Friday, March 26, 2010

Update Your Old Wardrobe

Spring is upon us and we know what that house! Many of us have piles of clothing just waiting to be tossed...okay some (me) more than others. Once you get it all sorted, and after your friends have gone through it and taken what they want, the next step is recycling...

1. Grab everything that is stained and unwearable and use it for rags around the house or in the garage. You can even rip it into strips, braid it, and whip stitch it into a cute little bohemian style rug for your bath or your doggy!

2. Clothing that is in good shape, but not worth a whole lot, wash and drop off at your local charity shop. Good for karma points! *wink*

3. Anything that is still fairly new, that you know you will never wear again (like last seasons jeans or heels that were just too high), take them to a buy/sell shop like Buffalo Exchange and see what you can get for it. They aren't all that great about taking very much, but its worth a shot and you may get a few extra bucks! Make sure everything is clean and in very good condition. The trendier and more expensive (a label) the item, the better your chances are of them buying it.

4. Finally...everyone has those few items that they really like and want to hold onto because you think "someday". Trust me "someday" RARELY ever comes! And if it does, the item never looks the way it did before, or just doesn't work. If you MUST keep it, why not make it into something you can wear today??? Here are some examples of clothing being recycled to wear again for THIS season!

OLD PLAID SHIRT: You can do this with a guys shirt or a girls long sleeve. Most likely you are going to be using one of your own old shirts, so just take it and cut off the sleeves! Make sure you add an extra inch so you can fold them in 1/2" and then another 1/2" and then sew. That is the easiest and fastest way for someone that isn't too into sewing.

OLD PAIR OF JEANS: Simply make cut-offs! They're in for the season and will carry over into Summer! Just don't do it with the colorful jeans that we were wearing recently...those will not be in this Spring & Summer. Stick with black, blues and different washes. You can keep them frayed at the ends or cut them a couple inches longer and roll them.

OLD T-SHIRT: You can use a basic T or a styled T. If you are using a basic T, go ahead and cut more of a boat neck and cut the sleeves into a little more than a cap sleeve (I don't like cap sleeves, they make even skinny arms look chub). To do this without sewing, cut rectangles out of the back and use scraps from what you cut out to wrap around the strips in the back to mimic bows. Email me for the sew version.

OLD 90s STYLE DRESS: You'll need the dress and about 2" wide elastic (black looks best). Cut the dress along the waistline - remember that you will need a 1/2" for seam allowance on both halves of the dress, so the dress will shorten by 1", but the 2" elastic will add to it. Measure your waist and cut the elastic to that length plus 1/2". For simplicity reasons, we won't worry about finishing off the inside seams. You will sew together the elastic, pin the end seam at one of the side seams of the top, then the opposite side, front and back. You will be sewing gathers because the top will most likely be wider than the elastic. Once you are done, do the same to the skirt half. If you want the open back, email me for a description on how to cut and sew.

OLD T-SHIRT: There are a few fun options for this. You can simply cut a piece out of the back and then sew in a piece of lace. Make sure the piece of lace is as wide as the shirt to start. You can cut it to the shape of the cut out on the back of the shirt. If you do this, remember to leave 1/2" seam allowance for sewing. If you want to just place the lace in, sew and then cut, remember that lace can fray (depending on what you get), so make sure you use a smaller stitch and cut 1/2" away from the seam. After you do this you can shape the bottom of the shirt by cutting it a little rounded (ala a baseball shirt). You can also roll the sleeves and tack (small stitching) the top and bottom.

EXTRA PAIR OF JEANS: I like the idea of this on a pair of skinny jeans. Using wider leg jeans just seems too back country for me. Anyway, if you don't have scraps of fabric laying around, stop by your local fabric store and head over to the quilting department. They always have stacked sets of quilting squares to buy. Or you can ask for the scrap bin and pick out your own pieces. Cut different sizes and overlap (like in the pic) and you can even use a different color thread or one to match the fabrics. Sewing this with a machine will be hell for a non-pro, so thread a needle and go to town. A little hint, you may want to use a bit a sewing glue on the backs of each patch so it doesn't bubble up. Leave a 1/4" along the edge without glue because when it dries it will make it difficult for the needle to go through the fabrics.

DAD'S OLD SHIRT: Simple...wear it. To give it a little more of a modern look, after you wash it, hang it up wet and it will stretch and hang a little bit more. You can also cut it up! Shorten the sleeves, give it a boat neck, make it off the shoulder, tie up the back. Whatever!
OLD SWEATSHIRT: A trendy twist on a staple. As the picture shows, cut the neck wide and you can wear it of the shoulder. For more of a warm weather wear, trim the sleeves. Try a 3/4" length (mid forearm), or a short sleeve.

TOO BIG PAIR OF JEANS: You've seen tons of celebs wearing the "boyfriend look". If you have jeans that don't fit anymore (too big obviously), or Dad's old jeans...whatever...take them and wear them! If you want to distress them, you have two options, cut and wash until they fray, or MY way...sandpaper! Sit and sand the hell outta the spot you want the hole. It looks natural and is frayed for immediate wear. Keep in mind you don't want too much distress...that's tacky. Stick to the "weathered" areas like the thighs and the knees. Remember, the more you wash and wear them the holes will get bigger, so start out kind small. Roll up the bottoms and throw on some heels and a cute blouse and you are on your way!

LAST SUMMER'S SUN DRESS: You may have a bunch of long dresses from last Summer that you're kind of over, but still kind of like. So cut them and make them into a short dress. You can even take another piece of fabric and sew it in to make a layer or add a piece along the bottom and make the dress look a little different. Or try a piece of swimsuit strapping (you can buy something similar at the fabric store in the notions area, usually on a spool) and sew them in up front and make a halter or spaghetti straps.
OLD T-SHIRT (option 4): The shirt in the photo has strips of ribbon with grommets sewn in (you can find this at the fabric store in the notions area on a spool). Simply cut the T up the middle, remove a section if you want there to be a gap, sew the ribbon along each side, and take ribbon or whatever to lace it. When I first saw this I thought it was a strip of elastic lace. To try that, you don't even need to cut the shirt, get the elastic lace, cut it about 3" shorter than the length of the shirt, so it is 1 1/2" shorter on the top and the bottom. Pin the lace to the top and bottom and stretch it as you sew. When finished the back will gather a bit like it looks in the pic.
GRANDMA DRESS: The easiest thing you can do...shorten it! Make it look modern by shortening it to mid-thigh. Make sure you leave an extra 3 1/2 inches for seam allowance. Fold over 1/2" and then the remaining 3", iron and sew at 1/4' from the top.
LARGE DRESS SHIRT: Wear it as a dress! The best way to wear it so it doesn't look and feel like you are just wearing a big shirt...follow these steps. Make sure its long enough to cover your bottom (please). The sleeves will be long so you can cut them and hem them to whatever length you like. Button up the shirt and sew up the placket (the sections where the buttons run up) about half way. Don't sew all the way up, you won't be able to get into the dress. Wear loose or with a belt! Remember that when you belt a dress, it pulls it up! So if you plan on belting your shirt dress, it should still cover your bottom. If it doesn't, add a pair of cut off jean shorts.

OLD CHINO'S (Khaki's): Cut them and make them into long shorts. You can cut them right above the knee (remember to leave 1" for seam allowance), or if you want to roll them, cut them 2 1/2" longer, roll and tack or sew. You can also cut them shorter and sew or roll!

OLD BABYDOLL DRESS: You can take a babydoll dress or empire dress and shorten it to make a cute loose top. Simple!


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