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

Teen Fashion Bootcamp | New Location!

Posted by Julia Yosen on Thu, Jun 05, 2014 @ 09:11 AM

Fashion Bootcamp BullisWe are excited to share that our Teen Fashion Bootcamp will be offered at Bullis School this year! In this award-winning program, aspiring fashion designers will spend 3 weeks learning to execute a collection. From sketching and draping to sewing and modeling, watch your fashion dreams come to life! Campers will gain real life experience by going on a Fabric buying field trip and participating in a workshop led by, Jay McCarroll, season 1 winner of Project Runway.

As an exciting culmination to the program, campers will have the opportunity to model their designs for friends and family.  Camp includes a fashion sketchbook, a take-home sewing kit, and transportation for the field trip. Additional materials fee for shopping field trips-approximately $50. This immersive program is for kids looking to expand on already learned machine sewing skills or those who have never touched a machine. Our counselors are trained to work with campers of all levels.

See what Jay McCarroll has to say about the Teen Fashion Bootcamp program:

 


Ready to join us for this fabulous summer camp program? You can register by visiting the Bullis Summer Programs' registration page here.  If you have questions you are welcome to call the studio to speak with Miss Alexis at 610-660-9600 or contact us here.

We look forward to a fabulous and inspirational summer with your young fashionista!

Tags: Maryland, Bullis, Summer Camp, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, Summer, Fashion Bootcamp

Agnes Irwin School Students Awarded The Handwork Studio Scholorships!

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Wed, May 28, 2014 @ 11:30 AM

Agnes Irwin School


Anna and Morgan, students at The Agnes Irwin School in Bryn Mawr,were selected as winners in the GenHERation pilot program. Anna was awarded The Handwork Studio $250 scholarship for an essay she wrote about creating a nonprofit organization to increase access to education in developing countries. Morgan won The Handwork Studio Design Challenge, which involved submitting a sketch of an article of clothing that promotes female empowerment. Her chic suit submission was inspired by the evolution of women’s clothing and will be made into a pattern that will be used at The Handwork Studio’s summer camps. We are so honored and grateful to have been a part of this amazing opportunity!


GenHERation is a female empowerment startup for millennial girls that was founded by Katlyn Grasso, a junior at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. GenHERation -provides girls the opportunity to work with national corporations and nonprofit organizations to implement their own advocacy campaigns to address community issues. Currently, GenHERation is running a pilot program with more than 200 girls in the Northeast area of the country. For more information about GenHERation visit www.genheration.com.

Tags: Design, Events, GenHERation, Summer Camp, education, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, The Handwork Studio, Summer, activities

Teaching Young Fashion Designers | Fashion Bootcamp

Posted by Megan DiFeo on Fri, Apr 04, 2014 @ 07:00 AM

Fashion Bootcamp with April Johnston

April Johnston, our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Instructor and Project Runway All Star, is back this week with more information on our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 12-15. 


Today's video is all about why it's important to start teaching aspiring fashion designers at a young age. Our Teen Fashion Bootcamp is a 3-week immersion program taking campers through the entire process of building their own collections. Click here to watch her video!

April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - 
register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  

Got questions? We've got answers. Simply pop open window down in the corner to chat live or drop us a message!
Know someone who might enjoy this video? Please share this post with them! You can also call Miss Alexis at the studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

We'll see you next Friday with another video from Miss April.

Tags: Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Sewing, education, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion

Project Runway All Star leads Teen Fashion Bootcamp

Posted by Megan Collier on Sat, Mar 29, 2014 @ 01:15 PM

We are honored that national fashion designer and Project Runway All Star April Johnston will be taking the reigns of our popular Teen Fashion Bootcamp for kids ages 11-16.

We wanted to offer you the opportunity to get to know April a little better. Click the video below to see our Q+A session with her. We'll be sharing another video next Friday to talk about our Teen Fashion Bootcamp Program in more detail.



April will be leading the program in our Rosemont location only and space is limited - 
register today to reserve your seat for this special fashion opportunity.  

Got questions? We've got answers. Simply reply to this email and let us know how we can help! Know someone who might enjoy this video? Forward this message to a friend! You can also call us at the Studio Monday-Friday from 11 am - 7pm at (610)-660-9600.

Make sure your subscribe to our blog over on the right hand side to get all our blog updates and the next video from Miss April!

Tags: Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Sewing, education, Teen Fashion Bootcamp, Fashion