Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Trimming my waste: Week 22 (quick refashion)


Goals - Week 22:
  • Clear out closet clutter 
  • Repurpose what cannot be donated or easily recycled
  • Have a little more guts when it comes to "refashions"

I went to bed on Friday night with a head cold and woke up Saturday feeling dazed. You know when you feel too crappy to leave the house, but not so sick that you can't function? Yeah. That. Which means I made myself tackle one small task so I'd feel like I'd accomplished something. The task: put the heavy duvet cover away for the summer. 

This involved clearing out the bag I use to store it... and what did I find in there? Old clothes, most of which I dropped into a donation box on Sunday. And the two shirts that are the stars of this post. I've been storing them for over a year and as soon as I saw them, I remembered why! 


This is the kind of clothing that's hard to get rid of... because who would want it? The pale pink (yes, it's very pale pink) indian cotton shirt is at least 20 years old. It has odd sentimental value (and is incredibly soft), but it stopped fitting well a long time ago. The other shirt, which feels silky ... well, see below:


I bought this on a whim at a market about 3 years ago. It was $10 and I should have known better. With one (very gentle) hand wash, this happened. The fabric dissolved like this creating several threadbare patches; just in front of both arms and in patches all over the back. I wasn't happy. 

But at some point, it occurred to me that these two shirts might be able to save each other. And so that's what I did on Saturday. In between blowing my nose, feeling sorry for myself and watching episodes of Game of Thrones. 

Please note: I rarely publish refashions because they're very rarely successful - sewing is not a great strength of mine. But I felt like I had nothing to lose with this one. 



The one part of the bright "silk" shirt that withstood washing was the front center panel. And the part of the cotton shirt that has NOT worked in a long time is the neck - it's too high and somehow strangles me a little. So these were the right parts to switch out. 

Following matching lines on the silk shirt, I cut out the center front. Then I got it into the desired position on the ageless cotton shirt and marked cutting lines. I am, in general, an unskilled, impatient sewer. But even through my fog on Saturday, I remembered to leave myself a decent seam allowance. I'm super proud of this.


I don't have a picture of the stitching (blame the snot) but I worked each seam twice. First, a zigzag to do some version of surging the edges... because the silky fabric is so crappy and ready to self destruct. Then a straight stitch a quarter inch in from the edge to reinforce everything. I wasn't aiming for the lines I marked up, but that's pretty much where my final seams ended up.



And magically, the thing fits me! I say magically because, as mentioned, I'm terrible at refashioning clothing for myself. I do just fine when I'm experimenting with kid's stuff. But very few things I try for myself actually fit well. So I'm thrilled.

And just as important in this case: as soon as I was done sewing, I washed the shirt. Hand washed, very gently. And hung it to dry. And the fabric is still in once piece!





And now... what to do with this annoying heap full of spidery holes? Maybe cut it into little strips and braid it into a headband for a 6 year old? I might also try splitting the shirt sleeves and using a little of this to join them just on the edge. Stay tuned.  :)