Purls of Wisdom

Upgrade Your Back-to-School Wardrobe! 10 Fun & Crafty Ways to Upcycle Clothing

Posted by Marjanna Smith on Sun, Sep 02, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

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                      Source: Google Images

Looking for a fun, unique way to be creative with your family? How about a cheap and eco-friendly one? Try upcycling, the perfect combination of originality, creativity, and sustainability for you to try with your kids. Read on to find out what it is and how you can do it at home.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is the reuse or repurposing of an old object into a product that is more useful or more beautiful than the original. Upcycling can be super simple and kid-friendly -- for example, instead of throwing out old CDs and magazines, you can make them into mosaic picture frames and woven coasters. It can also be more complex, such as repainting and repairing a piece of furniture instead of kicking it to the curb.

Why is Upcycling Important?

You may be thinking, “Why should I take the time to upcycle? Isn’t recycling good enough?” Well, there are a lot of reasons why upcycling is so important. First, let’s establish the difference between recycling and upcycling. While recycling involves breaking down material to be reused (which decreases the material’s value), upcycling is all about finding new, creative ways to reuse the material (thus increasing its value)! So, like recycling, upcycling reduces the amount of landfill waste you generate; however, upcycling also creates a new product that has a functional and/or decorative use.

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                        Source: Google Images

Next, let’s talk about waste. Remember that helpful catchphrase that everyone uses when talking about how to be more eco-friendly? Reduce, reuse, recycle! Well, I recently learned that these three actions are actually in order of importance. First and foremost, we should make the effort to reduce the amount of things we buy and resources we use (i.e., taking shorter showers and avoiding impulse purchases that we don’t really need). Next is reusing, which includes upcycling! Last is recycling -- so, while it's obviously important to recycle, it is more important to prioritize those first two steps over recycling.  

What Can I Upcycle? Why Should I Upcycle Clothes?

Upcycling can be done with any object or material you can think of -- if you can repurpose, modify, or personalize it, you can upcycle it. For this post, I decided to focus on a popular material of choice for "upcyclers": clothing. Clothing is a great medium for upcycling because it is versatile, available, and can be modified in an infinite number of ways. Clothing is also a big issue when it comes to keeping our planet clean. In 2014, the U.S. alone generated approximately 32.44 billion pounds of textile waste even though 95% of all textiles have the potential to be reused or recycled. This number will only continue to increase unless we raise awareness of this issue and the different ways we can reduce, reuse, and recycle clothing.

Now that you’ve learned how upcycling is an economical, eco-friendly, and creative activity, you must be ready for some inspiration! Whether you have thrift store finds, hand-me-downs, or old clothes of your own, here are 10 different ways you can upcycle them with your kids.

1. Tie-Dye

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Tie-dye is a fun, kid-friendly way to upcycle that never goes out of style. This easy DIY will instantly upgrade any plain, light-colored clothes (and it can camouflage stains). Dye a t-shirt, tank top, skirt, pair of leggings -- or even accessories like headbands or socks! Thinking outside the box is encouraged. Let your kids’ imaginations lead the way as they combine colors and patterns into their own custom work of wearable art. Check out this guide to tie-dye for plenty of tips, tricks, and pattern ideas.

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Don’t have any white clothes laying around? Don’t worry! If you have solid-colored clothing, try tie-dyeing with bleach for a new twist on this classic activity.

2. Freezer Paper Stencil

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Who knew that you could use freezer paper and paint to add a design to a t-shirt? I didn’t until I found this tutorial on how to do it, and it looks as simple and fun as the pictured results.

3. T-Shirt Tote Bag

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Basically all you need to make this tote bag is an old t-shirt, sharp scissors, and 10 minutes. This no-sew project is a great way to repurpose a t-shirt that is too big or no longer worn.

4. Patches, Pins, and Appliques

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Personalize an old hand-me-down (or even cover up stains or holes) by adding some 3D art to your clothes! You can buy patches, pins, and appliques at craft stores and online, or you can make them yourself! See this tutorial for no-sew felt appliques and this tutorial for no-sew fabric flowers. And if you’re up to the challenge, you can try making embroidered patches by hand.

5. Stamped Clothes

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To make your own printed clothing, all you need is a stamp and some paint! You can buy stamps of all kinds at your local craft store, or you can make a quick DIY stamp out of a kitchen sponge, sponge brush, or even a potato! Then simply dip your stamp in acrylic or fabric paint and press it onto any piece of clothing that you want to make 100% cuter.

6.Throw Pillow

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Your child doesn’t have to say goodbye to that beloved t-shirt that has become too small to wear -- preserve it as a throw pillow! Try the no-sew, hand sewed, and machine sewed version depending on your available equipment and skill level. Leave the shirt plain or embellish it with buttons, sequins, fabric stickers, or paint designs! 

