April 24, 2012

Sewing Mini-Class: Upcycle!

     Hello my blogland beauties! I've missed you. For the record, I'm blaming my decrease in blogging frequency on three factors:
1. Spring. Sunshine, fresh air and all that rot. I find it rather irresistible.

2. Instagram. You know I totally heart Instagram, but posting to IG is, really, like mini-blogging. It temporarily fills my need and then I feel justified in further procrastinating my planned full-size blog posts.Not fair. Particularly to you non-insta-peeps out there. I'm sorry. :-( 
 3. Life. Oh, what irony it is that that which I most love to write about--my simple, crazy, beautiful, family life--is that which also keeps me from writing more often. Well, I suppose that's life (ha! see what I did there? Life...that's life...Oh, the cleverness of me.)

     Aaand...moving on. Part of my life, a big part of my life, is active participation in the women's charitable service organization--the Relief Society--of our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The aims and purposes of the Relief Society are to "increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help those in need." As part of the goal to strengthen families and homes, our monthly meetings often focus on practical skills that families can use to run resourceful, economical, happy homes. And last week, at one of those very meetings, I had the opportunity, alongside my lovely and talented friend Liesel, to teach a mini-class on upcycling/ repurposing old clothing to extend the life of your family's wardrobe. As this is something I am passionate about  and love to do, preparing for this class was a lot of fun for me. And, like with the class on finding good literature for children, I thought I'd give a little recap here.

     But first, some pretty pictures! These are a few of the sewing projects that have occupied me of late...and they all fit perfectly into the upcycle theme.

A hole-in-the-knee, too-short pair of jeans belonging to Mr. Riley got patched with a fun, vintage knit and cuffed (albeit unevenly in this shot) to look like clam-diggers: too short on purpose. 
Huh? Huh? See that wardrobe-stretching awesomeness?

Paired with an appliqued-in-the-same-vintage-knit-to-cover-the-stain tee-shirt, and that's one cute warm weather outfit for my one cute boy.

The humble beginnings of this adorable dress now in the ownership of Miss Laurelei, were as a hand-me-down, with a couple small stains on the front skirt panel that Mamma just couldn't get out...

...so I covered them up! By using what had been the waist tie-backs of the dress as a sash and attaching a semi-sheer vintage apron (yard sale!) I had in my stash, the dress became new again. The apron straps became little flutter sleeves, and the whole blue and white ensemble became on of Miss L's new favorites. 

Tossing her hair like a rock star...had to put that one in here.

(A young Taylor Swift?)

This next one was Laurelei's Easter dress this year, and it was upcycled from....

Yep. That is my big sister Ashley, as flower girl at a cousin's wedding, in all her 1982(?) be-ruffled glory. Which is now this:

Mr. Riley also had a handmade (though not upcycled) Easter outfit this year; one that involved Shelley Figueroa and Karen LePage's beautiful book Sewing for Boys,  and was meant to be Vintage Fabric Project #3, but, alas, the bow tie has gone MIA. So that one will have to wait...

     Okay. So those are a few of the projects that were shown in our little class, not to toot my own horn, or Liesel's, really, but to generate ideas and start discussions about the possibilities of reuse for what might have once been throw-away items. We got into tee-shirt necklaces, taking in and hemming pants, letting down skirts, shrunken wool...but what it all came down to is what is outlined in this handout: If you can stitch, cut, and iron a (roughly) straight line, YOU CAN DO ANY OF THESE PROJECTS. 
     I have found, when talking to people who don't consider themselves to be 'crafty' or 'creative' that lack of ideas is rarely the problem. It's lack of confidence that gets 'em every time. But I promise you, gentle readers, you can do it!
      So click on the link to the handout for a list (a barely-scratching-the-surface-list) of upcycle/repurpose ideas for your family's old clothes. There are links to some really useful tutorials on there, including genius instructions from One Pearl Button, Portabellopixie, and Handmade Baby Clothes, because we all need one another's support and ideas.

Now go forth and upcycle. And share what you make--I wanna see!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I wish we lived closer to each other...you would be so much fun to play with! I love upcycling things for my kids too. I think my favorite is turning my hubby's old button-ups into adorable dresses for K. Not only is upcycling thrifty, but for K (who is SUPER tall and SUPER slim) totally necessary (I can't buy ready made clothes that fit well). Just this weekend, I went thrifting to find cheap women's skirts/dresses to make her summer wardrobe.

    Your ideas are awesome. The women in the area are lucky to have such a great resource and teacher and your family is lucky to have such a fun and talented mom/wife.