Monday, March 9, 2015

Learning to Upcycle: Part 1

My last post was about our values. This post is more about a way...

We've recently become interested in up-cycling here. Up-cycling is all about taking something, changing it, and reusing it to create something that is of higher value. We've begun manifesting this interest in clothing. We're just getting started, but we've finished several projects and are encouraged by their success. Here are some of our projects:

Beverly (Momma) found/made a pattern for a t-shirt skirt. We made a trip to one of our favorite re-sale stores and she picked 6 coordinating t-shirts to use for her skirt. She plans to wear it on hot summer days, as well as for an exercise skirt throughout all seasons. In the picture on the left you can see several of the t-shirts after cutting them apart and before cutting them to the newspaper pattern. The photo to the right is the finished product!  Unfortunately the sun was really bright the day I took these pictures so some of the colors are washed out. You can see most of the actual colors in the "before" picture. Two of the shirts that became panels were much smaller t-shirts and therefore shorter. These two shirts simply had an extra bit of length added to them so that the hem of the skirt was the same all the way around. The front and back panels are created this way. Materials: $10-$12

 Patience wanted to get in on the upcycling craze. (Yes, I think it's almost reached a craze... We've begun seeing everything with an expression of "how can I make this better?") Patience found an adorable denim-like skirt with embroidered flowers along the bottom. Why change that? The problem was that this skirt was 8 inches too short for her liking. She decided to upcycle. I think the skirt ended up beautifully. She used a men's pajama shirt for the 8" ruffle around the bottom hem. The color matched perfectly and the black and white stripe just blended beautifully with the black and white flowers. Materials: $4

The other girls are working on projects but neither of them have finished yet. Pictures WILL come when they do! The last project that was completed was one of mine. This project was probably the most complicated of all three completed thus far. I used two shirts - one women's and one men's - to create my own dress. I found several tutorials online, and kind of combined several to get the look I was going for with this particular combination. I started by cutting the sleeves and collar off of the men's shirt (the blue striped one). Then I turned to the women's shirt (which kind of fit like a bag) and started to fit it to myself. After I took in the sides quite a bit to give it more shape, I cut off the bottom of the shirt at my natural waist and sewed it to the men's shirt. Here is the new dress at this stage. The whole thing was rather too big at this point and I wanted a more fitted look, so I took the sides in more, added front darts, and a belt... I'm happy with the way the finished product turned out. 

I was happy to be able to save the single pocket on the men's shirt,

 as well as allow the buttons to be the front of the skirt. While I like the pleat in the back like the men's shirt originally had, I think I'll alter that part of the design next time... Materials: $4 plus the belt I already had for other outfits.

We're all pretty excited about this new way to use old clothing! We're adding value to things we find at thrift stores and consignment stores, furthering local economy, and patronizing stores that aid others, such as the poor and homeless in our community and the battered women's shelter. We're creating a mentality that reuses and recycles what we can, and adds ownership to our wardrobe by creating our own clothing. We're expressing our uniqueness by way of wardrobe design. We're honing fitting and sewing skills.... Even if this dress is the only thing I make (stay tuned for future articles that are in progress as I write), I'm glad I did it... I learned a lot just from this simple dress! There are MANY tutorials, photos, etc. online for inspiration.... I would suggest that you take a look, find something you like, and try it yourself!

Leave a comment - What do you think about up-cycling, and have you ever tried it?

1 comment:

Linda said...

The skirts are cute - but LOVE the dress AND it looks great on you. Amazingly talented family -