The expo is February 24th -28th 2021 and I am teaching two classes:
One Needle Class: 1124 Upcycling with Embroidery FRIDAY, 4:00 - 4:45 PM (PST) SUNDAY, 12:00 - 12:45 PM (PST) Give old clothes a new look with machine embroidery! This class is centered around inspiration and learning techniques for adding machine embroidery to apparel.
3133 Upcycle Swatch Book Fabrics into a Zipper Pouch THURSDAY, 5:00 - 7:30 PM (PST) SATURDAY, 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM (PST) Swatch books are filled with beautiful fabrics that can be turned into something useful! Turn two coordinating fabric swatches into a small zipper pouch. You’ll learn how to make a lined, flat bottom bag with a zipper close. $5 project kit.
This year’s expo is virtual, so you can access the expo from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone! Purchased classes will also be recorded and available for a limited time after the live class.
Both classes I will be teaching are focused around sustainability and using your sewing skills to encourage upcycling!
My first class, Upcycling with Embroidery, is a lecture style class where I will be sharing projects, ideas and tips to add machine embroidery to old clothes. This class is open to all skill levels, and I welcome anyone to attend even if you don’t currently own an embroidery machine! One Needle Classes are $6, and 45 minutes long.
My second class is a project class, meaning you will need a sewing machine (preferably with a zipper foot) and iron/ironing board to do the project. Three Needle classes are $30 and there is a kit that will need to be purchased for this class, which is $5 and includes fabric and zipper for your project. This is a great class for beginner sewists who are looking to make a project with a zipper! I will be sending kits with fabric swatches, so you can see exactly what I use to make the bags that are in my etsy shop! Three needle classes are 2.5 hours long.
Registration opens tomorrow, January 12th! And please note, registration for classes with project kits will close February 2, 2021 to allow time for shipping, which includes my swatch book class.
If the expo is something you’ve been thinking about attending, or are already set to register, I hope you consider one or both of my classes! I would love to see you there!
Jeans are my favorite wardrobe staple. I wear jeans almost every day, and just about all them are skinny jeans. But it has been a great year to try different styles, like all the wide leg cropped pieces I’ve been making (here and here), and I have a whole box of secondhand jeans from ThredUp to create with!
ThredUp sent me a denim rescue box for another project, but since the box is 50 lbs of denim, I have a lot of jeans to work with! Rescue boxes are filled with unaccepted items for resale and unsold jeans from the site. In my box, there are a lot of jeans in great condition that are not my size and I plan on donating them. Since it is a rescue box, quite a few of the pairs are stretched out, or stained; completely unwearable in their current condition. I went through the box and there were a few pairs in my size, two that look and feel great! One is a pair of black skinny jeans, which I’ve been wanting for a while, and the other was this pair of Levis, which fit great except for the length! I was going to do a simple hem, but I thought this would be a fun moment to try something new.
Flare jeans came to mind and I started going down a little rabbit hole on pinterest. DIY flare jeans have been a popular tutorial for years with some of the most popular projects including adding a patterned fabric flare, or lace insert. While they look great, that isn’t the style I wanted for these jeans. I wanted a pair that looked a little more intentional, and I started seeing flare jeans made with denim inserts and embroidery, and really loved the idea. There are some beautiful pairs on Free People and Modcloth (sold out)!
I started looking at different embroidery designs and went through a few options. I wanted to do something like the inspiration pieces, with a full embroidered insert but couldn’t find the right florals, and decided to do something a little simpler.
I found a piece of denim remnant in my stash (from my very first pair of jeans!) that was a really close shade to my jeans. I also loved that this denim remnant had the raw edge, and while it doesn’t perfectly match the raw edge of my jeans, it still meshes well with the jeans.
Want to DIY your own pair? Here’s a quick step by step:
Mark the exterior jean side seam right under the knee. Seam rip the exterior seam up to this point, and reinforce the seam at the top so it doesn’t continue to unravel. I wanted my jeans to hit the floor when wearing heeled boots so I also let the hem down on my jeans (this is optional).
Cut a piece of fabric large enough for your embroidery hoop and trace the triangle for your insert before stitching. If you don’t want to add embroidery, you can cut inserts straight from your fabric. My insert measured 10.5″ x 18.5″ (the length of my insert + a little extra seam allowance)
Add your embroidery! Cut the insert out, and trim away interfacing. Pin inserts wrong sides together to jean openings. I pinned onto the original jean seam. At the insert tops, stitch up to the reinforced seam. If you are leaving your edges raw, you are done!
I want to get the edges a little rougher, so I’m excited to let them fray over time.
I really loved the fit of the jeans, and now love the added length so I can look a little taller than 4’10”! (Jeans photographed with one of my recent refashions!)
