Sunday, January 3, 2010

Old to New

In the spirit of the new year, (and just because I really like it,) I'd like to chat about recycling. Not the kind of recycling you do for your plastics, metals, and papers, but recycling clothes, jewelry, and even junk, into new and gorgeous items.

One of the books I received for Christmas was, "New From Old: How to Transform and Customize Your Clothes." What a great book! I'm excited to start re-exploring the art of recycling old stuff into fresh, new things I'll actually wear.

If you're like me and like to dabble in art or creative pursuits, restructuring clothes or accessories is something to look into. Wearable art is a fantastic way to literally wear your art--on your jacket, dress, skirt, jeans or around your neck. I've made jean skirts into art, restructured shirts and am currently working on creating jewelry from straws and yarn (sounds scary but it's pretty--I'll post pics soon). All you need are some old clothes or accessories (excuse to go to the thrift shop), cheap paints, and any other artistic finds you have on hand or find by the side of the road (beads, found metal objects, fringe, etc.).

Of course, one of the best things about this kind of endeavor is that your saving materials which otherwise would end up in the landfill. It's the ultimate recycling plan and lots of fun. Here's are just a few online sites which will help get your creative juices flowing:

  • is a great place to learn more about restructuring clothes and household items. Lots of tutorials, pictures, and threads of the forum for anything you might be interested in learning more about.
  • Etsy--This is a hugely popular crafty site. The products here are for sale but you can use photos of finished products on this awesome site to inspire you. There are often also patterns for sale if you want to create things from scratch.
  • Altered Couture magazine--This magazine makes me salivate. You can find it locally at Joann Fabrics and Barnes and Noble. It's full of absolutely beautiful altered clothes. A little pricey though--I always hold out and use my 40% off coupon at Joann's.


smg said...

Kali repurposes clothes. One of the neat things she made was a dress out of an old casual blazer of Mikes and some black dress pants. It turned out really cute and she even wore it to a friends wedding. smg

ChicChick said...

That's awesome. I look and look at all the pictures but most of what I've tried to "reconstruct" has had to go in the rag bag. My sewing skills aren't what Kali's are apparently! But I do love to add paint/stamping/beads/etc., to clothes. So fun!