Archived Page

SJP Ortiz top DIY

Subscribe to email list

Upcycling project – SJP Top from Johanna Ortiz made from old man shirts

I saw an article with Sarah Jessica Parker in 2016  and immediately fell in love with the top she was wearing. I found out it was designed by Johanna Ortiz (I do like lots of her designs) but literally unaffordable for me. So I decided to make my own top from the one material I have lots of… Man Shirts

I finished the project about a year ago (September 2017) after working on it for the better of that year. It took a lot of adjustments and thinking about the “how to…” because my fabric supply was VERY LIMITED and I couldn’t loose even a few cm of it. I did have to use a second shirt for the lining and ended up using a bit for the bottom part as I did cut out a piece the wrong way and couldn’t fix that any other way…

I intend to make a sewing pattern for this top but for now I can only show you how I made this one.

First I cut off sleeves and collar. I had to make a new shoulder seam to pull up the arm hole,  take out some fabric from the middle of the back (which gave me more fabric to work with), put a bust dart  in and fold in the button placket (I do not cut it off right away,  as I wanted to safe the bottom part of the shirt as a whole to keep as much fabric as possible)

Then I used a sleeve pattern I had from another blouse to get a good armhole. I put it on the sleeve upside down after I already removed the cuff. I needed the shoulder part as the new cuff to give it the wide puffy look that Johanna Ortiz is using in a lot of her designs. The new cuff itself I created by piecing together the botton placket I cut off.

I put the sleeves back into the shirt and tried it on to see where I can cut off the bottom of the shirt.

The piece I cut out from the center back I used to create the waist band. The original top on SJP had the stripes vertical but I did not have enough fabric to recreate that. So vertical stripes have to do. 

Then I decided that I needed lining and used another man shirt in blue to start cutting the pieces for the peplum. I did not have a pattern for that, so I created one, tried the pinned peplum on the mannequin, adjusted and then copied the pieces onto the striped fabric.



That would have been perfect if I wasn’t so stupid to cut one of the pieces the wrong way… Now I did NOT have enough fabric anymore. I had to use some of the lining fabric for the peplum pieces. I did have the shirt pocket saved, which I then used to put on the back middle piece of the peplum.


I finally had all the pieces for the peplum to sew them all together and onto the top. I used some lining to hide all the seams and velcro to close the top in the front. I wanted to use a button or snap first but I thought velcro is more adjustable as there is no elasticity in the waistband.



And here is the result… Not completely perfect but quite wonderful.

There are a lot of details I put into the design that I didn’t all show here but I aim to make a better tutorial on the second version. If you need any more info, just get in touch.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


Dress from Man Shirts

Subscribe to email list


Turn TWO Man Shirts into a gorgeous Dress

I’m in this upcycle sewing group called “upcycle clothes collective” on facebook and the other week someone posted a dress made from 2 man shirts that I found interesting.

To be precise, the dress can be made from one man’s button up shirt but to add some contrast it’s better to use the sleeves from one shirt and the body from a different colour shirt – as you can see in my example.

The dress (or long shirt – depending on the length of the shirt in the end) that was posted was very simply made.  I wanted to add some more details and also give it a better finish.

Therefore, I will give you the instructions that Rhonda gave us on fb (Bulletpoints 1-8) and add what I did instead or in addition. I did take photos from my project, so I hope that helps with the instructions.

  1. Remove sleeves from both shirts, cutting them so that the seam remains with the sleeve (so you can leave it this way and don’t have to make a new hem) and the raw edge is on the body of the shirt. Remove pockets if there are any on the shirt. (You can use the pockets later again to put on the dress if you want to)

I gave my sleeves a new hem to fit the length of the dress because they looked too long for my taste – but that was later on

I did remove the collar and as I wanted the buttons in the back, I had to open the back a bit to get a front neckline. As the shirt I used was much longer on the side with the buttons than on the other side, I hade to change where the shoulder would be and mark the new shoulder… I did adjust this a second time, after I cut the neckline deeper.

  1. Lay the shirt you are using for the body flat and measure from the collar seam straight across the folded top edge, using your first measurement (A). Mark a straight line from that point to the bottom hem. Rhonda put the end of her line very close to the side seam to give more fullness, but you can adjust to your preference. Cut both sides.


