Have you ever turned your old denim to shorts or changed boring buttons in your old jacket? If yes, then you know what is upcycling and that it’s a great way to be original, save money, and our environment too!
Upcycling is cool
Known as creative reuse a long time before the term “upcycling” was first mentioned by Reiner Pilzin in an article by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994, this phenomenon became a trend at the beginning of the 21st century. In simple words, upcycling is when an item, which is no longer used, is remade into a better quality item and is used again. Amazing, isn’t it? To use or to wear something that is transformed from useless, unwanted products or waste materials is as cool as driving an electric car. It indicates that you like being unique and that you are aware of environmental issues. If you put the word “upcycled” in the search on the popular Etsy site, you’ll get over 230.000 results!
Do it yourself
There are many upcycling techniques that could be easily learned from the internet and done at home. The choice for tutorials on Youtube is huge! You can learn to renew various items and furniture, reinvent clothes, jewellery or shoes. You can even make art from found objects. The feeling of satisfaction of making something yourself is very rewarding. If you would like to try to upcycle a piece of clothing you no longer wear, but you’re a total beginner in sewing, start from simple projects. Changing buttons in your old coat or shortening a dress that is not suitable for your figure is also upcycling. Look for inspiration on Pinterest or Google images. Be creative and make your wardrobe unique.
My personal projects
I have started an upcycling project on our Instagram page @bebravetextiles and transformed five pieces of clothing. I dyed my old “Calvin Klein” dress to black colour, because it was stained and I was no longer wearing it. I used “Dylon” dye, which you just pop in the drum of your washing machine and run few cycles. I was more than happy with the result!
My second project was about making a top and a skirt from a dress that was too small for me. I replaced the zip with bright orange flower shape buttons for the top and made few incisions on the sides, so it fits me perfectly now. For the skirt, I had to repair the zip, which was cut in half when separating it from the top. I also shortened it and gave the waist a nice finish.
My old long-sleeved shirt became my third project. The collar of it was badly stained, so it was already in the box with the scraps of fabrics. I found the solution and removed the collar completely, transforming the shirt into sleeveless and collarless blouse.
Another exciting project was about making a classic white men’s shirt into a blouse. I don’t like wearing white colour clothes in general, so I dyed the shirt to pink watermelon colour. Then I removed the collar, the sleeves, narrowed and shortened it. The result was better than my expectation!
Small changes matter
We’re all aware of the negative impact of the fashion industry and we won’t threaten you with statistics and numbers. It is clear that we are buying too much. There’s a great way to check if your desire to purchase a new item is instantaneous and unnecessary or do you really need it. Put that item in your dream box and come back after a week. If you’ll still feel that your life would be better having it, then make a purchase. By buying less and upcycling your old clothes you’ll create a more sustainable closet. It will benefit the Earth, your wallet and will bring uniqueness to your look.