Clothing + Fashion 2008_0523amoursansanguish

Published on May 23rd, 2008 | by Leslie Richard

95

Girl Reconstructed: Upcycling Old Clothes

amoursansanguishReduce, Reuse, Upcycle! In the wild wonderful world of crafting you know these are our way of life, in spite of what the mega big box craft stores would like us to think. So this week I set a goal: what can I do with only thrifted pre loved mAmour Sans Anguishaterials?

Second hand stores are gleaming with craft finds like retro sewing patterns, stacks of fabric, old curtains, sheets and clothes. Clothes that not even your grandmaw could love anymore…but what if all these things could be reconstructed into something new? Craftalicious designers like Amour Sans Anguish and Supayana take discarded and way out of style garments and turn them into brand new eco fashionista dreams. Layer upon layer of eco couture and smart redesign. While so many are singing the praises of new fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo and peace silk – the most eco savvy choice is actually the fabric that requires nothing new to be produced, cutting out the intensive waste it takes to grow, break down and weave the fibers. While this might not be the #1 choice for those who are chemically sensitive, it is the most gentle on our sensitive earth.

Supayanagirl reconstructedOnce you begin deconstructing fulgy clothing you will find that all the supplies you need are right there! Elastic, yarn, lace, and a plethora of fabrics & patterns to choose from- to mix, match and create your own indie style beauty.

My first project was this strapless sun dress, which started out as a clogger riverdance puff sleeve frill collared mess. I took apart the top half of the dress, sewed the belt in(which ties in back), and then added the button trim from another old yellow polka dot top.I think it’s agreed that no one wants to wear that heavy 70’s polyester fabric anymore, since it is like wearing a non breathable chemical suit (think boy in the bubble), but vintage polyester can make fabulous trim on hemlines, seamlines, and anywhere you want to add pizazz! Next I want to tackle some of those 80’s prom dresses!

Share your reconstruction ideas here, and if you have  cool pictures of your eco construct email us at kelly [@] importantmedia.org so we can ogle your skills and feature our favorite one!

Photo/Image: Amour Sans Anguish, Supayana


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About the Author

I live and breathe everything eco , from organic gardening, organic food, to green crafting, minimalist decorating and nature made art. On an average day you can find me planting seeds, loving on my kitty, working on my eco fashion store The Oko Box (www.theokobox.com), and blogging about something green. I love promoting eco lifestyles and participating in changing the future, for a greener earth. xoxo



95 Responses to Girl Reconstructed: Upcycling Old Clothes

  1. Cindy says:

    Awesome post on upcycling old clothes! My mom taught me how to use “hand me downs” as material for new dresses in the ’70’s. Here’s tip for the re-cycled garment designers – flip the material over – sometimes the pattern is brighter on the “wrong side.” Love the dress – nice work!

    Cindy

  2. Cindy says:

    Awesome post on upcycling old clothes! My mom taught me how to use “hand me downs” as material for new dresses in the ’70’s. Here’s tip for the re-cycled garment designers – flip the material over – sometimes the pattern is brighter on the “wrong side.” Love the dress – nice work!

    Cindy

  3. Cindy says:

    Awesome post on upcycling old clothes! My mom taught me how to use “hand me downs” as material for new dresses in the ’70’s. Here’s tip for the re-cycled garment designers – flip the material over – sometimes the pattern is brighter on the “wrong side.” Love the dress – nice work!

    Cindy

  4. SuperNick says:

    I’m in love with your posts! I’m going to try my hand out in sewing for the first time in 27 years with similar ideas. I hope mine come out half as good as yours!

  5. SuperNick says:

    I’m in love with your posts! I’m going to try my hand out in sewing for the first time in 27 years with similar ideas. I hope mine come out half as good as yours!

  6. SuperNick says:

    I’m in love with your posts! I’m going to try my hand out in sewing for the first time in 27 years with similar ideas. I hope mine come out half as good as yours!

  7. Becky says:

    Reconstructing old clothes isn’t a new thing for me (spent almost a year at Wardrobe Refashion, and after a bit of a break am very much looking forward to the next sign-up period!), but as a slight fabricoholic, this was a good reminder for me that I don’t always have to buy new! And great pics in here– very inspiring designs.

  8. Becky says:

    Reconstructing old clothes isn’t a new thing for me (spent almost a year at Wardrobe Refashion, and after a bit of a break am very much looking forward to the next sign-up period!), but as a slight fabricoholic, this was a good reminder for me that I don’t always have to buy new! And great pics in here– very inspiring designs.

  9. Becky says:

    Reconstructing old clothes isn’t a new thing for me (spent almost a year at Wardrobe Refashion, and after a bit of a break am very much looking forward to the next sign-up period!), but as a slight fabricoholic, this was a good reminder for me that I don’t always have to buy new! And great pics in here– very inspiring designs.

