Back in the 60s, it was called being thrifty. I can remember going for my Thrift Badge at Girl Guides. It was no big deal, as you tended to do most of the things anyway.
Back in the 30s and 40s (I wasn't around then), I think it was called being frugal. My mother said they used to make clothes from what ever they had. Here's a photo of my Mum in a skirt she made from a tablecloth in about 1945. Oh, I wish the photos were in colour.
I don't know that any of my clothes were made from pre loved items, (Tell me if they were, Mum) but they were home made. As you've read in a previous post, all I wanted was store bought clothes.
During the 19th Century, being frugal was a way of life. You were either frugal or wasteful.
More money during the 60s and 70s led to the availability of more commodities and no need for a simple, thrifty or frugal lifestyle. That trend has increased to this day. We truly are a throw away society.
Even though recycling began to take place in the 70s and 80s, it didn't, in the main, involve clothes. It is only in fairly recent years that reusing clothes has become trendy. Refashioning, repurposing, upcycling, transforming, what ever you care to call it, using pre-loved clothes has become fashionable.
Last year was the first time in my life that I had ever sewed an article using a pre-loved piece of clothing. My daughter asked if I would turn a favourite baby doll t-shirt dress into a bag. My daughter didn't get quite the reaction she had hoped for. I think I was rather negative. But if I make a mistake, there's no going back. I don't have a pattern. And my non-sewing (at that time) daughter, You can do it, Mum. If you can make.... this will be easy. You just have to... And so my first upcycled project was a bag.
You might ask why I was negative about upcycling the dress into a bag. I was taught to sew with rules. There was only ever one way to sew something: the right way. The rules of sewing were ingrained. Refashioning meant breaking some of those rules and making something in an unorthodox way I was certainly not used to. However, I was chuffed at how the bag had turned out.
My next venture into upcycling, again came at my daughter's request; turning one of her an old aerobics costumes, into some swimming costumes for Barbie and Ken. Again, I don't think I was overly positive when I was asked. After trying to adhere to the old rules, I ended up just hacking into the costume, pulling pieces around the dolls and hand sewing. Here are the results and again I was pleased with how they turned out. The owners of the dolls' clothes haven't complained about how they are sewn.
My daughter was on a roll and asked me to transform her wedding dress into a smart day dress for her to wear to the wedding of good friends. Eeekkk...that meant cutting into her wedding dress. Again, I was not overly positive to begin with, but we were both thrilled with the result. Head on over to Tash's blog, Little Ladybird, to hear her thoughts on our wedding dress transformation.
Funnily enough, I didn't find any of these projects stressful. I may have been negative and argued that it couldn't be done, but once I made the first cut in the fabric, I found that I quite enjoyed the process. My daughter was teaching me to think outside the square, to be more adventurous and that it's OK to bend the rules.
I'm now finding that I'm loving refashioning clothes!!! Thanks to my daughter's encouragement, I now feel quite confident about taking pre-loved garments and turning them into something different. When I begin a refashion now, I don't always know what the end result will be and I'm now OK with that. With each refashion, I am finding it easier to think of new ideas. The more refashioning I do, the more ideas I have for the next refashion. You can see more of my refashioning projects here. Here's a couple of recent ones.
I'm having so much fun refashioning, I might never sew from new fabrics again. Hmmmm... I take that back. I have a HUGE stash of new fabric. Besides, I've just won a $30 voucher to Whimsy Couture, a site with lots of PDF sewing patterns. I'm going to have fun spending my voucher. Thanks Whimsy Couture and thanks Jill, from Creating My Way to Success for hosting the giveaway.
Jill has a fabulous ongoing themed link party just for Clothes Upcycling Projects. If you refashion clothes, link them up. I get a steady flow of traffic from Jill's Upcycling Link Party. As of today, there are 259 projects linked up. It's well worth a look!!!
Another good upcycling site, is the Refashion Co-op. You can become a contributor to this blog just by signing up and agreeing to post at least once a month. After posting to the Refashion Co-op, I get a lot of traffic to my blog.
Do you know of any refashioning sites? I'd love to hear...