I am so excited to once again be working with Amy from Craft and Thrift Shop! Amy is so passionate about sustainable fabrics and it shows in the pieces she offers on etsy. Amy carries vintage, secondhand and deadstock fabrics and has a wide selection of prints and solids, and fabrics ranging from knits to cottons and silks! Thank you so much to Craft and Thrift Shop for sponsoring this post! All fabric in this post is from Craft and Thrift Shop on Etsy, and scroll down for a coupon code!
This year I started out really strong with my physical activity, and ran the Disney Dopey Challenge (48.6 miles in one weekend) with my Dad. It was a lot of training and once the race weekend was over I gave myself a break. Then COVID and stay at home orders started and motivation to work out really left my mind. Throughout the year I’ve been trying to get back on track, and within the last few months I’ve been figuring out a schedule that works well for me and I’ve been putting in a lot of effort to become consistent!
Part of my motivation is coming from making wardrobe pieces for this area of my life. I LOVE making activewear, and while I have been thrifting a lot of my active wardrobe, I want to get back into making workout clothes!
My goal with this outfit was to make some post workout gear; some fun pieces of athleisure! I came across the Arlo Track Jacket from Friday Pattern Company and fell in love! I’ve been wanting an easy throw on and go jacket, perfect for cooling down outside after a workout, or even before the workout when the body is just warming up, and this jacket looked perfect!
I chose to make it with this beautiful mauve scuba fabric from Craft and Thrift Shop. This fabric was awesome to sew with and the perfect weight for a track jacket. Amy is a fellow sewist and knows the important details to add to the fabric description, and seeing that this material had 20% stretch let me know my dream of this fabric as an Arlo Track Jacket was possible. Click here to see all the Scuba in Amy’s shop!
This jacket was a great pattern to make! It is a unisex pattern with three lengths and option for color blocking. It came together easy and the instructions were wonderful (no second guessing any steps!). I made a size Small in the short length and overall, it has the perfect fit. What really drew me to this pattern was the seam lines. I love the detailing, and love all the topstitching. This is a great pattern for color blocking, or using up scraps. I also love the generous side pockets!
I had a good amount of fabric left over and figured out it was juuuuust enough to make a pair of cropped Hudson Pants! This makes my fourth pair of Hudson Joggers, and my first cropped pair. I love them to pieces and love that I have an awesome set now!
To pull the whole look together, I made a Rumi Tank from Christine Hayes out of this beautiful ribbed jersey from Craft and Thrift!
Hello and welcome back to another blog post where I’ve scoured the internet for businesses doing things different and shared them with you! I really love putting resources like this together, and I hope you get something out of it like I do when finding these amazing companies.
This year has been a whirlwind. I think everyone feels that way. Holidays and gifts are very possibly the last thing on your mind. And if you aren’t gifting this year, consider treating yourself, supporting a small, sustainable business or sharing this post with a friend who may find a new company to love and support. And as always, if there is a business you think should be included in this list, let me know!
(please note different shipping times and each individual shop policy.)
Zero Waste Daniel (US): One of my favorite sustainable apparel companies! Zero Waste Daniel is leading the force for sustainable clothing, using fabric scraps in their apparel collections, and most recently, their mask collection!
Silly Girls Club (International): I’ve been following Silly Girl’s Club on Instagram for a while now and love the company’s fun fashion! This shop specializes in making clothes, fanny packs and other fun accessories from upcycled kids cartoon bed sheets!
Wasi Clothing (US): I found Wasi Clothing from a video on TikTok talking about working with deastock fabric! Their clothing is so cute and I really love the commitment to using deadstock fabrics and sustainable sources!
Grant BLVD (US): Apparel company where all the garments are made using reclaimed and deadstock fabrics! I really love their reclaimed screen-printed collection!
Archivist (International): Looking for a new classic button up to add to your wardrobe? These are made from upcycled luxury hotel linens! It looks like there’s more to come for this company – so keep an eye out!
Miracle Eye (US): An amazing business selling handmade clothes, and straight from their site, “We work with vintage deadstock recycled fabrics as much as possible to remain as sustainable & waste-free as we can”. I got lost by all the fantastic photos on their site!
Psychic Outlaw (US): These upcycled quilt jackets and bandana dresses have been inspiring sewists all over Instagram! You can send in a quilt of your own to be transformed or purchase one of their found quilts!
Nothing New Shoes (US): Classic style sneakers made with up-cycled plastic. The uppers, laces, tongue label, and footbed liner are all made of 100% recycled post-consumer plastic!
Erin Elsie (US): Really fun handmade apparel and accessories made with reclaimed apparel and fabrics!
