A lucky top from St Kilda

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My son and I took a stroll around St Kilda last Saturday afternoon, amid a sea of red and white banners and balloons flown by avid St Kilda fans during the AFL Grand Final. I spot an op shop that I haven't been to before; Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop, 87a Grey Street, St Kilda

It is a nice op shop; spacious, easy to manouver around which is especially useful with a stroller and a toddler!, and has background music playing (nothing like a bit of Bob Marley and The Wailers to shop along to). I spotted this top by Lucky Brand with beautiful bird printed fabric:

Usually however, I would have disregarded a top like this, because it is not my size. For $6 I thought it would be worth buying with the intention to alter and make it fit. I found some burgundy bias binding from Vinnies in Cranbourne on Tuesday, which is a good colour to match the Lucky Brand top fabric.

Before shots:


I cut to size using an existing top, then cut the bottom off by about 10cm, finished off the hem with the burgundy bias binding, and cut off the tie blue straps around the middle.


I'm really liking this top for summer, it is very light and cool.


Worn on Self Stitched Sept, Day 19

Learning to Refashion Clothes

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

vb (tr)
to give a new form to (something)

The term 'refashion' is being used all the more often lately, everywhere you look, there is somebody reworking an old garment, customising a thrifted piece, or creating a dress from a vintage sheet.

Refashioning has been going on for many years, "During World War II, the "Make Do and Mend" campaign encouraged Britons to update old clothes instead of buying new." Quote taken from faircompanies.com.

Photo c/o johnclare.net

We could think of the recent rise in refashioning as a way of rebelling against fast fashion, coupled with our need to look more unique and individual to our own style rather than succumbing to fashion trends, and becoming a high street clone.

Our society has become more environmentally aware, yet we still like to have new clothes. Refashioning therefore removes the guilt of buying new clothing which can often be made with cheap materials, and produced in less than ideal working environments.

"Second hand and vintage clothes have been hugely popular for a while but refashioning offers the opportunity to create a piece of clothing that preserves the best features but also creates something fresh and fashionable." Quote from Ceri Heathcote from an article written for posh-swaps.com, a website for swapping, buying and selling second hand and vintage clothing.

So how hard is it to refashion clothing? It is not uncommon to hear people say they wish they could sew, or that they had the creativity of others such as the inspirational Marissa from New Dress a Day, or the collaboration of talented refashionistas that have joined up with wardroberefashion. I honestly do believe that anyone can do it.

Refashioning need not be as advanced as creating a new dress from an existing garment, it can be as simple as cutting off a pair of jeans into shorts, and sewing on a few motifs or buttons, or perhaps repainting a pair of shoes. But for those that would prefer to sew their refashioned garments, it may be hard to know where to start. As a beginner, even buying a sewing machine can be mind boggling. I remember asking myself a few months ago, "what on earth is an overlocker?" And once getting hold of a sewing machine, whether that be borrowed, inherited or newly owned, it is then knowing what to actually do with it!

Lucky for us, there are many initiatives popping up to teach, encourage and promote refashioning. Not only are there private and group sewing classes to join, but sewing workshops and lessons dedicated soley to refashioning existing garments are becoming available in many cities.

Now forgive me for only mentioning lessons and workshops that take place in Victoria, Australia, because this is where I live, but here are some options available for refashionistas-in-the-making in Melbourne and surrounds:

Hayley from thinkermaker; ethical craft and mindful living blogger, teaches private sewing classes. Hayley ran a successful eco clothing line called Heidi & Seek until early 2010, take a look at her work - she is very talented. Hayley helped me reconstruct this t-shirt and skirt into a new dress.

Thread Den offers lessons such as 'Revive your Vintage Finds' and 'Recycle your Favourite Tee Print into a Tote Bag' in Fitzroy and North Melbourne

I spent my last Saturday morning at The Social Studio's Remix workshop, which are held every Saturday at 128 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, from 10am to 1pm at a cost of $30. Workshops are open to anyone with an interest in learning to sew, and/or wanting to know how to rework a fashion item.

I went along to the workshop with fellow blogger Maria aka Sleekitone. Maria wanted to rework one of her existing dresses which had a rip under the arm. I didn't really go with any ideas, other than to get some inspiration, and learn some new sewing skills.

Taking part in the workshop without a garment is fine, the cost of $30 includes a piece to take home with you. You choose a few garments from boxes which have been donated to The Social Studio, and once you see something you like the look of, Sarah, The Social Studio's helpful tutor, will guide you to refashion something new.

