Upcycled Clothes, it's like recycled couture!

Imagine using your discards to make high quality, original clothes! You will smile when you see your hip and modern kid, and your wallet will sigh a breath of relief. It’s time to rethink couture…

Moms in Birmingham love to dress their children. Stroll around any given shopping center and you’ll see some cute outfits on the tots of the town. The next big thing to hit Birmingham is upcycled clothes. This is how it works: you use old clothes and repurpose them to make unique boutique style clothing for your kids. It’s sustainable and fashionable!

Upcycling is nothing new. Turning hand-me-downs into something amazing and high quality is the new angle. Upcycled garments are often superior in quality to mass manufactured clothing. The very nature of upcycling requires a very hands on approach to design and construction, and the result is kiddie-couture!

Jayme Lillie designs some amazing upcycled clothes. She taught us the ins and outs of upcycling. She’s even contributing to a book being published soon, Crafty Planet Goes Green. She also loaned us some of her fabulous frocks for our NBC fashion show, thanks Jayme!

Why bother to upcycle? It’s green, it gives a garment a second chance at life and keeps it out of landfills. The fashion reason? Originality. It’s extremely difficult to reproduce upcycled garments in any kind of large quantity, ensuring that the garment one chooses is one of a kind.

Can “regular” people do it at home? Are there any easy first projects?
The beauty of reclaimed clothing and accessories is that there are many projects beginning crafters can accomplish. It takes a bit of planning and a willingness to think outside the seams. A beloved T-shirt can be transformed into a useful eco friendly grocery tote with just a seam and scissors. A lovely vintage pillowcase can become a sweet dress for a little girl with just a bit of ribbon. An outdated wool sweater can be easily felted in the washing machine and made into a handbag, legwarmers, a scarf… whatever you can imagine!

Some wonderful starter projects:
Kids Lounge pants from a t-shirt

Men’s button down shirt into a girl’s dress

And for those of you who prefer to stay away from the needles… we have a few local recommendations for crafty help! These ladies can sew, so you can let them inspire you!

Melanie at Polkadots and Pinstripes (she turned an ugly man’s shirt into a cute girl’s dress, magic!)
Donya at the Pitter Pat House (ask about her mens’ tie project!)
Candice at Butterflies and Rainbows (crafty and creative!)

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