute romper with a Peter Pan collar, was just gorgeous( find it here: . Love reading your blog xxx

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Hi, I'm Susan. A designer living in Sydney, Australia.

Here I share tales of my sewing, my pattern collection and insights into what it's like to work as a professional fashion designer.

Other recurring themes include cat photos and an ever changing hair style.



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