I’ve been shopping. It’s so much easier to cut up other people’s clothes (although the police have asked me to stop) than my own, so I took off to my local charity shop, St Christopher’s Hospice. Can you believe they were having a 50% off sale? That meant I spent just £25 for 3 bags full of clothes, including a real-suede man’s jacket.
I’m listing the clothes below, with some thoughts about what I might do with them, and then over the next few months I’ll upcycle them and report my efforts. My super-booby size 14 figure means the biggest challenges are often simply around fitting, but that’s one of the best things about upcycling clothes – that you get to make it fit perfectly!
Do you have a project you’re working on, with plenty of photos and process? Let us know – we’ll be featuring the most interesting ones right here!
1. A little green top
This cotton lawn top said it was size 12, but it’s a lie. It barely fit my size 10 dressform, and merely laughed at my size 14 one. But no matter – I was drawn to it mainly for its spring-green colour and the lovely pintucking detail on the front.
You can see my progress on this here: Upcycling project – Green cotton top
2. A red cotton dress
This is a size 10 dress, nicely made but a bit of a devil to iron – I can see why someone would throw it out while still in good condition. I picked it out for its excellent seams, midriff, pretty sleeves and godets.
It ended up being converted into a hooded cape at the first Frockcycle event! The dress was raised up so that the bottom of the button placket was just below the neck – with the top of the dress now falling down the back. Laura removed the sleeves and some of the neckline, and then the remainder was simply sewn into a hood shape. With her bright red lipstick, she looks quite the part, doesn’t she?
3. A flowered cotton skirt
This is a skirt from Dorothy Perkins, not very well-made, but I liked the loudness of the print. That shape would put 10lbs on me, but I think it would make a cute little waistcoat. If I can keep the yoke in place as a collar so much the better.
4. Little brown tunic
This is an old Primark item, better-made than I’d have expected. It’s made out of viscose and said ‘hand-wash only’, so I washed it at 50 degrees… The photograph isn’t doing the fabric justice – it’s a chocolate brown part-shiny-part-weave which I quite liked, and had good sleeves and pockets. Absolutely no idea what I’ll do with it yet!
5. Green men’s shirt
This almost-neon green Ben Sherman shirt is in perfect condition and beautifully made. I’m going to try to do what Junky Styling did below. I think they’ve turned the shirt sideways and then reorganised the parts…
6. Men’s suede jacket
I’ll probably try to turn it into a suede skirt or a woman’s jacket. I’ll need to practice my suede-sewing skills first, though!
7. Green cardigan
This old Next cardigan attracted me for its cabling and fringe. The cabling would look good embedded into a plain top, and there’s always a use for knitted sleeves. However, having played with it, I think I’m going to create an upside-down jacket and combine it with a denim jacket. More on that shortly.