Monday, 16 November 2009

Clothes recycling week...Day 1...Dress to Skirt Upcycling...

To keep myself amused this week I'm going to tackle the mountain that is my fabric stash - lots of it is fabric and lots more of it is clothes that need altering or something mending on them to be wearable again.

Apparently 900, 000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away in the UK each year (thanks, myzerowaste!).

I've had a big clear out of my wardrobes (yes that's a plural on the wardrobes!) and have ebayed some stuff, charity shopped the rest, collected the un-giveawayable stuff (like tights and socks and extremely holey things) to think up uses for later (maybe stuffing for something? Fairy wings from the tights stretched over some wire??!) and kept some things that I really loved but needed to be turned into something more usable - these are the things I'm going to tackle this week!

This dress/tunic thing was in the sales when I still allowed myself into establishments where the word 'sale' is displayed (always deadly) It was down from £10 to £1 so I obviously had to have it, despite it being perhaps the most unflattering item in the history of the universe.

So I'm going to turn in into a skirt. Here's how I did it...

1. cut a little hole through one layer (the layer facing inwards towards your body when you're wearing it)of the material in the hem at top (luckily this dress already had a hem at the top I could use otherwise I would have had to make one first).
2. attach a piece of elastic to a safety pin, thread it into your hole and wriggle it all the way through the hem until it comes out of the hole again. (if you were being v. environmentally friendly you could make a drawstring, maybe out of the straps to tread that through in the same way - but I had the elastic so I may as well use it)
3. figure out how tight you need the elastic then pin the elastic together and sew it.
4. try the skirt on and see how it fits, if it doesn't unpick your elastic stitches and try again, if it does then sew up the hole you made for the elastic.

5. cut off the straps, you could do this first, but I was being cautious, if I didn't like it as a skirt it may have been remodelled into a top instead.
6.If you're me, then dew up the hole you accidentally made when cutting the straps off.
7. Wait for the summer, when a lovely thin cotton skirt will be lovely to wear! As you can see I did try to take a picture of myself wearing it, which is especially difficult if you're reluctant to take off any of your clothes or let go of the blanket you're also wearing cos it's soo cold! So there's a picture of it on it's own too!

See you tomorrow for something else made from something else!


  1. WOW!! for re-purposing an unwearable! :)

    And how I hear you about the huge stacks of clothes-to-be-mended or fixed or...?

    I actually had a mini-beach-dress I made years ago that always had 'double duty' as a skirt (actually I like it as a skirt much better too!) The straps were quite handy for occasionally wearing as a dress/changing in public etc. The straps were thinner and I just tucked them in!

    You absolutely must give us another pic in the summer when it's warm enough to take a proper pic! :)
    And I'm thinking you might even wear this as a strapless dress with a belt perhaps?

  2. Cute! X3 You should take a picture of you up close! (it's kinda hard to see...)

    Ahh...I was thinking of doing something with my mountain of unused clothes as well! (not clothings; clothes) Any good ideas?

    Keep up the good work, Sooz! XD


  3. Yay for you for re-purposing!

  4. Very nice, Sooz!!! Seems like it doesn't need a great skill!
    I wanted to recycle two blouses too, putting them together to make one new, but I haven't an appropriate sew machine so I abandoned my proposal because sewing by hand was too much difficult for me... :(
    So I gave one blouse away in a swap market... the other is still in my wardrobe and I don't know what to do with it...
    Oh and now I have a sock with a big hole... my favourite warm socks! What can I do with them? Every suggestion is welcome! ;)

  5. Thanks Layla, I'll definately (try) to remember to take a photo in the summer - do you still have your beach dress? I'd love to see a pic! Your belt idea is a good one - it looks like a tent when it's on cos it just goes out and is Really unflattering, a blet would definately make it nicer! Wooo two garments in one!

    Thanks for dropping by Sagojyou (I'll reply to your email soon (ish) lol!) I know it's hard to see - it's difficult to take a photo of yourself! specially when it's going dark and you're wearing your new skirt over 2 other layers of clothing!
    There are lots of good ideas on websites like or craftgrrl (google it) for repurposing clothes - what kind of things do you have? I'm sure you can come up with something, judging from your lovely bag and badges you seem pretty creative! I'm aiming to post something I've made form my clothes mountain each day this week too, so maybe you'll get some ideas there! :)

    Fankyooou Julia :D :D :D

    Hey Danda :) It was really easy - I'm a bit of a messy sewer and don't have much patience for it so this was perfect for me!
    My favotrite sock has a hole in too - it's blue and black stipes - I'm most upset! What about making a sock monkey? or cutting the toe off, putting your thumb through the big hole and making them into fingerless mittens? I also cut some of my socks into rings to use as hair bobbles (not sure people in other countries call hair bobbles bobbles, like hair elastic things to tie it up with!) but that only works with socks that look like they won't unravel! Anyone got any more ideas for socks? :)

  6. That is a darling skirt. Definately worth the 1 pound price + a little extra work.

  7. Thanks very much condo blues :)


Thanks for visiting!

You can also find me on Twitter @secondhandsusie and Facebook