Scenery Bags (US): So I don’t like to have favorites, but this one tops it for me with creativity and sustainability. Scenery Bags takes retired theatrical materials and turns them into bags based on the show they are from! They also make jewelry from stage floors! And to make this company even cooler, 10% of proceeds from every sale is donated to TDF to take kids to see theatre!
Off Chutes (US): Upcycled parachute and paraglider accessories! Wallets, key fobs, tote bags and more!
Friends International (Part of the Global Goods Partners) : Fair trade bags made from recycled tires! From their site, “Friends International aims to reduce the number of children living or working on the streets by providing stable jobs and sufficient incomes to their parents.”
The Upcycled Movement: (Ireland): Bags and accessories made from wetsuits! This collection of upcycled pieces also gives back – 10% goes to Seal Rescue Ireland!
Rareform (US): Rareform upcycles billboards into bags and accessories! Their upcycled products include surf board bags, cooler bags, laptop sleeves and more!
CrapBagBananaHammock (US): Upcycled game pieces – made into jewelry, coasters, keychains, ornaments, etc!
MyAlterEco (US): Upcycled jewelry, beautiful tin earrings!
Zass (US): Mother/Daughter team making gorgeous upcycled jewelry – check out their “Brew Collection“
Reasons and Rhymes (US): Reclaimed wood earrings – beautiful product and beautiful packaging!
CRAVE by CRV (US): Upcycled Jewelry and accessories made from old clothes and dilapidated kiddie pools!
Undone Clothing (US): Upcycled tape measure jewelry and accessories – my favorite from this shop is the upcycled film reel gift packaging!
Beeper Bebe (US): The sweetest stuffies and plushies! Each handmade piece is made with upcycled materials or eco friendly new materials. A stuffed octopus made from t-shirts? Yes, even as an adult I want one!
Green Toys (US): A toy company made 100% from recycled milk jugs! No glue, metal, screws or paint! They feature toys like vehicles, jump ropes, stacking and tub toys, etc!
Lionshed Designs (UK): Upcycled VHS tape notebooks! What did they do with the VHS tapes you may ask? Turned them into planters!
Couch Guitar Straps (US): Deadstock and Reclaimed fabrics make up some seriously awesome guitar and camera straps. They are made of at least 25% recycled materials, including deadstock fabrics and seatbelts! Shop also sells belts, wallets and drum accessories.
The Ugly Company (US): upcycled “ugly” fruit into dried fruit snacks! Food Waste is a serious issue and The Ugly Company is helping to combat waste by turning it into their products! They offer nectarines, apricots, kiwis, and peaches!
Hudson Houndstooth (US): A company for pet accessories! Handmade pieces made with reclaimed and recycled materials including bow ties, bandanas, tug toys and waste bag holders!
Sports Equipment/ Profession Based:
Vintage Golf Gifts (US): Some really cool products made from repurposed golf clubs! They have bottle openers, lamps, clocks and even furniture!
Recycled Sports Equipment – Uncommon Goods (US): I’ve bought a few things from Uncommon Goods, especially since they like to focus on small business and fair trade options. Here’s a whole section of items made from recycled sporting equipment! (Prices vary but I love the upcycled hockey stick snow brush and BBQ set!)
SeshNotStigma (UK): Recycled skateboard jewelry and accessories including keychains, phone cases and clocks!
BoardThing (International): This shop specializes in rings made from recycled skateboards!
Firefighter Turn Out Bag (US): Sells upcycled bags made from old firefighting gear. You can also send in your old gear for a custom bag! (As seen on Shark Tank)
Sword and Plough (US): Upcycled bags and accessories made out of repurposed military surplus and durable military grade materials. Purchases help empower veteran employment, reduce waste, and they donate 10% of profits to impactful veteran initiatives!
One more business to add to this list, mine!
I absolutely love creating bags and accessories with reclaimed fabrics and upcycled fabric swatches. There is so much textile waste in the world, I love helping bring new life to materials that would have otherwise been thrown away! You can shop my handmade pieces on etsy!
Gathering businesses for this list was really exciting. It was so fun to see how people are innovating their products and trying to make our planet greener and I really hope you can walk away from this list saying “no way, that’s so cool!” at least once!
If you know of another great upcycled/recycled business or want to share your own, leave a link down below! Be sure to tell us what you make and the best way to shop!
I’ve had so many projects this year that haven’t worked out. There are a whole bunch of reasons why; using the wrong pattern or the wrong fabrics, rushing projects or starting and losing motivation to finish, the reasons seem endless.
