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.

Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, creativity, imagination, Fall Class, Fall Class Registration, How to Tuesday, fiber arts, teach kids to knit, stitch, embroidery, Machine Sewing, Studio, Fall, Sewing, Knitting, Fun, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities, camp, Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Fashion Design, Sewing Machine, Kids' craft class, Gifts, Kids' craft class, tie-dye, Eco Fashion, Upcycling, Inspiration, Kids Activities, Embroidering, sewmorelove, clothes, clothing, blogging, mom blogs, sustainability, DIY projects, t shirt DIYs, repurpose clothes, eco friendly, DIY, thrifting, back-to-school, blog, craft blogs, tutorial, upcycle, sustainable fashion, kids DIYs, DIY ideas, t shirt pillow

4 Projects to Get Ready For Summer

Posted by Libby Foxman on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 11:00 AM


As the weather continues to heat up, we know that summer is here and with that comes a whole handful of preparations to make sure that your kids are ready for the beach, camp and whatever else you have planned. Here a 4 fun ways to get your kids ready the summer:

 

Tie-Dye Your Own Beach Towel:

            Rather than going out to buy brand new beach towels that you threw away last summer, find an old white one (or even some old bed sheets) in your linen closet and tie-dye it! You can roll up the towels however you want and tie it up into sections with rubber bands. Once that is done, get your tie-dye ready – it is probably easier to buy some at a store but there are ways to make your own using food coloring. Now that everything is prepped, put on your gloves and you can start tie dying by squeezing the dye into the each section of the towel! Make it as colorful and crazy as you want but be sure to let it dry for 6-8 hours before untying it and rinsing it off with a hose.

 

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Make a Pillowcase:

            When going away to sleep away camp, its always comforting to bring something personal from home. A great project to do with your camper before they leave for the summer is to make a pillowcase. All you need is two pieces of fabric, needle, thread, and whatever you want to use to decorate your pillowcase. The fabric can come from an old blanket or you can buy it at your local crafts store. To make the pillowcase, measure out the two pieces fabric to be the same size – or a little bit bigger- than your pillow. With your needle and thread, sew three sides of the pillowcase together, leaving one opening at the top for the pillow to fit into. Now that your pillowcase is made, you can decorate it by sewing on other patches of fabric or get iron-on patches. This is a great way to send your kid off to sleep away camp with a little bit of home.

 

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Decorate Your Backpack:

            At summer camp, whether it is sleep away or day camp, campers’ bags usually get thrown in with everyone else’s. So what better way to make your camper’s bag stand out than by decorating it with some patchwork? This is very easy to do and you hardly need to buy anything! You can use the same backpack from the school year and some old t-shirts or blankets. Along with these supplies, you’ll need a sewing needle and thread. Cut up your old t-shirts and blankets into shapes or letters and then sew them directly onto your backpack. This is a great project to get your kid ready and excited for camp this summer!

 

Make Your Own Sleeping Mask:

            A camper’s bunk at sleep away camp is usually nothing like their bedroom at home. They will probably be in a cabin with the rest of their age group who might be using night-lights and flashlights late into the night. A great project to do before they leave for camp is to make their own sleep mask. It will be a thoughtful reminder of home and help make the night a bit more peaceful. All you’ll need is two pieces of fabric, a piece of elastic, and two cut outs shaped like you mask and then you are ready to sew it all together either with a sewing machine or by hand. Click the image of the sleeping mask to be linked to The Handwork Studio’s How-To-Tuesday video to get a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own!

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If your child has an interest in sewing, design, or any other handwork crafts, go to The Handwork Studio website for our fall and summer camp schedule and live chat with Miss Catalina or call 610.660.9600 to see what would be best for your camper!

