Published on February 13th, 2011 | by Julie Finn1
Sew Subversive Teaches You How to Upcycle Clothing with Style
Are you a crafter who’s interested in refashioning clothes? You ought to be because refashioned clothes are clothes that fit you perfectly, flatter your body, and look exactly the way that you want them to look. You need to have few techniques in your hip pocket to get going.
You want to be able to hem a pair of pants. You want to be able to lengthen a pair of pants. You want to be able to change the leg style of a pair of pants (Tapered-leg jeans? Just…no). You want to be able to change the fit of a shirt.
You want more than just tailoring, though, and if you’re really into upcycling clothes, then what gives you the biggest thrill is the personality that you add to your wardrobe. You want to know a hundred different ways to embellish a T-shirt or a pair of pants. You want to know a thousand different ways that you can make something new from a sweater, or a T-shirt, or a pillowcase.
You want these things? Then you need to read Sew Subversive.
Sew Subversive isn’t brand-new, but I like it so much because it’s practically iconic in the world of upcycling clothing. It’s written to the layperson who really wants to get into DIY design and clothing reconstruction, why it includes instructions for threading a bobbin, but most of the projects are classics, stuff that you can make as sensible or outrageous as you wish, and for that reason, I declare this book a mandatory read.
Sew Subversive has projects that range from the simple (even no-sew!) such as walking you through the process of a T-shirt transfer; to projects that are nearly as easy but have big impact, such as reverse-applique and decorative top-stitching; to projects that may take a little practice, such as altering a hoodie or hand-stitching embellishments to pants.
Since these projects have instructions, but not patterns, they’re all pretty friendly to a wide range of sizes, and the models who show off the fashions are also a range of sizes, which is nice. There are no projects specifically for children, but almost everything would work for children. The instructions for turning a child’s pair of pants into a skirt are obviously identical to those for turning an adult’s pair of pants into a skirt.
And yep, even though you may already know that I basically spend my life turning stuff into skirts for my girly-girl daughter, I still learned a couple of new techniques here. Denim skirt with a bottom ruffle, here we come!