Saturday, August 08, 2015

An Upcycle Sewing Lesson

A few times a year we show up at a favorite resale shop for their Huge Frocking Sale... it's an event, a happening, a great place to build a stylin' wardrobe, and save cash. This time we went with the idea of fulfilling some back-to-school needs, hoping to score a vest, and travel bag. But I don't suggest visiting resale shops with too specific an agenda, because you never know what might capture your heart and imagination. No vest for Max... bummer. No travel bag for Alex... we have a back-up plan. But we did score a sewing lesson and design opportunity for Maria!

Meet Marty, of Marty-O custom clothing. She had her booth and sewing table all set up, under the big top, in the midst of the Huge Frocking Sale, and she generously invited Maria to join her for an introduction to machine sewing and to also design an up-cycled utility apron... buttons, lace, trim, belt loops, ruffles, and fringe all artfully added to an old mini-skirt... this is DIY fashion meets function!


Maria embroiders, so she has some sewing experience, but she was thrilled to step up to the next level, because Marty is such a patient and enthusiastic instructor. With gentle guidance, and sound advice, Maria added the red ruffle to the camo print-mini skirt. I was especially happy to pick up the tip about raising the back of the sewing foot, when approaching a thick section of fabric... such an obvious, yet ingenious, trick for making a smooth transition between fabric weights!

What is upcycling? Before you toss it, before you donate it, or recycle it... see if you can't reuse pieces to make something new, better, unique, your own. See Marty's website for examples, and I keep thinking of the fabulous upcycling we love from Calamity Kim!

I've been collecting vintage handkerchiefs to make a scarf, or to appliqué onto a quilt, but this light and lacy jacket, refashioned with a coat tail of hankies, has me rethinking my options... Upcycling makes old things new, and fashion fun. A sewing machine makes it all faster, and easier, a Serger would be great, too, but there is plenty that can be done with just a needle pulling thread. Maria asked if we could try this at home, please I think the wool skirt we found at the sale, maybe the gauze dress from Marty's dollar bin, will make excellent foundations for some upcycled creations.

Haute couture, anyone? Marty and her client were designing a fabulous and frou frou tutu tulle coat... a little ensemble for the Playa.

When you upcycle you save resources, enjoy creativity, express your own style... so put a bird on it, add a gear, turn it upside down, give it a new life and make it your own.

2 comments:

  1. I want to learn more of this. I need to learn patience and more attentiveness to details. It is so inspiring and I love it so much! I'm thinking about back-to-school clothes shopping for Amira and the last thing I want is McClothes. I don't have the skills yet, but I do desire to learn!

    Thank you for sharing this! It's so inspiring and lively!

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  2. Beautiful idea to start children on their sewing adventure. Love the words in your introduction. We do remember all our teachers and learning these skills. Thanks for sharing!

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