In my case, I opened up the lower part of the side seam so I would keep the nice curved edge at the bottom and then cut the rest open. This way I could lay the whole dress (front and back) flat onto my table. I used no shoulder measurements, I did use a dress pattern that I made to my fit about 20 years ago, when I started to teach myself sewing. You can also mark the shoulder when trying it on yourself or on your dressmaker mannequin. As I’m pregnant at the moment, I can’t really take accurate measurements from my body…

I also marked where the shoulder seam would normally be. Further I marked on the front and back where my waistline would be (if I didn’t have such a big belly) to help me later with pleads.

I gave the front part of the dress (which is the part without buttons) a bust dart that I also had to adjust again, as my breasts are much bigger at the moment and will be for as long as I will be breastfeeding. As I intend to use this dress during nursing, I had to make it fit the larger bust.


  1. With the sleeves of the contrast shirt, cut the seam up to and through the cuff. Measuring from the edge closest to the buttons, use your (C) measurement to trim the cuff band to that width. You can trim off the excess sleeve either straight down or preserving the angle of the sleeve. Cutting it out at an angle gives more fullness.


I didn’t trim the sleeve just yet, as I wanted to adjust the length to fit the dress.


  1. With the pieces you trimmed from the sleeves, cut a 1″ wide piece that is 2x the (B) measurement, plus 2″. You may have to piece it to get a strip long enough but that’s fine. Fold in half lengthwise and press.


I made a bias tape with other leftovers from the shirt (see tutorial on how to make Bias Tape).


  1. From the fold at the top of the shoulder, measure down using your (B) measurement. Mark this point on the front and back of the shirt on both sides.


Did the same here. Then I pinned the sleeve in, marked where they should end and then trimmed and hemmed them. To get a really nice round hem on the bottom, pin and iron the edge where the hem should end first, then cut, so only 8-10mm are left, fold in again, pin and iron, then sew along the edge.


Then I used this bias tape around the neckline and around the shoulder before I put the sleeves in on the sides. (Tutorial on how to make a bias binding or bias tape)


  1. Place the top of the cuff at this mark front and back on the body of the shirt and pin. Do this on both sides. Stitch from top of cuff down to hemline on both sides. Test for fit and adjust at this point.


  1. With the binding strip you made, overlap the end of it 1/2″ or so over the seam where the cuff is attached. Stitch it around the armhole until you reach the opposite side of the cuff, overlap a bit again and trim the end.

I did that between 5./6. – before I put the sleeve in.


  1. Beginning at the hem, overlock or zigzag up the side seam, around the armhole and back down the side seam. Turn the seam allowance towards the body of the shirt and topstitch. DONE

For a better fit I gave my dress some pleads in the back and put a quilting seam over them in waist hight. I will probably put some darts or pleads in the front as well but as I’m heavily pregnant at the moment, that will have to wait until I fit into it again. For now the front has to be wide to accompany my belly.

As the sleeves I used where made for cufflinks and therefore did not have any buttons, I made a “button cufflink as shown in the picture.


I really hope I can use the dress during nursing by opening the sleeves on the side. I will have to wait and see if it works though. As soon as I know this works as a nursing dress, I will definitely make another one. I could also use the button row in the front, then I have breast feeding access for sure 😉

This mix of instructions might be a bit confusing. I hope the pictures help but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina






Bag from Vinyl Floor


Subscribe to email list

Tutorial for a handbag or Storage Box from upcycled vinyl flooring

Do you have any left-over vinyl flooring after redoing your floors? Or maybe you are as lucky as me and get a bunch of flooring samples from a local trader? Here is what you can do with it.

I came up with this bag after I received hundreds of samples and wanted to find something to do with them. On pinterest there was nothing I was even slightly interested in making. Furthermore, I wanted it to be something useful but easy to make so I could make it with kids at the local craft sessions.

So the first idea was a handbag.