I wanted a project that had a good chance of working out. I wanted something fun and inspiring and not too difficult to make. I also wanted to use this tablecloth I just picked up on Poshmark! In my quest for using sustainable fabric and secondhand sources, I’ve been looking on sites like Poshmark and Mercari for tablecloths and sheets. I saw this piece on Posh but didn’t make a plan for it until it arrived. A tablecloth can have a pretty broad range of feel, and even if it says 100% cotton, there’s a chance of it being thicker, thinner, etc. This tablecloth was a great, medium weight, almost canvas like but a little lighter.
I decided to make a pair of pants and landed on the Lander Pants! I’ve made Lander Shorts before and they come together pretty easily, and I really like the fit so I knew these were just about fool-proof.
I am a skinny jean lover. I used to wear boot cut jeans growing up, but once the skinny jean trend started, I never stopped wearing them! But I like getting out of my comfort zone a little bit – like I did with this jumpsuit – and thought making a pair of lander pants would be fun!
My last pair of Lander Shorts were made in a size 2, so I made the pants in the size 2 as well. The size 2 fits really well in my hips, but has the slightest gap in the back waist. This happens with all of my pants and jeans, and honestly I just haven’t taken the time to figure out how to solve that problem. It isn’t a big deal, and I almost always wear a belt with whatever bottoms I’m wearing, but I wanted to mention it anyway.
I also really love the button fly on these pants. I used to dislike installing jean buttons on anything – jeans, jackets, etc. I was using the Dritz jean buttons because they were convenient to purchase but they were really difficult for me to install. Every time I hammered, the tops would bend, or the screw would bend making my buttons lopsided. Since I started buying a lot more supplies online this year, like my needles, I also started branching out for other supply options. I came across jean buttons from Wawak Sewing and couldn’t believe how great they came out! Just wanted to share that option for anyone else facing a similar issue!
I followed the instructions for the hem, but wound up cutting off 3″ from the bottom before folding up the final hem. For my petite friends – I’m 4’10” and cut the pattern for the ankle fit. I love these pants with flats, and I also really like them with ankle boots and heels, although I won’t wear these with them as often! These pants are bright and bold but they pair well with so many of the basics in my wardrobe – they fit right into my closet!
Happy Sunday! I’ve been busy with sewing projects and finally took a little time for a new refashion! Usually I post refashions on Friday’s but this one is done and I didn’t want to wait until next Friday to share!
I bought this shirt dress secondhand on ThredUp awhile back. I fell in love with the color and was happy to see the size was in petite, so it should really fit. When it arrived, I still loved the color but I wasn’t thrilled with how it looked on me – it felt a little boring. I kept it in my closet for a bit, hoping I would be inspired to wear it, but it just sat there. I really wanted to wear this piece and didn’t want it sitting in my closet any longer so I decided to refashion it! I knew making it into a top would guarantee me wearing it often, and I turned to a previous refashion for a little inspiration.
Back in February, I did a very similar refashion of turning a dress into a peplum top, and I loved how easy the process was, I wanted to do something similar for this top. I had this dress from Zara pinned as inspiration for a long time now, because I really loved how the peplum was connected to the bodice, giving it more of a layered look than just straight sewn on and wanted to recreate that detail with this top. It wasn’t a hard process, and I have the steps down below!
If you have a dress with an uneven hem, you will have to even it out.
Mark where you want your waistline to be. For me, it was right where the button placket ends. From this point, measure down 1″. Measure this point to the end of your even hem. Mine measured 14.5″. Use this measurement to continue to mark the top of the dress where your waistline will be cut.
Seam rip one side seam up to your new waistline and cut the bottom half off your dress. If you have an uneven dress hem, you can also cut off the hem.
On the bottom half of your dress, measure the halfway point, mark and cut. With right sides together, stitch one side together creating one long strip of material. Gather this strip to the length of your dress top. Once your strip is gathered, stitch strip ends right sides together and set aside.
On the top of your dress, fold the bottom up 1″ around the entire hemline. This fold will be very helpful later on.
With right sides together, stitch your gathered bottom to your top hem. I like to divide the gathered piece in 4ths, to properly align the sides and centers.
Fold the waist on the foldline from before, tucking the gathering under. I pinned on the front for show, and then switched my pins to the wrong side to sew. Stitch this with about a 1/4″ seam allowance, just enough to catch the waistline and gathering.
Complete the waist by topstitching just the folded edge, making sure not to stitch the bottom peplum.
Lastly, hem your peplum! I did a 1/2″ hem since my dress wasn’t long to begin with.
I love how this top came out and it is going to get so much wear in my wardrobe! The last step I wanted to do was to add buttons to the top pockets but I don’t have any matching ones at the moment. The pockets don’t need them, but I think they would be a cute touch. I photographed this top with the sleeves cuffed but it looks cute with the sleeves long as well!
