It’s finally time to take home this more-than-1500-words blog post I originally guest-posted on TitiCrafty (hi Cami <3)… I hope you’ll enjoy it!
It’s not a mystery that I’m addicted to refashioning, but why do I love it so much?
I can see a growing interest about this topic, all around the web, I think it can be interesting try to discover why! I’ll try doing it by sharing some refashion I’ve done side by side with my best tips and tricks...
Today I’m trying to answer to the 6 most common questions I hear when I say: “I’ve made this using old clothes”
Here are the
6 Top Refashioning FAQ (and all the answers too)
(as opposite to sew from new fabric, but also in opposite to buy ready-to-wear:)
- Because it’s frugal!
I love to teach my daughter how to live without wasting, and refashioning is one of the ways I can do that!
- Because it’s sustainable and ethical
How can you feel guilty if your new clothes are made of pre-loved clothes? No child labor behind my new clothes (unless I ask help to my daughter), no pollution from industrial dyeing!
- To be stylish (but not broken)
You can take a second-hand garment (maybe completely out of date) and restyling it… for a fraction of the cost of a new garment (if you’re lucky and find the right clothes, you can have a complete outfit for $ 1-5 !)
- So you don’t spend on new and pricey fabric…
If you already are a sewist, you know how costly this hobby can be. Sometimes, better use old bed sheets instead of buying cotton fabric (plus, they come in flower vintage gorgeous prints) if you need to satisfy a new summer dress craving!
- A way to keep old memories.
As a mom, how many times did you say: “I’d really like to save this old
If you decide to refashion it, you can keep your old garment (maybe a little part of each one) in everyday’s use, incorporating them to a t-shirt or a backpack or a blanket or anything else you decide to create with them… smart, isn’t it?
- No need to pre-shrink before cutting…
…anyway, better pre-wash before handling… you never know where those old clothes have been lately…
- To customize those new-old clothes you have in your closet, with price tag still on…
( I know you have them! Don’t hide!)
Yes, the ones you bought just because they wear a real bargain but just a little bit [add here your excuse: long/short/plain/ugly shaped…]: now you can fix them!
- To make shopping… in your closet!
Also when you really can’t afford to go out for “real” shopping but you really “need” something new to feel good! Consider the added value when someone asks you “Where did you get it?” And you can say: “I did it! It’s a refashion!”
and could I add my personal “why”?
- Just For Fun!?!?!?
A good refashion always makes me relax and feel good… am I an oddball?
What to look for (and re-use)…
- Pockets, button plackets, embroideries…
One of the features you can easily incorporate are pockets, especially patch pockets: nothing better than a ready-to-wear jeans back pocket to add some spice to any refashioned piece!
And never underestimate the power of button plackets or cuffs while refashioning: it can save you a ton of time!
- Search for blankets, bed sheets, table-cloths & napkins and, why not, curtains!
On dollar stores, thrifty shops and junk dealers they’re often banished below tables, hidden treasures that are waiting for you: a big squared piece of printed pure cotton canvas: nothing better to start with for your first refashioning project!
- XXXL and two or more twin garments (same fabric)
- Hardware from bags, backpacks, suitcases
One of the funniest things to sew from old clothes are bags: think to denim, wool, patchwork bags, because you can use also little scraps of fabric, too little felted pieces of wool, match different colors/patterns: there’s so much freedom in refashioning a bag!
And you really should take a deep look to your old bag’s hardware (think closures, clasps, hooks, rings, D-rings…): often they are still in good shape also when the bag is worn out.
Think outside the box and collect those little metal pieces… you’ll thank me later!
…(and what to avoid):
- Garments with too much seams (princess seams, yokes, patchwork)
It’s hard to use little weird-shaped pieces of fabric, better choose maxi-skirts, hippy gowns and similar to have enough fabric to work with
- Worn out clothes
Always take a look to all the garment, better two, hunting for stains, holes, see-through too-used fabric, fraying fabrics, pilling zones: better don’t buy this too-used clothes, unless they’re tent style (few seams) and huge, to be sure you can end up with some fabric.
Better choose garments in good conditions (and eventually save the stained and pilled ones for sewing mock-ups and slopers!)
Sometimes, if stains or faded/bleached spots aren’t too big, you can hide them under embellishments (ruffles, fabric flowers, ric-rac, applique, buttons…): just watch out!
- Change line to an out-of fashion piece of clothing
As I’ve already told you, the first way refashioning can be useful to you is to revise a dated garment into something more trendy (think trouser leg’s width, or large t-shirts to more fitted ones…)
You can also decide to simply scale a garment to your size, or taking it to the extreme, you can scale an adult sized piece of clothing to a child-size!
- Change intended purpose
Think to shirt to skirt, skirt to dress, dress to skirt, pants to skirt… endless possibilities!
- Simply add any embellishment
And here we have one more never ending list: add embroidery, by hand or by machine; applique trim, fabric, yarn; add ruffles, pintucks, pleats; sew original shaped elbow patches; add beads, studs and rhinos….
- Go creative!
Print, bleach, stencil, draw with fabric paints…
- Change color to your fabrics
Think washing machine dye kit, dip dye, ombre dye….
- Create patterned fabrics by refashioning
What about colorblocking? You can stitch together various pieces from different garments to be refashioned: you’ll end with a completely new material to work with absolutely original!
There are a lot of artists on Etsy selling coats and sweater puzzles… why not you?
Yes, interesting, but:
Where do I start?
- Start with easy fabrics
Unless you’re a seasoned seamstress, better start with fabrics easy to manage like woven cotton or denim.
Leave sheers, faux furs, leather, sequined fabrics for when you become more confident with your sewing skills.
- Start with easy projects
… like shortening jeans, transforming wide leg to skinny jeans, make an infinity scarf from t-shirt scraps and fabric, dress to skirt, mom’s shirt to girl’s ruffl-y dress, update sweater to cardigan…
Which tools are essentials?
- Scissors & one (or more, just in case they break…) seam ripper!
This are really basic tools! Can’t even think about deconstructing clothes without them!
- A sewing machine
Yes, you can make most fixes/mending/refashionings by hand but a basic sewing machine can cost you less than $ 100 and will re-pay itself in no time: think how much a new garment can cost to you (and how many you can fix with only one sewing machine!)
- Inspiration from ready-to-wear
Nothing better than take pics on real (or pin on virtual) shops to stay in touch with trends: satisfying like a real shopping but much more money-saving… and you’ll end with a truck load of ideas, promise!
Do you have any practical trick for me?
- use any detail you can
- save your time saving original hems!
- don’t loose your time and mind on ironing creases that are there from years: use it as interesting details, maybe topstitch on top of them with a contrasting thread
- use a thread similar to the original one in color, fiber content and thickness, at least in topstitching but in construction seams too. Practice on scraps for topstitcthing look: play around with stitch length and tensions to recreate exactly the same look
- use an appropriate needle in size and type (knits need a ballpoint/stretch needle, with denim better use a jeans needle! )
That’s all for today! I hope I’ve given you an idea of what refashioning means to me.
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MammaNene @ SergerPepper.com