Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Green Military Upcycle

It is PRP week three and in honor of Earth Day our designs are to be "Green".  They have set the parameters by saying that our outfits should be upcycled, recycled, or made of organic fabrics.

I had never heard the term "upcycle" until recently through the wild world of blogging   I am sure all of you already know about this, but for any of you who need an explanation like I did; it is when you take something plain, old, or plain old ugly and make it new.  It is like recycling but with more work.  This is a new concept for me.  I am trying to make my life more and more sustainable, but I don't usually re-do old things.  I give them away (or throw away if appropriate).  And when I sew, I sew from scratch.

In late February, I decided to give it a try.  I had some outdated uniforms laying around (I don't know why I saved them) and decided to make something for my eldest, Abi.
First, I hit the drawing board and started designing.  I have a wonderful cad based pattern software (WildGinger) that I use and I started creating a jacket and pants.  The jacket is a cross between a classic denim style and military look.  The pants I made into skinny jeans with a sailor front.  Both incorporated techniques that were new for me so I was quite excited to get to work.

Next, I started construction.  The jacket was coming together wonderfully... I was topstiching and assembling to my heart's content. 

Then, I looked at a mostly done project and it looked DULL.  I am talking boring.  So, I started taking pictures with all sorts of buttons, trims, and other accessories and sending them to Mc H and M.  I asked for their opinions so I could figure out what could make this thing come alive.  Finally, there was a consensus that shiny buttons, shocking pink embroidery and ruffles were in order.  I mean, what goes better with cammo than pink and gold with ruffles?

Now for the pants.  These silly things did not go so well.  The only good thing I could say is that I learned how to make a sailor style button front.  They fit Abi horribly and she hated them.  So I ripped out the side seems, let them out, and added cuffs.  They still fit Abi horribly and she hated them more.  So, after wasting several days on these crazy pants, I decided they had to be salvaged.  I cut them off at the crotch and made them a skirt!  I had some pink fabric that was a near perfect match of the thread I used for the embroidery on the jacket so I cut out a large rectangle and gathered it to fit what was left of the pants.  I then made a longer skinny rectangle, folded it in half and ruffled it.  I then attached it to the bottom of the skirt to create a ruffled hem.

Abi wore them both the next day at school.  That is the best test of whether the kids like an outfit; is it wear the next day worthy.  This outfit took way more time and endurance than I am used to but I did learn a lot.
  1. shinny buttons can bring a dull outfit to life
  2. sailor pants are fun and pretty easy once you learn how
  3. I am a "make it from scratch" kind of gal.  I don't think there will be too much upcycling in my future.
But, now I am faced with upcycling again.  In preparation for this week I ordered some organic fabric.  But the material for the top is out of stock and the rest arrived only yesterday.  So I am adjusting my plan for this week.  I am using a t-shirt I got for $1 on clearance for my "upcycle" and the organic fabric that arrived to make shorts and a t-shirt for the boy.  This gives me two evenings to sew it up, take pictures, and post to the PRP site.

Can it be done?  

To be continued....

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