I also created a video tutorial! Check it out below! (Music is Voyage by Ikson Music)
I’ve been re-assessing my wardrobe, and filling in with a lot more thrifted pieces than handmade! I haven’t been spending so much time on making clothing, and over the past few months I’ve spend a lot of time away from my studio to enjoy Drew being home. But since I’m home I’ve been trying to cut back on my fabric purchases to sew through what I already have. It’s been making me dive deep into my fabric stash and my refashion stash. I found this dress that was hidden away, already partially seam ripped, ready for a second look.
I wore this dress quite a bit in my early 20s. It was a great work dress, but I grew out of the cutesy style of it (and it was getting a bit tight and short!). I still love the print so I was happy to turn it into something else! Originally I was going to turn it into a high waisted gathered skirt with a zipper in back but I have a few skirts like that already in my wardrobe. I remembered I had the Rosari Skirt from Pauline Alice in my pattern collection and thought it would be a great style!
The original skirt of this dress was heavily gathered, so after removing the gathering, there was quite a bit of material to work with. I was able to cut the new skirt front, back and waistband from the original skirt. The pocket pieces were able to come from the bodice. I had to use extra cotton for the button placket facing and the waistband lining, but it all worked out well! I opted for gold snaps instead of buttons for a cleaner finish.
This was my second time making the Rosari Skirt, and it’s a really cute pattern. I had previously cut a size 36, and used the same pattern.
Over the years I have been taking a critical eye to my wardrobe and getting rid of styles that no longer suit me. I was really inspired by Marie Kondo’s method and Kondo’d our house last year. Every so often I go back over my wardrobe to upcycle/donate the pieces that no longer “spark joy”. Doing this has also very much inspired my sewing! I used to want to sew basics, and thought part of my sewing journey was creating the perfect handmade t-shirts and jeans. But now that I don’t have as much time for personal sewing projects, I don’t want to spend it sewing pieces I find a little boring. I love prints – especially floral prints- and that’s what gets me happy to sew. But with my wardrobe still needing basics, I’ve turned to secondhand shopping for everything I don’t want to make. ThredUp has made my secondhand journey so easy during this quarantine when I haven’t felt comfortable going to thrift stores. My shirt and shoes in this post are from ThredUp!
I’ve posted about ThredUp before, and it truly has become my go-to source for all things secondhand. If you are interested, you can get $10 to shop using this link! (My personal referral link, purchasing through here will give you $10 & I’ll get $10 to shop as well!)
And with so many thrift stores turning away donations during COVID, you can order a clean out kit from ThredUp for some extra cash or shopping credit for your clothes: link here.
I have a few more projects I’m working on, a new bag pattern (+ tutorial!), and another refashion that’s taking longer than expected. So hopefully my blogging will be back on track soon!
ThredUp recently came out with their 2020 Resale Report, which is a wealth of information about their company and the world of secondhand.
A few stats that were mind blowing right off the bat were as follows: in the next five years, the secondhand market is set to hit $64 billion in revenue, and by 2029 will be a bigger industry than fast fashion. These numbers are huge – and world changing.
There’s a lot about the fashion industry I don’t talk too much about here on the blog, but it’s something I am continuing to learn about every day.
I fight for sustainable fashion by refashioning and hand-making my wardrobe. I share this with the world in hopes to inspire others to do the same. I don’t have a refashion to share today, instead I wanted to take a moment to talk about one other piece of information that still makes me mad.
1 in 2 people are throwing their unwanted clothing directly in the trash. It has also been discussed in previous years that the average American throws away 80 lbs of textiles in a year. Now, let me start by saying, I am guilty of throwing away old underwear, socks, and old camisoles that lost their elasticity. While its been awhile since I’ve done this, I am not perfect in my sustainable journey but I’m on a mission to do better – and want to give you some resources to do the same!
(Please note: Each company may have different procedures and re-opening schedules for donations amid COVID. If you have questions or concerns, contact these companies directly)
Companies That Take Their Products Back
Companies that take their clothing back (and may give you something in return!)
Eileen Fisher: a brand that has already been making incredible leaps in sustainable fashion. They will take back your Eileen Fisher pieces and resell, mend or refashion. (And give you a $5 credit to their Renew Store). Check out the Renew Line and their Zero Waste art initiative Waste No More.
Patagonia: is taking back gently used Patagonia apparel and giving you credit in return (see the trade in values here). They accept clothing through stores or via mail. Patagonia created Worn Wear for repairing and recycling the returned clothing and gear, which I highly recommend following if just for inspiration.
For Days: this company has a very interesting plan to keep the circulation of their clothing under their brand. For Days will swap out your old For Days shirts for new ones, you can read more about it here. For Days works with the recycling partner, Recover, who turns their returned shirts into new ones, making their company a closed loop system. They also offer “Take Back Bags” which you can purchase and fill with any old (clean!) clothes you want to be recycled.