What you need for the bag:

  • vinyl flooring piece about 39cm (15 1/2 inch) square
  • handbag: 3.6 m (146 inch) long ribbon 15-18 mm (about 3/4 inch) wide    OR       storage box (no handle): 1.6 to 2.4 m (64 – 95 inch) long ribbon depending on width. 4x 40cm for 7mm width ribbon, 4x60cm for 15-18mm width.
  • hot glue gun, measuring tape and long ruler, scissors or craft cutter
  • revolving leather punch (you get them online from about £4)
  • 1 pair of CAM Snaps & Pliers (not necessary if you don’t have them)
  1. The first step is to make a  straight line from one corner to the opposite corner. This is the guide line for measurements.
  2. Measure (on the first line) 13cm in from each corner and make perpendicular line (90 degree angle to the first one)
  3. Make 2 parallel lines 5.5cm to each side of the first drawn line
  4. That gives you 4 triangles that have to be cut out


Below you can see my first trial run, which was not as neat with the drawings.

5. Make biggest possible holes with the leather punch that 5mm from the edge and are 1cm apart. (which makes it about 1.5cm from middle to middle of the hole). To get the holes on the same spot of the other side of the triangle, just fold both sides together and mark the middle with a pen.

6. Cut off the big corner for a storage box or cut out the handle – see on template

7. you need to cut 6 pieces of ribbon about 60cm long: 4 for the side seams and 2 for the handles

8. to get the ribbon through the holes, either use a ribbon needle or put sellotape tight around the end and push a pin through.

9. Start at the top of the bag at each side seam and go with the ribbon through both holes. Leave about 15cm standing out so you can make a bow afterwards.  when you are at the bottom, go through the holes always from the opposite side until you are back up.

If you make a storage box, you are done now. For a handbag you still need to cover the handle with ribbons.

Therefore, use the hot glue on the inside of the bag only. Always squeeze a bit on and wrap the ribbon around it, always overlapping the last layer a bit.

I did use Cam Snaps to be able to close the bag, this is not necessary if you don’t have them. But in my opinion it is a very good investment if you do a lot of crafts and sewing. I have them in all kinds of colours and use them for a lot of my projects. You can get over 300 Cam Snaps with the pliers for under £20 on the internet.

Hope you liked this tutorial and I explained every step good enough. I will do a free workshop on this bag tomorrow at an Upcycling event and my daughter’s school wants to try it too.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

Clutch Bag from Carpet

Subscribe to email list

Easy Upcycle Project

How to turn a carpet sample into an interesting handbag

In this case a Clutch

I was lucky enough to find someone giving away hundreds of carpet and vinyl floor samples. I right away jumped on the opportunity, giving away most of the samples to local schools and other places that organize children’s craft sessions like Forge Urban Revival in Oakengates, Telford.  I help out with the craft session sometimes and for a year I even cooked there once a week to help with their “soup social” which is every Tuesday 12:00-12:30pm.

As I said, I got all those samples which made me think about new ideas to use them. One idea we came up with was this!

All you need is

  • carpet sample 45-50cm x 22-30cm (17-20 inch x 8.5-12 inch)
  • yarn
  • strong sewing needle with a big hole (depending on used yarn)
  • button
  • 14cm (5.5inch) thin elastic band

The elastic band I didn’t have to buy, I just keep all those elastics that hold the tags on shoes or clothing. If you want to add some colour you can also use an elastic hair band.

My carpet sample had finished edges, so it can’t fray. If you use leftover carpet pieces or if the sample doesn’t have a finished edge, then I would recommend putting a wide bias tape all around it or doing a very tight zigzag stitch. However, you would need a sewing machine for this. You could also do a tight blanket stitch (as shown above).

I didn’t have to do any of this (lucky me!!), just bend the side without the hole (at about 2/5 of the length) (length 45cm/5= 9cm   I bent at 9cmx2= 18cm) and start sewing the side together with the blanket stitch.

Then bend the lid down (which should be 1/5 of the length – here 9cm), sew on the button underneath the lid. Make a knot into the elastic band and check if it’s not too long before you sew this one on. I used a regular black thread and small sewing needle for this. You can also sew the elastic on the outside with the coloured yarn if your sample doesn’t have a hole like mine.

