Clothing + Fashion 2008_0523amoursansanguish

Published on May 23rd, 2008 | by Leslie Richard

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Girl Reconstructed: Upcycling Old Clothes

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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



  • http://lampworkdiva.blogspot.com Cindy

    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

  • http://lampworkdiva.blogspot.com Cindy

    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

  • http://lampworkdiva.blogspot.com Cindy

    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

  • SuperNick

    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!

  • SuperNick

    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!

  • SuperNick

    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!

  • http://sew-and-so.blogspot.com/ Becky

    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.

  • http://sew-and-so.blogspot.com/ Becky

    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.

  • http://sew-and-so.blogspot.com/ Becky

    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.

  • http://chuckastone.blogspot.com Jenn

    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!!

  • http://chuckastone.blogspot.com Jenn

    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!!

  • http://chuckastone.blogspot.com Jenn

    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!!

  • http://www.adchiclet.com Carrie

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

  • http://www.adchiclet.com Carrie

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

  • http://www.adchiclet.com Carrie

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

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • Barbara

    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!

  • Barbara

    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!

  • Barbara

    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!

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • Ronnie

    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

  • Ronnie

    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

  • Ronnie

    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

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.looklovely.net Pat Foster

    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.

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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 :)

  • http://www.engbynik.etsy.com Nikki

    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.

  • http://www.engbynik.etsy.com Nikki

    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.

  • http://www.engbynik.etsy.com Nikki

    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.

  • Trudy Wood

    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’?

  • Trudy Wood

    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’?

  • Trudy Wood

    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’?

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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!

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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!

  • http://www.theokobox.com Leslie Richard

    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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  • http://www.compulsivecrafter.blogspot.com Stephanie

    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. =)

  • http://www.compulsivecrafter.blogspot.com Stephanie

    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. =)

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