Coyuchi: is leading the way in sustainable bedding and closing the loop on their products in the process. You can send your Coyuchi linens back to the company to be repurposed by The Renewal Workshop, and in return get 15% off your next order. You can shop these 2nd Home textiles at their Point Reyes Store. Read more here.
Baggu: is recycling any nylon or canvas bags by recycling, repurposing, donating or selling to secondhand markets. Unfortunately, they don’t break down the percentage or qualifying factors for each distribution point, but it is an option to recycle some bags. Their site also says to email once sent back to the store and they will send you a discount for a new bag. More info here. In other news, they are currently selling reusable bags made from recycled sails!
Uniqlo: takes back their clothing and distributes it as follows: Clothing in good condition goes to refugees, disaster victims and others in need. Unwearable clothing gets recycled into refuse paper and plastic feul pellets for fuel. Read more here! According to their 2019 Sustainability Report, as of August 2019 they have donated 36.57 million items.
REI: is taking resale into their own hands by offering used outdoor clothing and gear online and creating a trade in program. REI has an extensive list of no-go’s, and there is currently a wait list for the program, but if your items are accepted, you can get an REI gift card for up to 20% of your items retail price. Hopefully with time this program will do even more, but it’s a great option for gear! Read more about it here.
Girlfriend Collective: is a brand I have purchased from and LOVE. They make leggings and other active wear out of recycled water bottles and have a program (ReGirlfriend) where you can send back your Girlfriend apparel to be properly recycled. You will have to pay for a shipping label ($7) but you do get $15 towards your next Girlfriend purchase.
Companies That Accept Clothes from Other Brands
Levi’s and Madewell: Both these companies work with the Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling campaign from Cotton. They will take back any denim in any brand and give you 20% off one item in return (Levi’s) or $20 off a new pair (Madewell). The denim is used as insulation (read article here and here for Madewell), however there is currently no specific program to reclaim the denim into new items. Levi’s is encouraging garment longevity by creating Tailor Shops to repair and customize your jeans. Madewell also does repairs and customization (read more here), but are putting in more promotion towards jean resale by partnering with ThredUp and offering secondhand jeans in select stores. (I should note: I asked Levi’s if their recycling program would accept denim scraps and they currently do not)
H&M: has had recycle boxes in their stores since 2013 for easy textile recycling of any brand clothing and condition (but please don’t donate anything wet or moldy) and even accepts scraps. Years ago, I donated a bag of scraps because I didn’t know where else to turn. Now, this is not my favorite company because it is the epitome of fast fashion, but H&M has taken strides to answer consumer requests for transparency and more sustainable practices. In 2019, H&M collected over 29,000 tons of garments (that’s over 145 million t-shirts) and according to their sustainability performance report, it was an increase of 40% from 2018. On page 50 of their report I found the following stats for where the recycled textiles go:
— 50–60% are sorted for re-wear or reuse. — 35–45% are recycled to become products for other industries or made into new textile fibres. — The remaining 3–7% that can’t be reused or recycled are destroyed (prioritising incineration for energy recovery where possible). Sending textiles to landfill is not an option.
When a company says re-wear or re-use, this usually indicates selling in bulk to another country. While that can help the economy in other countries, part of the problem is drowning other countries in the textile waste we created. There are pros and cons, but my personal takeaway for this program is to choose another option. The further along the world gets in our goal for sustainability, the more options there are. If you choose to drop off at H&M you will receive a 15% discount card.
Marine Layer: this brand will take your old t-shirts, as many as you want to send them, and they will turn them into new ones. For helping them get inventory, you get a $5 credit per shirt, up to $25. Cotton Tees are ideal, but they will take anything as long as it isn’t activewear. Just request a kit to recycle your tees! (And totally not encouraging you to shop more but their Re-spun collection is pretty amazing) .
Knickey: Remember when I said I’m guilty of throwing away old underwear? Well, Knickey knows this is a common problem and they are solving it! Request a shipping label and send in your old intimates! (This includes bras, socks and tights, for men and kids items as well!) They will get recycled into insulation, rug pads and rags, and you’ll get a free pair of underwear in your next order with the company! Read more here!
Harper Wilde: is also a company focused on intimates, and when you buy a bra, it comes with a recycle kit to send in your old bras for proper recycling! Some materials become yarns and fabrics, and some materials are downcycled into filling stock or padding. More info here!
Fair Harbor: is the place to send your old swimsuits to be recycled! This is a fairly new program so I’m not finding too much information about the recycling process, but you can send in any swimsuit for recycling – just request a label!
