Paganoonoo is a fashion design house founded by Michelle Paganini, dedicated to creating refashioned / upcycled fashion designs and specializing in sewing patterns. This blog shares our interests in upcycling and related arts and inspiration.
My name is Michelle Paganini & Paganoonoo is my company. I'm on a mission have all sewers on the planet try upcycling & have a successful experience.
What, Michelle, you may say, is upcycling and what does it have to do with sewing?
Upcycling is one of the ways we can be kind to the earth. It is an excellent way to use the resources that we have already developed and leverage them for re-use:
Upcycle (up-si-kel): To improve existing goods (such as clothing) through the use of labor, materials, and creativity.In upcycle sewing, pre-owned clothing is used for raw materials rather than flat fold fabric. The fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluting industry on the planet. By re-using existing clothing, rather than throwing it away, we meet that goal of best using existing resources.
Here are my top 10 reasons all sewers should include upcycling in their toolbox:
10 - When you start with existing clothing (v.s. flat fold cloth), the characteristics of the fabric is readily apparent - the amount it wrinkles, pills, snags, runs, creases, etc. Existing garments are already pre-cleaned, so there should be no surprise shrinkage.
9 - The quality of a garment's fabric and construction can be quite good, men's shirts are a terrific example.
8 - It is cheap! Using second hand clothing is far less expensive than using flat fold cloth. Source from local thrift stores, e-bay, garage/yard sales, flea markets, second hand clothing exchanges, etc. Use clothing you already have and don't wear, but love, to make something useable.
7 - Sewing mistakes with thrifted clothes? You haven't lost much money. Consider it a learning experience. You can afford to experiment.
6 - Often times simple changes transform a garment into something desirable. New buttons, added pockets, embellishment with fabric paint or stamping, raise or lower a hem, etc.
5 - The tough bits are often already sewn for you (like with dress shirts - collars, collar stands, plackets, buttonholes) making the sewing easier.
4 - You've lost a loved one and want to make something out of their clothing, for you or other family members. It will be like getting a hug from them every time you wear it.
3 - You are curvy and/or a baby boomer and it is hard to find clothes that fit your body the way you would like - there is no room for hips, bellies, and booties! Or you are petite or tall and can't find a good fit.
2 - Bragging rights. You will have something no one else has, a unique creation. When people compliment you, it is a chance to spread the word about upcycling.
1 - Fashion is the second largest polluting industry on the planet. The average American throws away (not donates) 68lbs of textiles annually. Repurposing our existing clothes makes good environmental sense. We, as sewers, have magical skills we can put to good use to help green fashion.
Now that you are excited about upcycle sewing... please know that I've developed upcycling instructions that will help ensure that your upcycle sewing experience is successful....
Top 10 reasons to use Paganoonoo instructions to make your upcycle sewing simpler:
10 - There is no need to print pattern pieces, Paganoonoo upcycling is accomplished through deconstruction and reconstruction. The illustrated instructions are on standard 8.5" by 11" printer paper.
9 - Adjusting for height (short or tall) is easily done with the Paganoonoo Ashlee, Michelle, Noel, Peggy, and Rebeccadesigns, while still using the existing garment hems. All of these design feature an empire waist.
8 - Paganoonoo garments are specifically designed to be flattering for curvy ladies and baby boomers.They feature high/low hems and are super complimentary, gliding over the body. Paganoonoo has got you covered!
7 - Easier sewing: Most of Paganoonoo's designs are based on dress shirts. The quality of fabric and construction in men's shirts is generally quite good. The tough bits are already sewn for you (like collars, collar stands, plackets, buttonholes).
6 - With Paganoonoo designs you get a custom fit by starting with a garment that fits your bust and shoulders the way you like. Everything under the armhole is a loose fit so there is room for hips, bellies, and booties.
5 - Serious bragging rights! You will have something no one else has, a unique creation, noticeably different than retail clothing. Compliments = chance to spread the word about upcycling.
