WIP: Upcycling a Decent Denim Garment

I slept poorly last night, thanks to some late-in-the-evening chocolate that my old ass can’t handle anymore. Afternoon chocolate? Yes. Evening chocolate? Too old!

However, during my many hours spent unexpectedly awake, I got to thinking about upcycled denim. Specifically, skirts and shirts. More specifically, professionally made skirts and shirts. Anyone who can sew can upcycle, but it takes some skill to create an upcycled garment that looks awesome, and not like a Grandma + craft room + Ritalin monstrosity.

So I’m fairly pleased with this most recent attempt at upcycling denim, sleep deprived though I may be.

Behold the upcycled denim bow tie blouse:


It needs some minor tweaking. I used my standard bow tie blouse pattern, but instead of hemming, I left the hem and armholes raw edged (with some top stitching for stability and to control the amount of fray), so I think that the length needs to be adjusted. I could also stand to make the neckline narrower, including the ties, though I do love a flamboyant bow tie on these blouses. I love the raw edges though, and the stabilizing strips that I added to the side and shoulder seams.


There’s also some patchwork on the upper right bust area to mend a hole.


So fun!

I’ve been struggling lately with the wastefulness of fashion design. It’s unsustainable to simply create new garments out of new fabric, especially when there’s no guarantee that any of the pieces will sell. I could keep making new garments that just pile up in my studio, useless and consuming. Or I could take one tiny step in a more responsible direction and try to create more pieces out of pre-existing, unwanted clothing.

The difficulty that I encounter with upcycling is how to create a cohesive collection that will offer similar, if not identical, pieces in multiple sizes. I guess that this is my first step; let’s see where it goes!

I plan on sorting out a couple of skirt styles next. And maybe another top.

Stay tuned!


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