Nike: has had a shoe recycling program in place since 1990 called Reuse-A-Shoe. Their stores will accept any brand of used athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind – which becomes new Nike products, track and playground surfaces, basketball and tennis courts, and indoor synthetic and wood courts. This is just for athletic shoes (without cleats or spikes with metals).
Ten Thousand: has a campaign called, One In/One Out (in partnership with 2ReWear) to recycle used activewear from any brand. While you will need to make a purchase from this site to recycle old activewear, you will receive 10% off a future purchase! Nice Laundry, an underwear and sock company, does the same for socks and underwear.
Love Woolies: is a great place to send your old sweaters! This incredible company is taking unloved sweaters and turning them into hats, mittens and scarves, and has already saved over 10,000 sweaters! Send your sweaters here!
Terracycle: this is #1 place to recycle anything you can imagine, but it comes at a cost. Terracycle sells zero waste boxes that you can fill according to category (i.e. bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc) with items that some town recycling cannot dispose of. This is definitely a pricey option for recycling waste, but an option for those harder to recycle items.
FabScrap: for those of us working with textile and textile waste, FabScrap is the best source for recycling. You can recycle cuttings, headers, mock ups, samples, overstock bolts, production remnants and scraps. For those with a lot of waste, you can sign up for Fab Scrap’s pick up service. However, if you are a small hobbyist or just don’t have much to recycle, you can drop off your waste at both their retail shop and warehouse and it will be recycled for $1.50/lb. (Retail store will take up to 10 lbs, warehouse accepts more). I plan on using this service, and I am lucky enough to live within an hour to drop off my scraps (and shop at the same time!). The fabric is sorted by volunteers, some is re-sold, and unsellable material becomes shredded to create insulation, carpet padding, furniture lining, moving blankets, etc. (Currently, this recycling is in New York, Fab Scrap hopes to expand soon.)
I’ve talked previously about platforms where you can sell your own clothes, like Poshmark or Depop, but when you just want it gone, turn to people who will sell it for you.
ThredUP: this is my favorite second hand resource. But I also want to share more of what your clothes can do. When you choose to send clothing into ThredUP, you can choose to get cash or credit for your items that sell, or you can choose to donate whatever your clothes make to charities like Feeding America, Girls Inc, Wardrobe for Opportunity or Help a Mother Out.
ThredUP is quickly becoming a go-to partner for brands who want to work on their sustainability. They are working with brands like Reformation and Madewell to resell the brands products. And they created a program for companies that want to get a piece of selling secondhand in their stores like Macy’s, and Walmart. ( Resale as a Service ) Select Macy’s have small sections in their store filled with curated secondhand pieces that have been sent to ThredUp.
As mentioned above with Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and REI, companies want to take back their brands and resell on their own terms. These companies and others are using Trove to power the resale aspect of their businesses. It is an interesting company and just for educational purposes, I encourage you to check them out. As fashion companies continue to look for more sustainability (and more profit) options, I think we will start seeing more companies integrate resale on their own platforms.
The Renewal Workshop is one of the companies leading the way to help brands become more sustainable. They take discarded clothing and turn it into new products, recycled materials or recycling feedstock. As mentioned above, they work with The North Face and Coyuchi and here’s a list of the other brands they work with. They also have an online shop selling re-newed items.
While brands want to become more sustainable, they are turning to partners that have already been creating the technology to get there. Several companies are working with big and small retailers such as: Evrnu, Worn Again, and Renewcell.
Recycling old textiles can feel overwhelming when they are in bags taking over your home. Whatever the item may be, there is probably a resource to properly recycle it and I hope this list helped if you were looking for a solution.
There are many project ideas for old textiles, and so many places that will gladly take your donations. I encourage you to do you own research when the time comes to de-clutter or discard. Check with your local charities to donate gently used clothing, and ask your local animal shelter if they can use old bedding and towels.
I plan to set up a small basket/box in our basement with clothing that is past its prime so I can easily fight the urge to “just toss it”, even if it’s one lonely sock who lost its mate. It is great to see companies taking responsibility and helping to keep clothing in circulation or properly recycle, but real change also starts at home with millions of families doing their part as well.
If there’s a company you believe should be added to this list, let me know!
I haven’t been thrifting since February, and while NJ is starting to open back up, I probably won’t be comfortable going to a thrift store for a while. Thankfully when I went thrifting pre-Covid, I always picked up all sorts of pieces, for all seasons so I still have a good stash to work through!
When I saw these J Crew jeans in the store many months ago, I gasped. Liberty of London fabric – jeans that look like they would fit me – was it the ultimate score? Sadly not. Upon closer inspection, there was a lot of wear on these jeans, some staining and a less than stellar low rise waist. These were tagged as a size 25, which is one size up from mine. But after washing them and trying them on, they were so tight it was uncomfortable. So to the refashion pile they went.