Tags: How to Tuesday, Summer Camp, Sewing, Knitting, The Handwork Studio, Summer, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, tie-dye

Stitching Up Spring Camp at the Studio

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 @ 10:23 PM

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As you may have noticed, it seems the cold weather and snow took a break this Winter, leaving us with 60-degree days in February and sunshine instead of snow days.  Though at first this incredibly out of character Pennsylvanian weather took me by surprise, I can’t help but admit I’ve enjoyed it! On the tail of Groundhog Phil's ominous shadow - which doesn’t seem to be the most accurate barometer these days - I gladly welcome Spring, even if a bit early this year. But it’s not just the warmer weather I look forward to this season, no. These are just a few more of my favorite things about these bright and lively months:

1) Color! From grasshopper-green buds to floral hues spanning the rainbow, I can’t wait to see the great outdoors match the many colors of yarn and embroidery floss I see in the Studio every day!

2) Longer days = more time to be outside, to get things done, and of course, more of that precious vitamin D!

3) April Showers. Not only do these glorious weather phenomena bring May flowers, but also rainbows! And what else goes along with showers? Thunderstorms, rain boots, and the exhilaration of dashing for shelter when one suddenly hits.

4) Spring Camp at the Studio. Two whole weeks of laughing and making totally cool spring-inspired crafts with some of my favorite people? Yes please.

What are you most looking forward to this Spring? Make a list in the comment area below and enjoy!


Interested in joining the fun? Sign up here for Spring Camp March 26th-30th and April 2nd-6th - spots are going quickly! Check out our other Spring Camp locations in Maryland, Washington DC, and Pittsburgh.


Looking for sweet Spring project ideas? Check out Miss Alisha's How To Tuesday videos and be sure to subscribe to receive new projects in your inbox every week!

Tags: crafts, Maryland, How to Tuesday, Narberth, Kids Camp, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork

Handwork Is Where The Heart Is | The Handwork Studio

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Feb 08, 2012 @ 10:25 PM

Camp fair season is in full swing, as Miss Julia wrote last week. One way to get all of that fabulous summer camp information is from the MetroKids parenting magazines that can be found all over the Philadelphia region. In addition to advertising summer camps and camp fairs, this resource also has interesting articles and fun things to do with your kids at home.

We were so pleased to be invited by MetroKids to submit a project to be included in the January issue and I'd love to share it with you - just in time for Valentine's Day. Homemade Valentines are always the best to create and to receive and you can make this one with your kids with just a few simple materials that you probably have around the house. Especially if you have kids who like handwork...

So while we are busy introducing new families to our family at camp fairs, you can get busy with your kids doing this fun activity, or any of the great crafts Miss Alisha creates on our website for How-To Tuesdays!

Happy Valentine's day from our family to yours!

Love, Miss Melissa

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Tags: crafts, How to Tuesday, fiber arts, Miss Alisha, Kids Camp, Fun, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities

Thanksgiving Day Crafting| Fun Projects for the Entire Family

Posted by Laura Kelly on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 @ 05:51 PM

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It is not very often that everyday life comes to a stand still.  Thankfully we have Thanksgiving!  As Novemeber 24th approaches many of us will be with family and friends to eat and laugh.  However, in between all those laughs and turkey slices, how will you spend the rest of your day?  If you are at a lost we at the Handwork Studio think there is nothing more fulfilling than creating something by hand.  Before you head out into the Black Friday shopping frenzy, and maybe after you had you had your fill of stuffing and gravy, take this Turkey day as an opportunity to create a project with your kids or even get the whole family involved!  

If you need some inspiration our fabulous Miss Alisha offers wonderful tips and tricks on different Handwork techniques when she posts for "How to Tuesdays" She offers tutorials on simple techniques such as, sewing, knitting, crocheting, and even needle-felting.  This past weeks video is one of my favorites that I am sure will really will get everyone into the Thanksgiving Day spirit.  

To continue to receive  "How To Tuesdays"  you can subscribe on our homepage and tutorials will go directly to your inbox.  We at The Handwork Studio want to thank you so much for your support and for taking the opportunity to see what the needle arts is all about.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thankfully yours,

Miss Julia

Tags: How to Tuesday, b2c, fun kids activities, Thanksgiving