My little daughter already snatched this bag from me but I don’t mind. Next time I try to find a piece a bit wider so I can use it as a tablet bag. Unfortunately, my iPad Mini is a bit to long for this bag. I also want to try to put straps on one of these bags, so I can hang it around my shoulders. But this will be a different blog post.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina


Mother’s Day – babybel® Rose Candle

Subscribe to email list

DIY Rose Candle – Upcycling project 
babybel before after

Does your child just LOVE babybel cheese just like mine does? I don’t really understand why as my little one has never even seen the advert for it. But wait a minute… I think to recall when it all started.

My little one loved all cheeses! Yes, even Blue Cheese. But then my mother-in-law put a spoke into my wheel by buying babybel cheese and offering it to my innocent 3-year-old daughter.

You might know the excitement about that little red cheese: It starts with wide eyes – you would think they have a Kinder Surprise in their hands but no, still just cheese… then there is fumbling with the red paper until there is an ear numbing shreek “Muuuuuummy, Muuuuuummy! I can’t open it!” So you take that little cheese, open the paper and start opening the wax bit when you are suddenly startled by another shreek “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

“What is it, sweety? You want me to open the cheese, right?” “NOOO MUMMY, I want to open it.”

So you just give the cheese back and watch your little ones throw the wax pieces all around them onto the floor as they are trying to free that little white cheese. All good as long as you collect those pieces before anyone stamps them into the floor.

In the meantime we have tried even all the other babybel colours

  • purple looks nice, doesn’t quite taste the same
  • blue was a disappointment as only the wrapping is blue, the wax is still red and the cheese is much softer than the original

but the point is, my little one still sticks to the opinion that babybel cheese is HER cheese, all the other ones are for the BIG KIDS like mummy and daddy.


I was fine with it while she still ate other cheese but now with her demanding babybel only I wondered what I could do with all the extra rubbish resulting from the babybel cheese. I started collecting the wax cover and last night I made a rose candle out of some of the pieces. It was very easy to do and my little one claimed it now as her candle as the wax came from HER babybel cheese.

babybel candle done

I guess I will make more of those in the next months but I thought it would also be a nice idea to make for Mother’s Day as it is easy to do and the Dads can’t do much wrong here.

need step1

You need:

Tea candle

Glas for tea candle

Wax of 3 babybel

Press the wax together so you get semicircles, intertwine and curle them like in the picture. Just make sure there stays a little whole in the middle for wick. Use all 6 pieces and then put them in the glas above the tea candle. DONE.babybel step3

Light it with a matchstick, not a lighter to not melt the rose.



For more ideas on babybel cheese visit my pinterest:

pinterest babybel ideas tinapoelzl

I did find a lovely blog “Housing a Forest” that did some crafts with babybel wax as well:

Wax Boat

wax boat babybel
And those face carvings I found here.face carving babybel

More Ideas how to use cheese wax:
Reuse Cheese Wax

Wax sculptures

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina

Light Bulb Angel

Subscribe to email list

Upcycling Project – What to do with old Halogen Light Bulbs

I was already thinking about writing a blog for a long time but I just decided that 2016 is the perfect year to start this project.

The main goal of this blog is to prevent trash/garbage. There are so many things that we just throw away because they don’t fulfill their purpose anymore. But that doesn’t mean that those things can’t be used in a different way and get back a meaning.

So… the other day we had to exchange 4 light bulbs at once – which we replaced by LED ones to save energy. I put them on our dining table and my 3-year-old daughter started to twirl them which looked pretty nice because of the facets of their body. That’s when I thought, they might make a nice christmas decoration that I can make with my daughter. upcycling light bulb

The next day we got a sheet of gold paper, googly eyes, golden christmas balls – which we would have needed anyway – and everything else we could find around the house. What you can’t see on the picture: scissors, hot glue gun and a sharpie.

bulb angel

As you can see we created bulb angels – there might be prettier angels but a 3-year-old doesn’t really mind.

You can subscribe to my email list, so you always know when a new tutorial is online.

But you also reach me on facebook where I created a group for my Refashion and Upcycling projects: tinapoelzlRefashion

All the Best, Tina