I was originally planning on making a chambray top with the jeans but after planning it out I knew I would have to incorporate another fabric and I didn’t want to do that. A few months passed and the weather was getting warmer. One wardrobe item I am always in need of is shorts. I buy some of my shorts secondhand, and the last few years I was buying whatever was available in my size, not based on if I actually liked the style or fit. So I thought this would be a fun opportunity to make a pair of shorts!
I went with the Lander Shorts from True Bias since I already had the pattern and I love the button fly and high waist. I cut a size 2, and made no changes to the pattern.
Since the pants were tight, I knew I would need to add fabric. I wanted the front pockets to remain the same on the sides, so adding fabric to the crotch was the only option. To do this, I wanted to start off with a straight line, and cut the original crotch curve off.
This refashion was all about strategic cutting and mirroring. I really wanted to keep the details on the jeans; the side pockets, back pockets and rivets. I also wanted to leave the waistband as in tact as I could, since the buttonhole and belt loops were already made.
Here’s one tip I learned along the way: if you want to keep the back pockets from the original garment (without needing to remove them), use the “pocket markings” on the pattern to line up the pattern piece with your garment. This will make sure that the back pockets won’t tilt in the process of making a new garment.
Realistically, this isn’t a refashion I will do often. I use this method of piecing in other refashions, but never quite to this extent. It worked well because the busy print doesn’t show all the added seam lines, but doing this on a solid or large print would definitely show.
I really love these shorts, and love that I was able to save the pants. I absolutely love the prints from Liberty, but since I don’t want to buy fabric, it was a treasure being able to find something Liberty “in the wild”. This print is available, so if you wanted to re-create the look, you definitely don’t need to refashion some jeans! But I hope this post gave a little more in depth look on how to patch pieces together. I do wish some of the details were easier to see in pictures, like the pockets, so this refashion may not look like a lot of work at first glace, but they were definitely a labor of love!
Melissa is a talented blogger over at Trevor Loves Mommy, you may know some of her awesome refashions (like this top and this dress), and she recently came out with a pajama pants pattern – that’s free! (Sign up for her email list and the PDF will be sent to your inbox!) I absolutely love free patterns and love telling people about really great ones. I’m so excited to share this pattern with you!
For some reason, pajama pants are not a popular project in my sewing, which is weird because I actually need more pairs. I have one pair of flannel pants and one pair of cotton pants. Both pairs were gifted to me from my mom and I wear one or the other at least twice a week. Elastic waist pants are comfortable to wear, and so simple to make!
I’ve been getting really inspired by border prints lately and working border prints into apparel. There was one piece of material in my home that had a beautiful border print that I thought would shine on these pants; our basement shower curtain! We don’t use the basement bathroom much and I really bought this shower curtain with the intention to one day use it for a sewing project. It lasted two years before I took it down! The shower curtain came from World Market, and is a cotton/poly mix.
To use the border print, I wanted to be sure I didn’t have to hem the pants after cutting, so I made a toile first. This pattern comes in sizes XS-2XL and the pattern suggestion is to cut out your RTW pattern for pajamas (XS for me), but the pattern also includes sizing – and finished inseam! The inseam measurement helped me with cutting down the pattern for my short legs! On the pant “shorten or lengthen” line I removed 3” to start. After finishing my toile, I also removed 3” from the bottom hemline of the pattern. This way, I was able to keep the original hem on my shower curtain.
The only other change I made to the pattern was my elastic waistband. The pattern shows a single elastic waist, but I wanted a little more detail to mimic some of the RTW lounge pants I’ve been seeing. This is a really easy change; here’s a short tutorial! (Please note, I did not have to add any length to the waist, and elastic I used was 1/2″.)
Right after cutting the pants pattern out, serge or zig zag the raw edge of the waist. From the top of the waistband measure and mark 2.5” down.
Iron the serged edge down, and iron down on the 2.5” mark. Sew the pants together as instructed.
Once pants are stitched, turn the waistband down and stitch as follows: Leave a 3” gap on the back and first stitch the top 5/8” down. Next top stitch the bottom down. You may need to stretch the fabric a bit to fit evenly, but it fits. Next, stitch two more channels 5/8” from the top stitching line. I found it best to go in this order, but stitching the bottom down first also works well.
Once all three lines are stitched, feed elastic into each channel and stitch ends of elastic together. Once all elastic is in, stitch the 3” gap closed, and your pants are done!
This pattern was great to sew. The fit is awesome and it is so easy to cut length out for shorter legs. The instructions are detailed and clear, it is very apparent how much time was spent making this pattern! Not only is this a quick and easy sewing project, it is also a great pattern for beginners or if you are teaching someone to sew!