7. Unconventional Dye Techniques

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Looking for something different from the average tie-dye or bleach methods? Try using some Elmer’s glue to draw a design or make a pattern with found objects and let the sun do the work!

8. T-Shirt and Tank Top Upgrades

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Cutting up a top is a surprisingly popular DIY project -- and there are sooo many ways to do it. Turn a regular old t-shirt into a cold shoulder top, workout tank, or tie-front tank. Also, don’t hesitate to explore the internet for hundreds of other ideas.

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If you're looking to use an old shirt in a completely new way, you can repurpose t-shirt fabric! From a simple headband to a woven pillow, t-shirt “yarn” has many colorful and practical applications.

9. Peplum Shirt

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Embrace the timeless style of a peplum shape in your upcycling endeavors! Convert an oversized t-shirt into a peplum top or increase the charm (and length!) of a shirt by adding a different colored fabric for a trendy color block effect. While this project can be created through hand sewing, it is also an excellent way to practice and develop basic machine sewing skills.

10. Denim Shorts Upgrades

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Cut an old pair of jeans into shorts and make them stylish using a variety of techniques! This video shows how to do modifications such as adding lace, bleaching, painting, and adding patterned fabric.

 

Have fun with your new, upcycled clothes! And don’t forget to share your upcycling projects with us on Instagram using the hashtag #SewMoreLove so we can see your wonderful creations!

If you and your family is feeling inspired after your adventures in upcycling, make sure to check out The Handwork Studio’s camps and classes so your child can continue to make more handmade art! Our students flourish in our nurturing environment, and we encourage creativity and original projects while developing handwork and needlework techniques for multiple skill levels.

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Saturday Studio: Lizzy Gee

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Sat, Jun 24, 2017 @ 09:00 AM


“In three words, the summation of my studio space can only be described as ‘my colorful world,’ but if you asked any of my friends, they'd probably simplify it to only two words, ‘very Lizzy.’”

-Lizzy Gee, Senior Design Student at Pratt


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Be sure to check back every week to see another amazing studio!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Lizzy's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our fall classes here. For project ideas join our You Tube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #FallSession #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #DesignStudio #KnittingStudio #HomeschoolerClasses #KidsCanSew # Workshops #BirthdayParties #Pratt  

Tags: kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, Design, Classes, Fall, Narberth, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Narberth kids' activities, Narberth, PA

Maker Monday: NYC City Fashion Designer Lizzy Gee

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

http://www.lizzygee.com/

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Name: Lizzy Gee

Age: 21

School: Pratt Institute

Studio Location: Brooklyn, NY

Website: http://www.lizzygee.com/

Bio: Lizzy Gee, a rising senior fashion design student at Pratt Institute, has been creating as long as she can remember. She discovered fashion design at The Handwork Studio at the age of eight.

 

 

Fashion Design

Lizzy describes fashion in two words: “wearable art.”

“I discovered fashion design was my favorite form of creating since it combines function and art,” she said.

A comprehensive process, fashion design involves numerous skills to transform sketches into fashion pieces that speak the creator’s vision.

“There's illustration, digital illustration, technical drawing, print design, machine sewing, hand sewing, and so on,” Lizzy said. “Some designers are better at certain stages of the process, compared to others, which helps to differentiate their aesthetic (from other designers).” 

Design Inspiration

Personal experiences and interests inspire Lizzy’s fashion design concepts.

“Anything can possibly inspire me, but overall beauty, love, and humor are the main elements where I find inspiration,” Lizzy said.  

Unique mixes of these elements generate Lizzy’s brilliant ideas--typically involving a story--that she then tells through her designs.

Top DesignLizzy Gee Romper

Lizzy takes most pride in her Rainbow Ruination Romper. 

“It combines much of what I try to achieve through concept and function,” she said. “I designed all textiles as well as the silhouette to show the colorful pollution that is hurting our environment by creating textile patterns with my photography and a silhouette that references hazmat suits used for environmental cleanup.”    

In addition to telling an environmental message, the entirely organic romper provides functional sustainability through the bodice’s ability to transform into various styles. 

Design Challenges   

Lizzy Gee DesignLizzy believes challenges are part of the fashion designer job description.

“Part of the fun with design is to challenge my craft in order to improve,” she said. “I love designing for people in all walks of life, so, in order to see how my ideas transcend different body types and occasions, I must research and plan my design in order to avoid issues once gone on to construct.”     

One of Lizzy’s most recent capsule collections consisted of menswear pieces, new territory for the designer who typically constructs unixsex or womenswear.  

“Even though I was much more anxious to combine my style with menswear, after researching to solidify my line up and creating samples of the garments to fit on the model, the collection came together,” Lizzy said. “I felt even more satisfied with the final product by having overcome the obstacles.”

Everyday Design

Living in an exciting place like Brooklyn, Lizzy has inspiration and ideas constantly around her. She captures all her findings with her camera and files them at her studio.

