Upcycled: Maximizing Your Material

Ok, so I know upcycling is great and saves time and money, but adult shirts don’t offer much fabric, right? How can I turn them into anything substantial?

Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe. A Series by Feather's Flights (feathersflights.com) and Sew Thrifty (sewthrifty.org)

Today is all about debunking the myth that clothes don’t offer you much in terms of yardage. If you’re sewing for your 10-year-old kid, yes, it will be difficult to use anything other than a XXL adult garment, but there’s still plenty of sewing to be done for younger kids and babies. Plus, I’m here to give you some fun ideas for using up those scraps – and those can be used for any age!

When I first started upcycling, I would shop thrift stores searching for XL or XXL shirts since those items do offer the most fabric for your dollar. However, as I have upcycled more for my kids, my shopping has changed. While I still look for the largest shirt, sheet, pant, etc., I have learned that even small garments can go a long way for kid’s clothes. Plus, if it’s a graphic or pocket I am trying to save, the smaller sizes work better when cut down to sew up children’s clothing.

Heather used one shirt to make three, yes three (!) kid’s articles.


Later this week and next I’ll show you how to transform a size Small shirt into a baby dress and headband! Plus have a bit leftover for a fun applique or pocket.
Baby Lap Dress {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Still have some leftover scraps of fabric? You can put it to good use! Here are some ways I have used small pieces of fabric:

Put on a Pocket

If you have a 5″ square of fabric left from any project, you can save it to use as a pocket! My son helped me design these pocket tanks and tees for my Etsy shop and now that he knows I can add a pocket, he asks for one every. single. time. These are all done with knit fabric, but you can use most any fabric to make a pocket on your kid’s shirts (or shorts, or pants!).

How to use up upcycled scraps - Put on a Pocket! {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Accent with an Applique

I LOVE reverse appliques! This technique uses knit fabric (my fav!) under the shirt (or pants) to create a slightly different look than a traditional applique. Here’s Lioness rocking a reverse applique as she takes on bad guys.

Captainess America {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org|Her headband is also made with knit scraps from old t-shirts.

If you have leftover fabric from a woven garment – dress shirt, jean, or something else, you can use those for a traditional applique.

Fill a Floor Cushion

Ok, you have tiny pieces of your upcycled garment left, can you just throw those out?! They won’t be too bad for the environment, right? Now that you’ve used up the majority of your t-shirt, don’t feel bad about throwing some fabric away. But, if you want to take your upcycling a bit further, consider using all those unusable, tiny scraps to fill a floor pillow.  I like this free pattern from Living with Punks.

You’ll have to wait until the end of the month to see mine, but the secret is out…I filled them completely with knit scraps from all my projects over the years!

How have you used your fabric scraps for clothing or accessories for your kids?

Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe. A Series by Feather's Flights (feathersflights.com) and Sew Thrifty (sewthrifty.org)

Beginning tomorrow I will be sharing specific projects using upcycled material and free patterns.  I hope you’ll join me and don’t forget to check out what Heather at Feather’s Flights has for you today: basic tee hems and basic tee neckline.

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