I chose a short sleeve black jacket, along with a ripped silk top to remix together. I decided to take off the frilly collar from the silk top to stitch around the inside of the jacket lapels, and use the tie across the waist of the top as a belt around the jacket.

My 'before' picture is not so good:

Tired black short sleeved jacket and ripped silk top

I used an overlocker and an industrial sewing machine for the first time, and was also taught how to make some button hoops.

The overlocker!

Frilly collar off

And frilly collar back on again

My end result is this, you could call it more of a jacket customisation, the buttons finish it off well I think:

For anyone living in or visiting Melbourne, I'd recommend popping down to The Social Studio and joining in with a Saturday morning remix workshop. There are no term commitments, you pop in whenever you wish, but do contact them beforehand so they know who to expect on the day. For anyone living outside of 'Australia's fashion capital' I would still encourage you to give refashioning a go. Trial a few things at home with thrifted pieces, or unworn clothes from your wardrobe. Search for lessons and workshops in your local area, you'll undoubtedly find sewing workshops in most main cities around the world.

Painted Cowboy Boots

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Remember a pair of cowboy boots I 'exchanged' from The Clothing Exchange? Classic 'western' black boots, but embroidered with garish light brown stitching:

No matter, this is easily fixed by using some of Mr's black shoe polish from the cupboard..

One coat not quite enough:

There we go, two coats much better:

Although perhaps readers, I should have opted for some acrylic paint and a paintbrush to decorate my boots with a food consumer label, as British fashion designer Ashish demonstrated with his fast food cowboy boots as seen on London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011. Cowboy boots decorated with McDonald’s fries, Coca Cola, and burgers no less.. fashionably ironic?!!

Bayside Op Shop Tour - Win Two Passes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dear blog readers. Do you live in Melbourne? Or are you planing a weekend trip to Melbourne on the last weekend in October? Would you like to join me on a day dedicated to recycled shopping? The next installment of Melbourne Bayside Op Shop Tours runs from 10am - 3pm on Saturday 30th October, where we visit some of my favourite op shop hang outs in Cheltenham, Mordialloc and Frankston.

We are giving away a double pass* for you and a friend to join me on Melbourne Bayside's Op Shop Tour on Saturday 30th October. That's right, not just one pass, but two!

To enter the competition, you have to do one or more of the following:

1) 'Like' Recycled Fashion on facebook and leave a comment on the competition link
2) 'Like' Melbourne Op Shop Tours on facebook and leave a comment on the competition link
3) Follow Recycled Fashion's blog and leave a message below on this blog post
4) Follow Melbourne Op Shop Tours and/or Recycled Fashion on Twitter and retweet the competition to your followers
5) Shout out the competition on your own blog

The more you do, the more entries you have, and more chances of winning! I will pull the winning name out of a vintage tea cup on Saturday 8th October, so please make it easy for me to contact you.

I'll put your name into this vintage cup bought for $10 at Savers in Frankston!
Because this is an op shop tour afterall!

If you would like to come and join me on a discovery of Melbourne Bayside's second-hand wonderlands, you can sign up online here

Good luck!

Photograph c/o we heart it

I hope to see you there.

*Prize includes two passes worth $70, money required for lunch stop

Refashioning Neckties

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fellow thrifters must notice the abundance of neckties donated to second hand shops? If you link every tie in the world together, you'd be able to circle the globe 20 times... OK so I made that up, but there are surely far too many neckties in the world than people able to wear them.

Big ones, short ones, skinny ones, fat ones, blue, brown, pink, silk, polyester, leather..!

Joyce from melhotornot.com, (the decisive guide to Melbourne blog) road tested Melbourne Op Shop Tours Inner West route back in December 2009, and discovered one experienced op shopper, Nathan, has an eye for a designer tie!

Quote: "In a feat of op-shopping strength, one of our tour members Nathan (an intrepid and experienced op shopper) decided to tip out the whole box of ties in order to do a thorough sorting on the floor. In the end, he came away with 47 ties ($1 each) which included designer ties from YSL and Versace. What does a man do with that many ties? Nathan’s strategy is to wear them all once, clean them up and sell them on eBay for around $10-$15 each. So even if you’re not necessarily into the charity aspect of op shopping, it seems that with a bit of effort it can be a lucrative hobby."

47 ties.. now that is impressive

My local op shop sells all men's ties for $1 each, no matter the brand, fabric or colour.  One could pick up a polyester cartoon character tie, a cashmere tie, or a Versace tie but the price remains the same, and this is why we love op shopping!