4 - Our garments are timeless classics with an arty twist. They can easily be upgraded into the art-to-wear realm through artful color blocking, addition of machine embroidery, use of reverse applique, use of existing features like button plackets for trim, etc.
3 - Abundant illustrations. Upcycle sewing is the process of garment deconstruction and reconstruction. Our illustrations capture what the garments look like as they are being deconstructed and reconstructed.
2 - Detailed instructions. Paganoonoo instructions work through the processes step by step and in alignment with the illustrations. Techniques are explained, pitfalls are outlined, recommendations are made, choices are outlined, etc.
1 - Upcycle sewing is a whole new ball game. Wouldn't you like a guided tour? You may be able to recreate Paganoonoo's designs, but using our instructions will save you boatloads of time and aggravation. We have set you up for success.
Start upcycle sewing today!!!
Paganoonoo patterns are available in our Etsy Store. Examples of some of our designs:
Hello, I'm Michelle Paganini, upcycle guru and owner of Paganoonoo. I'm passionate about reusing existing fashion to create new fashions, a.k.a upcycling.
Upcycle means adding value to existing goods (like clothing) through the application of imagination, materials and labor. Upcycle sewing means starting with existing clothing, not flat fold fabric.
I'm committed to successful upcycling being accessible to home sewers and have developed a line of upcycling instructions to serve that purpose. The Paganooonoo motto is "Upcycing Sewing Made Simple". Details at www.paganoonoo.com.
Disassembly and reassembly is a common method of upcycling. Another method I'm exploring more and more is surface design / embellishment, which is useful when a garment is okay, but not exciting enough to inspire wearing it very often.
Combining theses two methods, 1) disassembly & reassembly + 2) surface design, starts to create something more in the "art-to-wear" realm rather than just "upcycled."
In this YouTube video, courtesy of It's Sew Easy TV - show 1312, I demonstrate how to use free-form reverse applique to embellish an upcycled dress shirt.
In this case the motif is a circle. Orange and blue are on opposite sides of the color wheel so the combination is exciting.
The varying size of the stripes adds additional interest.
Two layers of fabric have been placed on the inside of the garment and under-stitched with free form circles. A layer of light interfacing has been fused to the bottom layer (prior to stitching).
The shirt material has been trimmed away, as well as part of the second layer. A lip of fabric was left in both cases. The edges are unfinished. In the photo those raw edges are being clipped a tiny bit to help reduce fraying as the garment is laundered.
It is helpful to practice the technique on scrap fabric before using it on a favorite garment. Here is a practice strip I made to try various methods:
Happy upcycling! To visit the Paganoonoo store click here.
I'm thrilled to announce that the Paganoonoo Boro-Style Jean Jacket upcycling instructions are now for sale!
This jacket was made in 2014 (original post) and proved to be extremely popular. I've shared about it and made a few more versions, featured on the blog here, here, here and here.
Now you can make your own version following Paganoonoo upcycling instructions!
The foundation is a kimono style waffle robe. The jacket is built on top of the robe with light quilting holding the jean material to the robe.
Sizing is a function of the robe size - anyone that kind find or make a robe that fits their torso the way they like can successfully fit this garment. In addition to the robe, materials needed are a pile of old jeans, preferable in various shades and a plain leather belt with buckle.
The instructions walk you through:
Paganoonoo sets you up for success with clear instructions and abundant illustrations.
While I was in Solon Ohio shooting episodes of It's Sew Easy (airing summer 2018) I had the pleasure of meeting Ellen Miller.
She had copies of her book on Creating Couture Embellishment, and we were all in awe of the quality of the technical information and examples/illustrations.
I was already interested in incorporating more embellishment in my upcycling and am super excited to try these techniques. I see embellishments as a terrific way to upcycle, with or without using deconstruction and reconstruction.
I believe Ellen's book will prove to be THE gold standard of couture embellishment techniques for decades to come. Chapters cover fabric-manipulation techniques of pleating, quilting, tucking, ruffling, shirring, and smocking, as well as the fabrication and application of feathers, beading, embroidery, flowers, decorative ribbons and bows, bias bindings and piping, fringe, braids, and passementerie. The heirloom quality created by the insertion or application of lace is also explored.
