wardrobe refashion

31 May 2007

I, Ali, owner of machen/machen, pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of “new” manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 2 / 4 / 6 months. I pledge that I shall refashion, renovate, and recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that my thriftiness brings!

Signed: ALI


  1. No buying new! (handmade is excepted; So this allows for Etsy purchases etc!!) All clothing must be Recycled, Renovated, Preloved or Thrifted, or Handmade only for the term. Employment related and special needs clothing (ie sports, school), shoes and undies are excepted from the rules, although you are encouraged to have a go at making these.
  2. In extreme circumstances, maybe a special event, or the worlds greatest and most amazing never to be repeated sale that you simply can not pass up, you may use the Get out of Refashionista Jail Free card. You are able to use this card once during the 2 month part of your contract; ie 1 for 2 months, 2 for 4 months etc. Of course you need to fess up on the blog and display the button!
  3. You must post on the blog at least once a week to let the community know what you’ve been up to. This will not only give you brag points, but inspire and encorouge others! Of course you need to display the button on your blog and have copied the pledge in at least one post, and provide a link to your pledge under the button.
  4. You need to be honest and admit when you’ve fallen off the Refashionista Wagon! Go directly to Refashionista Jail, do not pass GO and do not collect $200! Apply for parole once there.

(or, it wouldn’t be a craft blog without patty* cakes)

It’s my birthday and by golly, I deserve CAKE! Little fresh patty cakes, sweet vanilla sponge with sharp lemon icing or passionfruit curd and cream.

Here they are fresh out of the oven. That’s the passionfruit curd in the bowl.


I couldn’t decide between icing or butterfly cakes, so I made both. Because it’s my birthday and it’s all about me today.
These ones have lemon icing and silver cachous.
pattycakes 1

These ones are butterfly cakes with cream and passionfruit curd.

I’d forgotten till today how much I loved patty cakes when I was a kid. At my first primary school, there was a fundraising event called Patty Cake Day; when everyone’s mothers made patty cakes, and the kids bought them for 20c each at morning recess. I liked it so much, that when I had bad dreams, my mum tricked me back to sleep by telling me to chant ‘patty-cake-day-patty-cake-day-patty-cake-day’ to myself.

*that’s a tiny salvo in the culture wars. In this country, they’re called patty cakes, NOT cupcakes.

Patty Cakes (based on my grandmother’s recipe). Makes 12.
120g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 150C

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix well.

Spoon into patty pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are nicely pale brown and a skewer comes out clean.

Icing (for 12)
Put half a cup of icing sugar in a small bowl. Mix in 1 tsp of lemon juice with a knife, and mix until completely combined. Add another 1 tsp of lemon juice, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition, and stopping when you have a stiff paste. I know this sounds fiddly, but you don’t want drizzly icing for cupcakes, and it can turn very liquid very quickly. You can add more sugar to stiffen it up, but this can be a catch-22 that leaves you with three cups of unusable icing.

Passionfruit curd (also from my grandmother)
Pulp from about 4 passionfruit (this will vary seasonally, but you want about 1/4 cup of pulp. You can sieve it to get the seeds out but I don’t usually bother).
2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 eggs
60g butter

Put everything in a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (I sit it on the steamer rack), and stir with a hand whisk until thickened (about 15 minutes) – it should coat the back of a spoon. Resist the temptation to turn the heat up and make the water boil – the curd will split and you will get egg lumps in passionfruit juice.


18 May 2007

I was a bridesmaid for a friend of mine recently. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have a craft blog then, because it would have contained nothing but diatribes about sewing bridesmaid outfits and the evils of satin.

I made two of these bags out of the dress leftovers, for me and my fellow bridesmaid to carry our lippy, safety pins, hip flasks etc. Satin doesn’t photograph well, but the beaded bit of the bag is a pale coffee colour; and the bottom part is pale gold.
bridesmaid bag

This photo I took to remind myself how the beads were laid out. I like the way that the planning process can be beautiful too.


18 May 2007

Hands up! Who’s got The Crafter’s Companion? Who strokes it gently, crooning ‘my precioussss, my preciousssss’? Ahem, perhaps that last bit’s just me. But it is a wonderful book, don’t you think?

This is the first thing I made from the book:
pear bag
[look familiar? You’ve probably been haunting my flickr account, where it’s been on show for some time]

The pear-print canvas is from superbuzzy; and the linen lining is left over from a skirt I made a few years ago. It lives under the coffee table, where it stops my knitting from causing unnecessary relationship tension taking over the lounge room.

bag lady

14 May 2007

The green bag revolution has been with us for a while now. The bags are roomy and strong, but they’re also… bright green. Shauna calls them ‘smug bags’ and she’s right. Why else would you carry something so ugly?

I bought a great book called ECO BAG, which has all sorts of stylish shopping bags to make yourself. It’s Japanese, but the diagrams are clear, and every step is nicely set out.

Here’s a smug bag I made for a friend.
shopping bag

It’s the same size and shape as a plastic bag, so it holds a lot of shopping.


But much prettier, don’t you think?