  10. Jenn says:

    Upcycling crafters unite! I love doing this although I don’t yet make clothing there have been many bags and gifts I created out of upcycled or repurposed material. Love it!!

  11. Jenn says:

    Upcycling crafters unite! I love doing this although I don’t yet make clothing there have been many bags and gifts I created out of upcycled or repurposed material. Love it!!

  12. Jenn says:

    Upcycling crafters unite! I love doing this although I don’t yet make clothing there have been many bags and gifts I created out of upcycled or repurposed material. Love it!!

  13. Carrie says:

    These clothes make me feel inspired to try sewing some recycled clothing again. I’ve tryed before and it’s been “less than stellar”.

  14. Carrie says:

    These clothes make me feel inspired to try sewing some recycled clothing again. I’ve tryed before and it’s been “less than stellar”.

  15. Carrie says:

    These clothes make me feel inspired to try sewing some recycled clothing again. I’ve tryed before and it’s been “less than stellar”.

  16. Hey Carrie- I have sewn many “less than stellar” outfits myself – I am so glad my new inspiration can spread! I am determined to learn to sew better & think out the box 🙂

  17. Hey Carrie- I have sewn many “less than stellar” outfits myself – I am so glad my new inspiration can spread! I am determined to learn to sew better & think out the box 🙂

  18. Hey Carrie- I have sewn many “less than stellar” outfits myself – I am so glad my new inspiration can spread! I am determined to learn to sew better & think out the box 🙂

  19. Barbara says:

    Although not as fashion forward as these examples, I’ve had great luck using thrifted adult clothes to make clothes for my daughters. Taking advantage of existing seams, I’ve been able to whip up skirts and pants for my little ones for almost no time and money!

  20. Barbara says:

    Although not as fashion forward as these examples, I’ve had great luck using thrifted adult clothes to make clothes for my daughters. Taking advantage of existing seams, I’ve been able to whip up skirts and pants for my little ones for almost no time and money!

  21. Barbara says:

    Although not as fashion forward as these examples, I’ve had great luck using thrifted adult clothes to make clothes for my daughters. Taking advantage of existing seams, I’ve been able to whip up skirts and pants for my little ones for almost no time and money!

  22. oh cool Barbara! I didn’t even think of how items can be converted across age & gender barriers! I can see a stretchy yoga pant leg becoming a little girls tube dress by just adding a strap 🙂

  23. oh cool Barbara! I didn’t even think of how items can be converted across age & gender barriers! I can see a stretchy yoga pant leg becoming a little girls tube dress by just adding a strap 🙂

  24. oh cool Barbara! I didn’t even think of how items can be converted across age & gender barriers! I can see a stretchy yoga pant leg becoming a little girls tube dress by just adding a strap 🙂

  25. Ronnie says:

    Leslie:

    I love the idea and love the dress, very nice! I may try it with pillows, something easy before I move into wearable fashions.

    Ronnie

  26. Ronnie says:

    Leslie:

    I love the idea and love the dress, very nice! I may try it with pillows, something easy before I move into wearable fashions.

    Ronnie

  27. Ronnie says:

    Leslie:

    I love the idea and love the dress, very nice! I may try it with pillows, something easy before I move into wearable fashions.

    Ronnie

  28. Pat Foster says:

    Wow! We are trying to promote the idea of thinking before buying anything new. On http://www.looklovely.net we have written about charity shops, mending, caring for clothes, but upcycling is a new idea.

  29. Pat Foster says:

    Wow! We are trying to promote the idea of thinking before buying anything new. On http://www.looklovely.net we have written about charity shops, mending, caring for clothes, but upcycling is a new idea.

  30. Pat Foster says:

    Wow! We are trying to promote the idea of thinking before buying anything new. On http://www.looklovely.net we have written about charity shops, mending, caring for clothes, but upcycling is a new idea.

  31. Pat Foster says:

    The current edition of (British) Vogue magazine shows a white blouse with pink buttons (on front cover). It is worn with a pink bead necklace. It makes me think that one could change the buttons on a blouse from a thrift shop and with little effort have a very striking garment.

  32. Pat Foster says:

    The current edition of (British) Vogue magazine shows a white blouse with pink buttons (on front cover). It is worn with a pink bead necklace. It makes me think that one could change the buttons on a blouse from a thrift shop and with little effort have a very striking garment.

  33. Pat Foster says:

    The current edition of (British) Vogue magazine shows a white blouse with pink buttons (on front cover). It is worn with a pink bead necklace. It makes me think that one could change the buttons on a blouse from a thrift shop and with little effort have a very striking garment.