Featuring a visual index of every embellishment in the book that is designed to offer inspiration as well as showcasing the myriad of choice, Creating Couture Embellishment provides a comprehensive sourcebook of ideas for the student, professional, and home sewer alike.
I bought a copy for myself and am thrilled with the opportunity study each page.
Would you like your own copy? Ellen was generous enough to offer a copy as a giveaway for Paganoonoo readers.
On May 1, 2018 I will choose the lucky winner.
Enter now by sending a quick note about why you would like to win a copy of this book. Send it to email@example.com or make a comment on this post.
If you are not familiar with Paganoonoo it is a design house specializing in written instructions for upcycling existing clothing. "Upcycle Sewing Made Easy" is our motto. Find out more at www.paganoonoo.com
Upcycling = Adding value to existing goods (like fashion) through the use of labor, materials and creativity. (c) Paganoonoo
Sharan in her newly upcycled Paganoonoo "Sandy" Blouse. This design is made with three dress shirts, disassembled and reassembled into a new design following Paganoonoo instructions.
I met Sharan at the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup Washington. She was immediately noticeable because of her great sense of style.
I was thrilled when she selected the Paganoonoo "Sandy" blouse instructions and then sent photos of her first Paganoonoo upcycle.
Sharan did a beautiful job with fit, construction and color selection.
She followed the instructions to create a high / low hemline and a cuff on 3/4 sleeves.
The back follows the instructions exactly. Note the upside down sleeve at the hem. Here Sharan stayed with the 3 circles in varying sizes motif, but modified the arrangement. I quite like it! Close ups of the circle appliques:
The key to fitting this blouse is to start with a dress shirt that fits your upper body - any sized person who can find a dress shirt that fits their shoulder, arms and bust they way they like can successfully fit this pattern.
Extra room is added in the hip area so if that area is a bit tight on the base shirt it is okay.
Make your own upcycled Sandy Blouse today! Paganoonoo upcycling instructions are available on Etsy
This version of an upcycled Patti blouse features something I plan to explore more this year, surface design embellishments.
The starting shirts are all gray and fairly sedate but the blouse gets a bit of a pop from silver stamped rectangles along the center front, dark paint on the back waistband, and dark trim on the lower left back. Subtle and a bit hard to see, the buttons have also been adorned with seed beads.
The rectangles were sewn on as is, with their raw edges pinked.
The stripes are felled seams cut from other dress shirts
The embellishments make this blouse special & noticeable in a subtle and understated way.
Hello, I'm Michelle Paganini, owner of Paganoonoo, an upcycle fashion designer and patternmaker.If you don't already know what upcycling is here is my definition:
Upcycle (up-si-kel) To improve existing goods (such as clothing) through the use of labor, materials, and creativity.
Upcycle sewing is using existing garments to build new fashions, instead of buying flat fold cloth. One of the things I love about upcycle sewing is the ability to take advantage of already existing features, like hems, so that no new hem needs to be created.
One of the problems with using existing hems is that they are bulky and difficult to sew. There is a tool called a clearance plate (I call mine a thick seam aid, a.k.a "Hump Jumper") that solves this problem.
Click here for my demonstration of how to use one. The one in the demo came with my Viking machine. There is a commercial version called a "Hump Jumper" that does the same thing.
This demo is my first home produced video so it will likely make you laugh. It was filmed by my good friend Sandy Glickfield (who also came up with the name Paganoonoo.)
My goal is to set up a home video studio and produce professional quality video classes and open an online school! Stay tuned.
If you have been waiting for Paganoonoo workshops registration is open for classes on Wednesday February 28th at the Puyallup, Washington Sewing and Stitchery Expo.
Bring your favorite too-tight-at-the-hip t-shirt and walk away with an awesome blouse with hip and belly room and the ability to transform a whole bunch more! You will get the Paganoonoo "Ellie" pattern which we will be following in class.