“I am lucky to have found a profession I love to do even in my free time,”she said. “ I can have a drink with a mini-umbrella, put on a playlist, and sketch new designs anywhere I go."

Design Advice

Lizzy Gee 3.jpegWhen it comes to advice for future fashion designers, Lizzy said, “Try not to listen to others expectations or judgments until you have listened to your own. If what you dream is less practical, you can make it practical by showing the world it can be done. Take every opportunity that has the potential to help you achieve your dream. It may not happen overnight, but determination is what builds your dreams. And most importantly, have a ton of fun!”


Be sure to check back every week to meet another amazing maker!

Want your children to learn and be inspired in the same classes that jumpstarted Lizzy's passion for sewing and fashion? You can find our fall classes here. For project ideas join our You Tube Channel or visit our Store.

#TheHandworkStudio #Narthberth #FallSession #HandworkandMachineSewing #FashionandMachineSewing #DesignStudio #KnittingStudio #HomeschoolerClasses #KidsCanSew # Workshops #BirthdayParties #Pratt 

 

 

 

Tags: kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Kids Birthday Parties, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, Machine Sewing, Design, machine sewing classes begin, Classes, Fall, Open Design Studio, Narberth, Knitting, Fashion, The Handwork Studio, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Sewing Machine, Narberth kids' activities, Philadelphia, Narberth, PA

Narberth First Friday Open House

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 07:38 AM

Narberth First Friday

 

Did you know it's National Sewing Month? Needless to say, we are sewing machine enthusiats and this month we'll be sharing fun facts about the machine sewing on our blog. Be sure to check back tomorrow for our first fun fact!

 

BUT FIRST - We're planning a party at our studio and your family is invited! We are having an open house to celebrate this month's First Friday in Narberth. Join us for free treats, a cool craft project and your chance to win a FREE seat for your child in our Fall Session! We'd love to have you and your children join us for a Friday night that is sure to delight! 

 

The craft project we are planning is for kids ages 5-12 years old. Stop by, register to win and join us for some machine sewing fun as we celebrate National Sewing Month! You can RSVP and see event details here. If you have any questions please feel free to call Miss Alexis at the studio at 610-660-9600 or send a message.

 

We looking forward to see you on Friday!


Tags: First Friday, Fall Class, National Sewing Month

Fall Class Discount for Handwork, Machine Sewing and Open Studio

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Fri, May 23, 2014 @ 10:53 AM

25% off Fall ClassWhile we prepare for summer camp which is just around the corner, we wanted to remind our local Handwork Studio families that our Fall Discount for early registartion is still available until May 30th. Simply register your child and you'll save 25% on our Fall Classes!

You can choose from three class programs Handwork (Grades K-6), Machine Sewing (Grades 3-8), and Open Design Studio (Grades 6-10). Learn more about the programs and scheduling by checking out our Fall Brochure here.  

No previous needle arts or machine sewing knowledge is requried for our classes. We will work with your child at whatever level they are joing us. Class is a delightful opportunity for your child to create new friendships and hang with existing friends in a creative and nurturing studio. Classes run for 10-weeks at one hour per week. We have mutiple times available to suit you and your child's schedule. On May 1, 2015 all students will have the opportunity to exhibit their work at our Annual Art Exhibition at Narbeth's First Friday event from 7:00-9:00 PM.

You can register you child online or by calling Miss Alexis at the Studio at 610-660-9600.


  

Tags: Fall Class, Machine Sewing, Classes, Studio, Narberth, Handwork

The Handwork Studio's 5th Annual Student Art Exhibit...Sew Beautiful!

Posted by Laura Kelly on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:08 PM

There’s something to be said for the First Friday’s in Narberth.

The stores are open late, live music fills the air and on that first Friday in May, The Handwork Studio is abuzz with the glowing laughter and pride of our artists.

This year, the studio celebrates it’s 5th annual Student Art Exhibit.  The exhibit is an opportunity for all of our artists to showcase their finest works and share with friends, family and the community at large the fruits of their very crafty labor.  And quite frankly, it’s awesome.

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I hope that you’ll join us this year as our studio is transformed into one of the Main Line’s most exclusive art hangouts on Friday May 4th, from 7pm-9pm.  Come out and enjoy the show!

As we wrap up the 2011/2012 year, we’re looking ahead to Fall 2012 and beyond!  As of May 1st our Fall Session will be available for you take part in.  I recommend that you plan early so that once registration opens you’ll be off and running before you can say “yarn”!  You can register online by clicking here Fall Class Registration

Or you can call us in the studio, we always love speaking with our friends, new and old.

We hope to see you on First Friday!

Tags: kids knitting, handwork classes begin, kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Kids Birthday Parties, art exhibit, creativity, imagination, First Friday, Fall Class, Registration, Fall Class Registration, Summer Camp, Narberth, Kids Camp, Crochet, kids, fun kids activities, activities, Narberth kids' activities