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  • Writer's pictureanupcycledartist

Hand Me Downs Don't Bring Me Down

Did you know that millions of tons of textile waste are produced yearly that end up in landfills while only approximately 15% of them are recycled? Furthermore, during the decomposition process, textile waste produces methane gas, pollutes our air, soil, and the toxic chemicals and dyes pollute our groundwater. There are some ways to combat this problem such as wearing our clothing longer, purchasing less, and my favorite - upcycling what we already have available. Now before I was ever aware of this problem, I was already upcycling clothing and you may have been, too. For example, did you ever cut a pair of your long pants, especially jeans, into shorts and wear them? Did you ever cut the sleeves or the bottom portion of a t-shirt or sweatshirt off and wear it? Did you ever cut the toe parts off of your striped, white athletic socks so you could wear them with open toed shoes or sandals? Yeah, I never did that, but it does sound interesting...


This week I am going to show you an example of an upcycled shirt and pair of shorts that I designed. Unfortunately, I upcycled both a few years ago, so I don't have any photographs of them in their original state. However, I was able to find a photo of the shirt that is very similar to the one shown below.



The first thing that I did was cut off the collar and both sleeve cuffs. (You'll see further down below what I did with these cuffs.) Then I cut off approximately 7" from the front right bottom panel so that I would achieve an asymmetrical hemline. After cutting what I wanted removed, I dyed it deep pink using Rit dye in a 'lobstah' pot on my stove. After this process, it was embellishing time! 😁 I found a patch that was given to me by a friend (Hey Yoni!) that I sewed on and then added a strip of orange, black & white ric rac trim that I tacked on. I added a white polka dot cuff from fabric I had left-over from a project and replaced the original buttons with some vintage 60's style buttons (thank you, Amy!). Because I cut the panel shorter on this side, I had to realign the buttons on the bottom so that the shirt would button down flat. No biggie, just a minor adjustment.



On the other front panel, I sewed on a long strip of aqua Kokopelli designed cotton fabric, a denim heart patch (Thank you, Robin!), and a couple strips of more left-over purple and green fabric. On top of these two strips of fabric, I sewed on more vintage buttons and stuck a beaded safety pin on it.



And now for the final result... Drumroll please...



As you can see, I added a black diamond designed fabric for the other cuff. I, personally, love how it came out and you will see that I am wearing it in the photo of me on the bottom of this page.

 

And now for the denim shorts. I cut the leg parts off first and unlike I did many, many years ago, I cut them a little above my knees. Back in the day, I would cut them so short that the inside, front pocket linings would hang below the bottom cut edges. We don't wear our shorts that way anymore for a good reason. 🤣


Remember the cuffs that I cut off of the shirt? Look where I put them! And what is that above the cuffs that is tacked on? Why, it's pieces of lace doilies that my mother had on some of her furniture.



On the hem, I used thick, off-white embroidery thread and just hand stitched small, close, vertical stiches all the way around to cover the turned up raw edge. I used blue embroidery floss to hand sew on the cuffs using primitive stitching. On top of the cuffs (one cuff on the front left leg and one on the rear right leg), I cut different sized circles of old denim pieces and sewed running stitches using shiny, silk embroidery floss to attach, as well as embellish. I added some small, old buttons in the middle of each group of circles, too. You'll be able to see it in the close-up photos below. Of course, I wasn't satisfied with just leaving well enough alone. I needed color - bright colors naturally. So, I added color by using more embroidery threads. This made me happy.





I am definitely excited to start upcycling more clothing that I have and besides, I still have that shirt collar just begging to be used and embellished. 😉



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4 Comments


tedflooringallery
Apr 06

This is so cool, I love it!

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anupcycledartist
anupcycledartist
Apr 07
Replying to

Thank you very much. I appreciate your compliment.

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barbarabryant2010
Apr 03

Wow that is beautiful! And saving our planet too!! 🥰❤️🥰

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anupcycledartist
anupcycledartist
Apr 03
Replying to

Thank you so much! I'm always happy when things come out well and helping to save the planet is always a good thing. 😎😍

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