Thursday, March 17, 2011


This was a fun project from last spring.  Thanks to a women's sewing organization in Turkey who has posted a link to this project on their website, this little project has garnered international fame.  (Well, at least I like to think so.)  If you missed it last year or you aren't Turkish, here's a little

Fashion Friendly Recycling!
I created this outfit using materials I had on hand.  Here's the before:

Before you see the after, a disclaimer:  sorry about the big, blue dates on most of these pictures.  I was between cameras, borrowing my husband's scuba camera.  I kid you not.

And now we see the after:
Big change, eh?  That's what recycling is all about.  

This outfit began with the pillowcase top.
This was the only part of the outfit that didn't make use of existing clothing.  It did make use of some fabric I already had on hand.   I love the bright colors in this fabric, and I like that the brown keeps them all grounded.  This fabric was deeply discounted, so I bought a lot of it.  Good stuff.
In fact, it's hard to find a fabric that won't coordinated with it.  I chose this cute, pink damask.
Love the way these two fabrics coordinate!  And that pink is just the way pink should be.

Pillowcase tops are so simple to make and have endless variations.   
I have no pattern for my pillowcase tops.  When I made my first one, I pretty much cut a hole in the top of an old pillowcase, wiggled into it to see if it fit, and based all my measurements on that using the fabric that I had chosen.  Ha ha!  I definitely have some mad sewing skilz.  Here's a great pillowcase dress tutorial, I just add my own variations like the contrasting fabric band around the bottom.  Also, I'm too lazy to trim the armholes with bias tape.  A pillowcase top is just a shortened pillowcase dress.  

Once I'd made the pillowcase top, I started thinking--a dangerous thing.  I thought, "This top really needs a matching pair of long shorts."  
So, I grabbed a pair of Endeavor's jeans that had a hole in the knee, and went at them with the scissors.  I cut the legs off, just above where the hole was.  I measured the circumference of the leg opening, and cut two pieces of my fabric to that width.  The two pieces were each about 5 inches high.  I folded them in half width-wise, and sewed them onto the raw edges of those jeans, like this:
This created a perfect "cuff", or trim.  I'm so glad I bought lots of this fabric.  I love it! 
But the jean shorts still needed a little somethin'- somethin'.  I cut out one of the flowers from my scraps (no pinking shears this time, I used regular scissors), and whip-stitched it onto the jeans.  (I used a little stitch-witchery tape to hold it in place while I was stitching.)  Love the frayed effect--a happy accident!
Still, the outfit was missing something.  That knowledge (and my husband's allergies) kept me up one night.  Finally, I leaped from my bed with a stroke of inspiration: this outfit needs a cardigan!  I dug through Endeavor's drawers until I found an old shirt with a stain on it.  Again, I attacked it with the scissors, cutting off a good six inches above the hem, cutting off half the sleeves, and cutting the bodice in half.  Then I made my own "bias tape".
I put "bias tape" in quotes because it's apparently not the real deal if it isn't cut on the bias.  Huh.  (This is nothing more than a 2" wide strip of fabric, folded and pressed so raw edges reach the center, then folded over the raw edges of the shirt and sewn.)  For anyone who is wondering, this outfit has held up under multiple washes, and we have not experienced strange stretching or shrinking due to the unbiased bias tape.
 This cardigan just had to have a ruffle.  I gathered my ruffle and sewed it onto the bottom edge, like this.
I loved the look so far, but still....something was missing.  Then I thought of all those cute little fabric flowers and yoyos I've been seeing attached to sweaters, purses, headbands......that was what I needed.  I googled "fabric flowers" and found this easy to follow tutorial for yoyos.  So easy!  I whipped these three up in less than 30 minutes and hand-stitched them onto the cardigan.  
I could only find two buttons in my sorry little collection that I liked, so I added that little pom-pom to the center of the largest one.  How fun is that?  Once the yoyos were on, I felt like the outfit was finally complete!
It was the perfect spring outfit to surprise Endeavor with on her birthday, last year.  
I'll be linking up to the following events:

Sugar & Dots What I Whipped Up Wednesday


  1. You are so darn crafty!! Love your creation!

  2. Pretty darn cute! :D (Bias tape, cut truly on the bias, comes into it's own on can get away with ongrain strips on straight lines like that. I loooove bias. :p )

  3. Very cute! What a sweet idea.

  4. This outfit is spectacular! I LOVE it!
    I would love if you came over and linked this project to my weekly Round Tuit party at:
    I have also just created a dedicated page for clothes upcycling projects. It has a long term linky list there and I'd love for you to link this up there too! Please do have a look on my 'clothes upcycling projects page'

    Have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  5. Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  6. Looks great! I've been upcycling my own clothes as well as my girls, might need to do something similar for them. Stop by sometime,

  7. That's an outfit my girls would adore! Very nice. I hope you'll link up to Make It Wear It at!

  8. Super cute. Wish I could sew!

  9. I think I am going to use the cardiagan idea for myself and use the jean idea for my daughter!! I always hate giving the boys jeans away and now I don't have to, I can just cut them up and make them pretty for her!!! I just love love this idea!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  10. Adorable!!! I need to try the pillowcase top and the cardigan. Thanks for sharing!

    Found you via CSI Link-up, would love for you to check out my blog at

  11. I absolutely LOVE this!!! Found you on the CSI Project and I'd love if you came and linked this up at Sew Woodsy!