The final report of the British Parliament Environmental Audit Committee on fast fashion was published on Tuesday this week. It highlights that the average clothing consumption in Britain is the highest in Europe, yet we only wear them for an average of 2.5 times. Moreover, less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing at the end of its life. ‘A glut of second-hand clothing swamping the market is depressing prices for used textiles”, the report also states. And around 300,000 tonnes of textile waste ends up in household black bins every year, sent to landfill or incinerators.
As someone who makes their own clothes, we might think that this really has nothing to do with us. We do not take part in fast fashion, mass consumption or put clothes in the bin. And many times, this could absolutely be the case.
But is there something we could all be doing to support a reuse & recycle textile economy more? The charity shops or thrift stores can be great sources of not only bargains but also fabric and garments that can be upcycled and given a second life.
On Monday I was lucky to be invited to Oxfam’s Fashion Fighting Poverty catwalk show as part of London Fashion Week and that highlighted once again the treasure trove that charity shops can be. You are supporting great causes, saving clothes from landfill and also doing something creative by upcycling potential finds!
Not to mention you can channel a bit of the Alteration Challenge from the Great British Sewing Bee in your own sewing room!
So, here I am with a little bit of refashioning inspiration: I am sharing some of my favourite bloggers that have made upcycling garments an artform! But first…
My golden rules for any upcycling/refashioning project
Don’t cut up something that someone else can wear/use as it is
This is my number one rule! When you are scouring the charity shops looking for things that can be transformed or scavenged for fabric, ask the salesperson if they have any items that they cannot sell. Usually, it’s because they have small rips, missing buttons, broken zipper etc. The charity shop will get some small revenue for something that they would not have been able to resell, you potentially saved an item from landfill and probably bagged a bargain at the same time.
Any garment can be a fabric source
You can sometimes recover a lot of fabric from garments and treat them as fabric. You can then use commercial patterns and sew like you would with a fabric length.
Pre-plan to preserve the original features
Prep before you cut into your garment. Try sketching out the optionf for the new garment so that you incorporate as many of the original features as possible.
Don’t forget the notions
Sometimes a thrifted garment cannot be refashioned, but it might have some great buttons that you’d want to save. Or the zipper, metal bits etc. When I refashioned my wedding dress, I used every single bit of the old one, even the hook and eye.
Dyeing can be a life-saver
Sometimes you can find garments that are made with good quality fabric, but they are a bit faded or have some stains that are still showing. You might want to consider overdyeing, especially if it’s cotton, linen or viscose. It’s a bit more complicated for wool, silk or polyester, but not impossible. Remember to check the instructions carefully!
My favourite refashioning blogs
PIN FOR LATER
For all the inspiration: THE REFASHIONERS
If you haven’t been living under a rock these past 7 years, it was impossible to miss the annual refashioning bonanza that is Portia Lawrie’s The Refashioners. With a blogger and community aspect, you will get all the inspiration could ever want.
My all-time favourite was Joost’s zebra jacket:
For t-shirt refashions – WobiSobi
I have dozens of Pinterest inspiration pictures on my refashion board saved from WobiSobi. So if you have an old band t-shirt knocking about, check out this blog for hundreds of ideas of what to with it! And here’s a Pinterest board too!
One of my all-time favourites:
For all things eco and upcycling: Cucicucicoo
This is a blog that has much more than just refashioning. It’s full of free sewing patterns for kids, DIY, hacks and tips for an eco-conscious lifestyle
For the refashion style fix: Cotton and Curls
I have been a fan of Liz’s for ages. Her refashions are stunning and stylish. Check out this awesome velvet jumpsuit that used to be an oversized dress… Also, check out her stunning Instagram feed.
FOR THE QUEEN OF REFASHIONS: Sarah Tyau from Our Life is Beautiful
Sarah has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, her blog and her Youtube channel and that’s unsurprising because her transformations are truly awesome! They also come with handy tutorials.
FOR the Thrift shop lifestyle: Refashionista
I’ve been following Jillian for many years and I love her quirky style, funny posts and relentless hunting for fashion bargains than can be transformed with the help of a sewing machine. Unfortunately, the blog has not been updated in a while, but the archives are solid.
For the designer refashion touch: Trash to Couture
Laura is a designer and professional sewer who brings flair to any refashion. I love all her makes and can scroll through her blog for ages. I especially love the DIY accessories, like this bag made from placemats. She also has step by step tutorials for most of her projects.
- Tips and advice for refashioning and upcycling on Love Your Clothes website
- Upcyle ideas for curvy people Pinterest Board
- More tips for refashioning
- Tips for curvy upcycling
- List of books on refashioning
- My refashioning Pinterest board
- My own wedding dress refashion
SO HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT UPCYCLING? HAVE YOU GOT ANY GREAT SUCCESS STORIES? HOW ABOUT EPIC FAILS? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
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