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

clothingrecycling

                      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.

download

                        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

p_101221689

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.

MG_9853

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

IMG_0935IMG_0956

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

 no-sew-t-shirt-bag-tutorial-41-1

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

DSC_4494-copy-2-1EmbroideredPatches1-5928cfb15f9b585950d48e8a_MG_4559

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

heartshirt8

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

Creativity-for-Kids-No-Sew-T-Shirt-Pillow_11420851318972

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

Sun-Dye-Bandanas07

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

DIYtank2

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.

woven-t-shirt-pillow_blog140303

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

peplumtutorial

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

maxresdefault

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

Saturday Studio: Kelsey Underwood

Posted by Kelsey Underwood on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

“This is one of the amazing studio spaces at my school, Virginia Commonwealth University. My workspace is typically filled with music in my headphones, vibrant inspiration boards at my side, and a measuring tape around my shoulders.”    

-Kelsey Underwood


Viriginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Fashion Design Studio

Have you met Kelsey yet? Read her Maker Monday Blog Here.


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

Want your children to learn and be inspired by Kelsey this summer, you can find her at our Avalon, NJ Camp, West Chester, PA and our Newark, DE Camp. For project ideas join our You Tube Channel or visit our Store.
 
#Avalon #IndependenceSchool #WesterChester #SummerCamp #MachineSewingCamp #CraftCamp #KidsCanSew #VCU
Save

Tags: creativity, Fashion Camp, Design, Studio, Sewing, Fashion, Fashion & Machine Sewing, Fashion Design, Eco Fashion

A Note From Miss Alexis | The Handwork Studio

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Sun, Sep 21, 2014 @ 04:03 PM

A Note From Miss AlexisDear Handwork Studio Families,
 


I wanted to personally inform you that I will no longer be with The Handwork Studio as Studio Director. I am leaving to pursue a career in visual design. 
 

The hardest part about leaving the studio besides my amazing co-workers are your children. It has been a pleasure to work with them. I have immense pride in the work that they have made over the years.  It was so special to be able to foster their creativity and watch them grow. There is nothing like the feeling of watching a young 5 year old knit her first stitch or a 3rd grader sewing in a straight line for the first time. Those moments are what made my job so extraordinary. 
 

I will continue to be a part of The Handwork Studio family and look forward to the future. I am grateful to have been a part of a program that gets to nurture talented kids and I know that The Handwork Studio team will continue to make the experience for your children that much more spectacular. 
 

During the end of my time in the studio, I was training our new Lead Instructor, Miss Christina. She will be working with your children in class, camp, workshops and during birthday parties. I am confident that your children will be in very capable hands with Miss Christina, we are very excited to have her! In the interim, Miss Megan, our Curriculum and Marketing Director, is going to fill in for me at the desk. She is excited to get to know everyone and can answer any and all of your questions. 
 

Thank you so much for making my time as Studio Director so rewarding. I wish you and your children all the best. 


Sincerely,

Miss Alexis 

Tags: Studio, Narberth, Miss Alexis

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