Festival/Utility Belt


Ever seen a cool looking festival/utility belts, you easily make your own with an old pair of trousers and scraps of fabric. It can be used at festivals but staying on the theme of Upcycled Baby items you can keep your own bits and pieces in it when you’re trying to juggle baby and paraphanalia! I made this festival/utility belt up as I went along, but you can let your imagination run wild for pockets and trims.


I started with a pair of cords, a fake leather jacket, (both off bargain rail in charity shop) and some vintage fabric given to me by my Mum..



I wanted the belt to be adustable, size 10 to 14 (UK measurement) so I cut off the trouser legs (leg length was 30″), turned one leg inside out then put one leg inside the other right sides together.

1Leg Inside Other

Cut along the top to straighten, then pin and stitch.


Turn right side out and you’ll be left with a long tube.

LongTube after being sewn together

The next thing to do is shape the bottom edge, I used an existing festival belt for this,.Turn the tube inside out and draw the shape with tailor chalk then cut it out.

Cut Shape


Stitch along 2 long sides and 1 short side, if you don’t use an overlocked seam trim (use pinking shears if you have them). Turn right side out and give it a press.

Sewn and turned right sides out

This is the basic belt so now it’s time to think about pockets. The jacket already had zips in the cuffs so I utilised 1 cuff by cutting it off and sewing up the 2 sides leaving the zip in place.

Cuff Pocket

For the next pocket I used the vintage fabric. I wanted a mobile phone to fit in it so took measurements from that but doubled the fabric for extra strength. Remember to leave a bit of room to allow for the thickness of the phone.

MoBile Phone pocket measurement

Keeping the folded edge for the top of the pocket stitch 3 sides and trim seams. I used the neck fastener from the jacket for the fastener on this pocket, you can use your imagination here or Velco (hook and loop fastener) works well.

Phone-Pocket laid in place with fastener

This gives you some ideas for making pockets. Depending on what you want to carry you can make pockets to suit with any scraps you have. It’s also useful to make a discreet pocket on the inside for carrying money/credit cards. I used some of the trouser fabric that was left, overlocked the edges then folded the piece so there was a flap and stitched it to the back of the belt. A bit of Velcro under the flap to fasten so there’s nothing to rub against the skin works well.



Position the pockets onto the belt then stitch them on. I had to hand sew the “cuff” pocket as the seam was too thick for the sewing machine. Sew on any fasteningsDepending on what you used or your taste a little bit of trimming can be added. I had some in my stash (picked up from a sale in Hobbycraft) which I thought was a good match.

trimming Finished

TIP: Keep your eye on the bargain bins in craft shops, there’s quite often end pieces of trimming from the large “by the metre” rolls

Finally it’s time to get the press studs on. To make it adustable use 6 and sew them on at an angle. It’s useful to have a model here to position the studs! I sitched mine on but you can use the snap fastener rivet type.

Stud fasteners sewn on


And that’s it, lots of scope to use your artisticness (is that a word?)! This is my grandaughter with the belt on (excuse the photobombing Rosie dog!).

Festival/handy belt on Eve

Festival/utility belt on Eve 2

Festival/Utility belt on Eve photo bombed by dog





Top Stitching with a Sewing Machine


With any upcyling you want totop stitching with a sewing machine add those wee extra touches that finish the garment off. I’m a great fan of top stitching with a sewing machine, yes it take a little more thread and time but worth in the end, it just gives that extra bit of finish to your upcycled project


What is Top Stitching?


If you’ve never heard of topCross dress finished back with matching pants stitching it’s a sewing technique that can be used in 2 ways. You can use it round edges such as necklines and hems with a straight stitch. It’ll also help facings to stay in place and gives a nice crisp edge like the dresses here and a pretty summer outfit made a few weeks ago.



Ways to use Top Stitching

If you make a dress with TopStitch2plain fabric you can top stitch it with different coloured thread, it makes a very effective embellishment.











BookmarkThe other way is to use it is as a decorative stitching which shows and is very effective using fancy thread or with a decorative stitch. This is the first thing I made when trying out the fancy stitches on my vintage Bernina sewing machine (more about that later). The bookmark was very easy to make with some scrap fabric left from a project (more upcycling!) and a great wee gift to pop in someone’s stocking. You can see how I made the bookmark here.


Tip: If your machine doesn’t do fancy stitches use different coloured thread and zig zag to create nice effects.

If you can sew a neat hand stitch then this is another way to get that nice crisp finish. You would use the back stitch listed in the basic sewing stitches article here.


Top stitching with a sewing machine is one of the quickest and most effective ways of finishing off your garments.





Upcycled Baby Outfit


A few weeks ago I picked up some upcycled baby outfitbedding at a charity shop, bargain at £1.99, loads of fabric in there with very little unpicking to do. I’ll be able to get more than 1 outfit out of the fabric depending on what I make. I thought I could make an upcycled baby outfit for the summer with this bedding.

Tip: Keep your eyes open for bargain rails in charity shops. They often have garments you would never wear but nice re-usable fabric


Which Pattern

I used Burda kids pattern 9437 for the trousers and suntop and McCalls M6575 for the hat, not beginners patterns but easy to do. My new overlocker sewing machine (review here) makes things much simpler and neater! The Burda patterns were on half price sale so another bargain there! The Mcalls pattern had so many different options for both boys and girls. The Burda pattern could be adapted quite easily as it’s a simple shape.

51o96uFzX7L._SY300_ 9437_KSBBUR9437

The BurdaStyle Website is a great resource for sewers from beginners to advanced and they have a special offer on seminars at the moment, 30% off with the code NSM30, BARGAIN!     

Making the Outfit                                      

The whole outfit took about 8hrs total over a few days, once I get used to my new Brother overlocker sewing machine (did I mention I have a new overlocker!?) this will speed up. The pattern was fairly easy to follow but if you’re just starting to use patterns check out my guide on how to read patterns.

I did the 18mths size but I’ve noticed the Burda patterns make up quite large so I reckon it’s more likely to fit a 2 yr old. The hat was quite fiddly to make, sewing the hat rim to the crown was trickier than I thought. I did managed to achieve it without gettting any puckers though. There was nothing in the instructions about the best way to do this so I Googled for tips. I think I’ll baste and sew next time, rather than go straight from pinning to sewing.

I like the way the dress ties at the top, makes it a great dress for on the beach. I don’t have a toddler to model the outfit yet so the photos don’t do it justice, it really is quite pretty!

So there it is, how to make an upcycled baby outfit using charity shop bedding, best of all it only cost pennies to make!

Dress PurpleCheck