Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wardrobe refashion

There are not words for how much of a clotheshorse I am. It is a rare week that passes without the purchase of a little something lovely. Luckily for my budget I am a whiz at finding a great bargain. Once or twice a year I sort through everything and give away a large chunk, things I haven’t worn in a while and don’t foresee wearing again. I gave to Goodwill several times, but recently found a local no-kill animal shelter that gets the majority of its funding from sales through its on-site thrift shop.

While I feel good about helping to support homeless kitties and pups, I would also feel good about reducing my footprint when it comes to my clothing purchases. Most clothing is shipped around the world before it gets to us. Countless insecticides are used to grow the crops used in making the fabrics, chemicals used for dyes, fossil fuels used to power the factories and to ship the items to our stores, and workers are exploited in the name of profits.

A full wardrobe of completely organic and locally-made clothing is not in the cards for me right now due to cost and availability, but I realized that I have the tools and the skills needed to make good with much of what I’ve already got -- a sewing machine and my imagination.

Wardrobe refashioning is a great way to give new life to old clothes. You can do some pretty major things to make an old piece unrecognizable -- making a flowing skirt into a flirty top, for example -- but even small and simple changes can breathe new life into a garment.

I recently found a stack of tee shirts that I never wore because I hated the necklines. They were all really high, above my collarbone, and thick-banded. Regular tee-shirt necklines, I suppose, but not my style. With an overseas vacation looming, including lots of warm-weather outdoor activities, I needed tees but didn’t want to go out and buy more when I had this stack sitting there. So I just changed the necklines. I cut the offending collars off, reshaped them into boatnecks, and refinished the seams with my trusty Hello Kitty sewing machine. They came out exactly as I was hoping, and it was a very easy project -- perfect for me because I am a novice sewer.

Since then I have looked at my wardrobe in a new light. I will still give items away if I can’t think of a new purpose for them, but now I can think of so many new purposes! Skirts from old pairs of jeans, tops from scarves and scarves from tops, making a dress into separates. It doesn’t stop with clothes, though -- make curtains out of bed sheets, pillow shams out of curtains, napkins out of pillow shams, and modern quilts out of anything. Check out Wardrobe Refashion for inspiration.

The only limit is your imagination!

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