  34. oooh Pat! That is such a great observation. Makes me want to replace buttons on my clothes now. What an awesome way to give new life to a shirt 🙂

  35. oooh Pat! That is such a great observation. Makes me want to replace buttons on my clothes now. What an awesome way to give new life to a shirt 🙂

  36. oooh Pat! That is such a great observation. Makes me want to replace buttons on my clothes now. What an awesome way to give new life to a shirt 🙂

  37. Nikki says:

    For all of the knitters out there, I saw somebody with skeins of yarn that had been upcycled from rescued sweaters. Just take the sweater apart and roll the yarn up.

  38. Nikki says:

    For all of the knitters out there, I saw somebody with skeins of yarn that had been upcycled from rescued sweaters. Just take the sweater apart and roll the yarn up.

  39. Nikki says:

    For all of the knitters out there, I saw somebody with skeins of yarn that had been upcycled from rescued sweaters. Just take the sweater apart and roll the yarn up.

  40. Trudy Wood says:

    I love the idea of using old clothes to make new ones, and this articlwe was just what I was looking for. But, I’m a complete sewing beginner, so is there any standard patterns that you guys use or would recommend that i could start myself off with before going ‘freestyle’?

  41. Trudy Wood says:

    I love the idea of using old clothes to make new ones, and this articlwe was just what I was looking for. But, I’m a complete sewing beginner, so is there any standard patterns that you guys use or would recommend that i could start myself off with before going ‘freestyle’?

  42. Trudy Wood says:

    I love the idea of using old clothes to make new ones, and this articlwe was just what I was looking for. But, I’m a complete sewing beginner, so is there any standard patterns that you guys use or would recommend that i could start myself off with before going ‘freestyle’?

  43. Hey Trudy!

    I would recommend this book: Generation T 108 ways to transform a t-shirt.
    This book has bunches of no sew and beginning sew projects all made from t-shirts, some of which are really adorable projects! It’s totally a beginner upcycle dream come true!

  44. Hey Trudy!

    I would recommend this book: Generation T 108 ways to transform a t-shirt.
    This book has bunches of no sew and beginning sew projects all made from t-shirts, some of which are really adorable projects! It’s totally a beginner upcycle dream come true!

  45. Hey Trudy!

    I would recommend this book: Generation T 108 ways to transform a t-shirt.
    This book has bunches of no sew and beginning sew projects all made from t-shirts, some of which are really adorable projects! It’s totally a beginner upcycle dream come true!

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  49. Stephanie says:

    Wow! What a great post and great designers. I adore your creation!! I have been collecting from thrift and vintage shops for sometime now…eventually I hope to find the time to reconstruct some of those. =)

  50. Stephanie says:

    Wow! What a great post and great designers. I adore your creation!! I have been collecting from thrift and vintage shops for sometime now…eventually I hope to find the time to reconstruct some of those. =)

  51. Stephanie says:

    Wow! What a great post and great designers. I adore your creation!! I have been collecting from thrift and vintage shops for sometime now…eventually I hope to find the time to reconstruct some of those. =)

  52. kate says:

    glad Ive found your site it is good to know that iam not the only one using recycled materials for use around the home.Has anyone started to use linens for houshold projects yet? Ive made lots of new things like napkins pillowcases and t towles just to name a few.

  53. kate says:

    glad Ive found your site it is good to know that iam not the only one using recycled materials for use around the home.Has anyone started to use linens for houshold projects yet? Ive made lots of new things like napkins pillowcases and t towles just to name a few.

  54. kate says:

    glad Ive found your site it is good to know that iam not the only one using recycled materials for use around the home.Has anyone started to use linens for houshold projects yet? Ive made lots of new things like napkins pillowcases and t towles just to name a few.

  55. Julianne says:

    I’m marking your site to add to my list.
    Great reading.

  56. Julianne says:

    I’m marking your site to add to my list.
    Great reading.

  57. Julianne says:

    I’m marking your site to add to my list.
    Great reading.

  58. Pingback: Making it on your own… « Living Green In Rockville, MD

  59. Susie says:

    Thoughtful post and well written. Please write more on this if you have time.

  60. Susie says:

    Thoughtful post and well written. Please write more on this if you have time.

  61. Susie says:

    Thoughtful post and well written. Please write more on this if you have time.

  62. apronsugar says:

    love it! you need a website!

  63. apronsugar says:

    love it! you need a website!

  64. apronsugar says:

    love it! you need a website!

  65. karla says:

    great stuff, innovative, gorgeous designs. reminds me of a modern edge on what the heroines of 17th century classical literature would have worn.

    love it

  66. karla says:

    great stuff, innovative, gorgeous designs. reminds me of a modern edge on what the heroines of 17th century classical literature would have worn.

    love it

  67. karla says:

    great stuff, innovative, gorgeous designs. reminds me of a modern edge on what the heroines of 17th century classical literature would have worn.

    love it

  68. Laura Dietrich says:

    I have begun to use old knits and T’s that don’t fit anymore to make new things for my daughters. They love the idea that they are getting to “wear Mommy’s clothes”.

