I’m a sucker for trying to rescue or re-imagine something that is perhaps less than perfect.
I have bought things from charity shops that I know I’ll be able to repair or upcycle.
You might be asking “What does upcycle mean?”
Upcycling is a relatively new phrase. First used in the early 90’s. Its definition is to “reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.”
What’s not to love? Now you don’t need to be a Sewing bee finalist to upcycle. So much can be done with little time, money or resources. By simply changing the buttons on an item of clothing you can bring a new lease of life, spending minimal time and money.
The first of my favourite upcycles is a plain denim dress I bought in Barnardo’s charity shop. It had plain, cheap, white buttons which was making the dress look cheap….(well, It was only £6.99) I already had some rainbow flower buttons, which to be honest, had hung around in my craft kit for years. It was a really easy upcycle and now I know I will get lots of wear out of this dress. One tip is to make sure the buttons are a similar size and they fit the button holes.
The second of my favourite upcycles didn’t require any skill either… I got this beautiful pink animal print maxi dress in a Charity Shop challenge (I’ll explain a little more about those later) But sadly the beading around the neck had started to come away. I had a bag of black beads, all different sizes that my Mum had given to me. So I just started to hand stitch these on to the top of the neckline. I love how it turned out.
Number 3 of my favourite upcycles is a simple pair of denim cut-offs! So nice I made them twice. J A white pair and a denim stone wash pair. Anyone can make a pair of these. All you need is an old pair of jeans and some scissors…that’s it! I ordered a denim ragbag from Refashion UK for another project and these two pairs of jeans were in the pack. I just put them on, marked where I wanted the hem to be and then took them off and cut across the knees. The white pair I made were a bit more tricky as they didn’t fit…way too small! So I cut the length in half at the knees, then cut open the side seams. Then using some strips from the bottom of the jeans I sewed some extra width down each side. I also rolled these up and stitched in place.
Getting a little trickier in number 4 is my patchwork denim bag upcycle, made from old jeans. This project did take a few hours but I think it was worth it. I have a tote bag sewing pattern which I used. First I cut out equal sized squares and sewed these together on my sewing machine for the front and back of the bag. I then cut two long strip for the handles, made the lining from an 80’s curtain my Mum gave me (Thanks Mum!) If anyone’s interested I can share my tote bag sewing pattern measurements.
Lastly is my Charity shop skirt to summer co-ord upcycle. I think this has to be my favourite make. I had a picture in my head for months of what I wanted to make, I found the perfect Gingham skirt in The Childrens Society Charity shop…in my favourite colour. But this took me so long to decide to make because I was really scared of messing it up…so I put it off and put it off….until finally one day during lockdown I thought F-it! It took me a few hours over two days to complete but I am so thrilled with it! I wouldn’t say my dressmaking skills are that good…I’m still learning..But I’m proud of making this. It even has pockets!
So roll on next summer so I can wear it again. 🙂
Anyway hope you enjoyed finding out a bit about some of my favourite upcycles. I have lots of other ideas up my sleeve, it’s just trying to find time to get back to the sewing machine.
Would love to hear if you’ve upcycled anything or are planning to.