I have been looking at ties in a different way; to cut up and refashion into something else.  At the end of last summer, I purchased a pair of Diesel jeans from Salvos to cut mid-length for the in-between autumnal weather. I cut them off below the knee, and let them fray.  Last week I've dusted them off to start wearing in the equally in-between Melbourne spring weather, but wanted to do something about that fray.

Rather than simply stitching a hem, I decided to do something a bit different; cut up a thrifted tie to use the fabric for cuffs, and the back pocket. Here is how it goes:

Step one; take a thrifted tie (in this case silk) open it up and iron flat:

Step two; remove back pocket of jeans, and use as an outline to cut out a replicated pocket using felt and tie fabric:

Step three; iron tie fabric into a long rectangular shape, and pin over the top of jeans hem, pin, and stitch.

And here we have them, I only replaced one pocket, tell me readers, do you think one pocket looks OK? Should I have replaced both pockets with tie fabric?

Worn on Self Stitched Sept, Day 24


Bag refashioning for gifts

Blog readers may remember my doily refashioned clutch bag:

I thought it might be a nice idea to customise bags as gifts for my friends birthdays, rather than buying new 'stuff'. In similar style to my clutch bag, I used doilys with bits and pieces from my sewing box to make plain handbags look prettier. Now the gifts have found their way to my friends' homes, I can blog about them...

Savers helped me out with a doily and handbags:

I used an unused necklace (also in above picture), buttons, scraps of fabric and cut up the doily to recreate as follows:

Quite simple really, but as one of my friend said 'I love it 'cause no one else will have it!' which is great to hear!

REWIND Recycled Fashions - Discount!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I have been following vintage clothing retailer REWIND Recycled Fashions on facebook, who are based in Glenelg, Adelaide, South Australia.

REWIND's facebook page is dedicated to showing off their latest stock, collections, and 'daily looks' pieced together by REWIND's staff:

Daily look added 16th September

Daily look added 13th September

A dress from the 'Lady Vintage' collection added 14th September

Oh hello tan vintage boots!! Added in 'new arrivals' 17th September

Remember my vintage inspired swimear blog post? Well REWIND has some original vintage swimsuits for sale ranging from AU$35 - $49.

Vintage swimwear added 10th September

If you don't live in Adelaide, and see something you'd like to buy, no problem! Send REWIND a message on facebook or email, and staff can call you for payment, with clothes sent interstate via express post.

Shelley @ REWIND has kindly agreed to give Recycled Fashion blog readers a 10% discount* from all stock listed on facebook for the rest of this month. Try out a little facebook shopping and you may well land yourself with a vintage bargain. Don't forget to mention Recycled Fashion's blog if you do see anything you like to get your 10% discount offer.

*Apologies to blog readers outside of Australia as international shipping is not available at this time, but may be available in the near future so stay tuned.

Happy virtual shopping, bloggers!

Knick Knack Jewellery

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I found something lurking behind the glass at the counter of Parkdale Epilepsy op shop this week:

its red, its an anchor, and its jewelled.. $3, sold, love it

Initially I thought it would look nice as a brooch, but its fairly heavy, so figured a necklace would be better? One thing I did need however, was a necklace chain to hold my pretty new anchor pendant. Off I trott to Lincraft to buy a silver chain, but had a second thought, why not check out Savers, the 'Recycle Superstore' to see if any second hand silver chains are in stock. Sure enough there are plenty; I chose a chain for $4.. nice! By doing so, I saved myself some $ and felt much better not buying new.

Hello Sailor!

It really is quite satisfying piecing together thrifted knick knacks into one pretty piece, and on this occassion, it didn't take a lot of effort. There are, however, individuals creating much more than simple necklaces from thrifted knick knacks, I am talking about creative artists such as Sue from DivaJools. Sue creates "beautiful things from the worlds' discards". She picks up trinkets, bits and bobs, pretty and quirky things from thrift shops, and creates beautiful accessories.

Here are some of my favourites:

A beaded necklace made from a thrifted (shrunken) old sweater:

A bracelet made from a fork:

And this stunning necklace made for an exhibition, created from odd earrings, broken bit of bracelet, old keys, a charm bracelet from Germany, Swarovski crystals, a cameo, a brass heart teamed up with some broken necklaces, a little enameled bird, and the list goes on:

Junk transformed into Jewel!

You can follow Sue's creative pursuits on her blog, and purchase some of her pieces online.

Try it out for yourself, check out the goodies behind the glass cabinets in charitable shops, which are so often overlooked. You might be suprised at the goodies you find to create a unique accessory.

For more fabulous op shop finds visit Sophie @ Her Library Adventures