  69. Laura Dietrich says:

    I have begun to use old knits and T’s that don’t fit anymore to make new things for my daughters. They love the idea that they are getting to “wear Mommy’s clothes”.

  70. Laura Dietrich says:

    I have begun to use old knits and T’s that don’t fit anymore to make new things for my daughters. They love the idea that they are getting to “wear Mommy’s clothes”.

  71. Hi There!
    What an awesome post 🙂 I co-Own a upcycled clothing business and am absolutely obsessed with crafting beautiful clothes out of other people’s cast offs…there is a satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful in this way that you could NEVER gain from going and buying something from say ‘Topshop’ that is just as expensive (if not more) and that is worn my thousands of people! A massive shout out to all those clever peeps that have realised the alternatives 😀 WOOOOOOOOO!

    Rebekah (www.sawdustanddiamondsclothing.com)

  72. Hi There!
    What an awesome post 🙂 I co-Own a upcycled clothing business and am absolutely obsessed with crafting beautiful clothes out of other people’s cast offs…there is a satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful in this way that you could NEVER gain from going and buying something from say ‘Topshop’ that is just as expensive (if not more) and that is worn my thousands of people! A massive shout out to all those clever peeps that have realised the alternatives 😀 WOOOOOOOOO!

    Rebekah (www.sawdustanddiamondsclothing.com)

  73. Hi There!
    What an awesome post 🙂 I co-Own a upcycled clothing business and am absolutely obsessed with crafting beautiful clothes out of other people’s cast offs…there is a satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful in this way that you could NEVER gain from going and buying something from say ‘Topshop’ that is just as expensive (if not more) and that is worn my thousands of people! A massive shout out to all those clever peeps that have realised the alternatives 😀 WOOOOOOOOO!

    Rebekah (www.sawdustanddiamondsclothing.com)

  74. Jennifer says:

    I have been saving up some old clothes for along time and it’s great to see more and more people jump on the upcycling band wagon. With three children I see so many unwanted clothes lying in the free clothing places, like churches and so many other organizations. It’s great to know that something can be done wih them.

  75. Jennifer says:

    I have been saving up some old clothes for along time and it’s great to see more and more people jump on the upcycling band wagon. With three children I see so many unwanted clothes lying in the free clothing places, like churches and so many other organizations. It’s great to know that something can be done wih them.

  76. Jennifer says:

    I have been saving up some old clothes for along time and it’s great to see more and more people jump on the upcycling band wagon. With three children I see so many unwanted clothes lying in the free clothing places, like churches and so many other organizations. It’s great to know that something can be done wih them.

  77. qwerty says:

    wow! my new hobby is taking ugly old shirts (that maybe I thought were super cool a few years ago, or that were thrifted or hand-me-down) and turning them into hopefully-less-ugly ‘new’ shirts. quite a bit less ambitious than the stuff on the sites you linked to, which will definitely serve as inspiration!

  78. qwerty says:

    wow! my new hobby is taking ugly old shirts (that maybe I thought were super cool a few years ago, or that were thrifted or hand-me-down) and turning them into hopefully-less-ugly ‘new’ shirts. quite a bit less ambitious than the stuff on the sites you linked to, which will definitely serve as inspiration!

  79. qwerty says:

    wow! my new hobby is taking ugly old shirts (that maybe I thought were super cool a few years ago, or that were thrifted or hand-me-down) and turning them into hopefully-less-ugly ‘new’ shirts. quite a bit less ambitious than the stuff on the sites you linked to, which will definitely serve as inspiration!

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  81. Danielle_victoria_jacobs says:

    can you give me the steps for making this dress. i have a highschool fashion designing project and i would love to make a dress like this:)
    please and thank you

  82. Kayc_85 says:

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ummmm okaayyyyyyy !!…

  83. josie hull says:

    if you have any tips on how to do this that woudl be so great, thanksx

  84. Tess Home says:

    do you sell your clothing to stores? i have a shop and have been looking for someone .

  85. Tess Home says:

    do you sell your clothing? i have a shop in NJ and would love to have your clothing to sell it fits my shop perfectly!

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  87. JuliaSophia says:

    I have been re-fashioning clothing since the mid 70’s when a favorite home ec teacher gave us a project to make a “new” item out of an existing garment. Loving fabrics as I do, thrift stores are a gold mine for collecting silk shirts/dresses for “new” slips, linings, pj’s etc. Recent cashmere sweater finds have turned into fingerless gloves, caps, and beaded pillows. I’ve purchased some very “un-beautiful” garments just for the buttons and lace (yards and yards of beautiful stuff). Don’t ya just love it? Thank you for sharing. Please, buy local, buy American.

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  90. HS says:

    My hobby is usung old clothing to make bags and hot pot holders and trivets. I love it.

  91. Tina says:

    Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without

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