If you’d like to learn about mixed media embellishment techniques-
sign up for the pocket class.
We will use fabric paints, stamps, fabric pens, beads and more, building up layers of interest.
Use these techniques to spice up your wardrobe and create wearable works of art!
Leave with a stunning sample pocket.
Register on the website, click the "Tickets" button. Once you have set up a profile, in the next step you can select classes by instructor, look for Michelle Paganini
If you won’t be there on Wednesday look for me on the free stage Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun and in our booth!
One of my It's Sew Easy tips is airing on the It’s Sew Easy websitestarting at noon on Friday, January 5, 2018 through Friday January 12, 2018. The subject is repurposing notions from garments. Hint - often better quality and less expensive than the fabric store!
Full episode description: 1303 – On the Go
Upcycle designer Michelle Paganini has a tip for re-purposing notions and trims from resale garments. Embroidery expert Eileen Roche embroiders colorful and cool watchbands to add style to any outfit. Using versatile hardware, Carolina Moore creates the ultimate travel bag with roomy pockets for all your take-alongs.
More It's sew Easy info -
I will going to Solon Ohio in the beginning of February to shoot more episodes for 2018 viewing!
I ran across Emajane's work on Pinterest and love it. Her work is very different from mine, more whimsical (as one might guess from her name.) I also checked out her work on Etsy and am super impressed. I asked her to write a guest blog post and share her work and she said yes!
Emajane Pixie Rainbow:
My creative journey began as a small child when I was taught in my early years to sew. Continuing to teach myself and develop my creative skills, I believe that there are some paths that become our life purpose.
I design and create Whimsical Eco Friendly Wearable and Useable Art.
All my designs are created and made by myself. I am a self taught artist / designer, and I create all my own patterns for these garments, bags and accessories.
I first became inspired to customise and upcycle my own clothing during my teenage years, back in the 1980's... I found this to be a perfect way in which I could combine my love for creating and experimenting with my own personal self expression. I was asked many times where I bought my clothes... but at this point in my life I didn't know that one day I would be creating a business and making clothes for others...!!
When I became a mum I proceeded to make clothing for my children, I found such an importance in reusing what we already had. During my early adult life I found myself making dance costumes for the stage and theatre, only to move back into designing clothes again... which I have found to be my true passion.
As I got older I used to ask myself why adult clothing couldn't be as playful as children's...?! I wanted to create designs in which we can all express our playful, fun and quirky personalities no matter what age we are.
The clothing, bags and accessories are all made from preloved garments - knitwear, cashmere, wool, denim jeans, corduroy, tweed, tartans, checks and any other wonderful materials that I might find. I adore bringing a new life to unwanted items, using the process of recycling and upcycling.
There are an enormous amount of wonderful preloved clothing that I discover.
I source this clothing from Recycled Clothing Banks, Thrift Stores, Charity Shops and sometimes I receive pieces from friends. The appliqué fabric art designs I create are from using the left over scraps pieces from my clothing creations, so nothing goes to waste.
These designs are all made with the importance of longevity implemented into each item, ensuring that they are made to last. Each creation that I make is a unique one of a kind piece of art, both wearable and useable. I make each design in a playful and whimsical style... including an element of quirkiness with a unique twist, which I feel gives each item a personality of it's own... whilst still ensuring that are comfortable and practical to wear and use.
The Inspirations for my designs come from the beautiful surrounding landscapes where I live, nature, my love of folk art and folklore, whimsical themes and anything else that is a little bit different...Oh and of course " Colours '' with the limitless choices and endless combinations, each colour when put together sets the theme for each design.
Feeling very blessed to be living with my Husband in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales in the United Kingdom. A beautiful part of the UK, where I have been selling my clothing locally for sometime. I began receiving many requests to ask if I would sell online and an Etsy Shop seemed the perfect way to offer the opportunity for everyone to purchase my creations.
When we create with LoVe... we bring JoY into the World...