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Sep 17, 2020

DIY Challenge: Transform Clothing into New Pieces

Lisa Hanson
The Clothing Project SLC

We at Deseret Industries recently challenged some DIY friends to upcycle some items from Deseret Industries. To make things more interesting, we picked the items! Each of our participants was mailed a mystery box of items to transform. Here’s what Lisa @the_clothingproject_slc did.

Wow! I really needed a fun project right now! Thank you to Deseret Industries for including me in this fun idea. When I opened my mystery box, I found a collection of colorful clothing to repurpose: a kimono-style robe, a pleated skirt, a swimsuit cover-up, and a button-down shirt.

How would you repurpose these items?

At first, I tried to think of how I could combine all of the clothing into one item. Maybe a picnic quilt? A summery rag rug? A patchwork dress?! In the end, I decided to do what I love best—work with each piece one at a time to create unique clothing items for me and my family.

Floral Robe —> Wrap Top

I started with the robe because I instantly knew what I wanted to do. I have seen numerous fun tops on Instagram and Pinterest with floral prints and puffy sleeves and have been wanting to make my own.

Here’s what I did:

  • Cut the top to my desired length. Don’t forget to include a seam allowance!
  • Cut the sleeves. I left them a few inches longer than I wanted the final sleeve length to be to account for puffiness and elastic.
  • Sewed an elastic casing on the sleeve hem and threaded elastic through it.
  • Removed the ties from the inside of the robe and put them on the outside to tie the top closed.
  • Made bows for the sleeves using the robe tie.
  • Hemmed the bottom of the shirt.

Pleated Skirt —>Blouse

One of my refashion rules is to use what the item gives you. It saves so much time, and I believe it increases my creativity. I felt like I had a stroke of genius with this project—I used the original waistband to make the neckline! It came together so well and turned out so cute!

Here’s how I did it:

  • Unpicked the zipper and pockets and cut out the lining.
  • Keeping the skirt inside out, I folded it in half on my cutting mat.
  • After taking a few measurements (and a deep breath), I cut a large slit starting at the hem and went about 2/3 of the way up.
  • Unfolded the skirt and sewed the pieces together. This gave me a bodice and arms.
  • For the neckline, I ran elastic through the original waistband and closed the seams.
  • I left the sleeves with the original hem. But I did end up shortening the bodice.

Swimsuit Cover-Up —> Bag

Surprisingly, this project was the most time-consuming! I thought sewing up a bunch of squares wasn’t going to be that difficult . . . but it was. I found an opportunity to be resourceful and used the rest of the robe fabric for the lining!

Here is how I made it.

  • Cut out the section just under the armpit and above the fringe.
  • Cut three pieces for a front and two backs.
  • Cut matching lining pieces and sewed all the pieces together.
  • Braided some rope I had on hand for straps.
  • Cut a strip of both fabrics to add to the top and attached the rope straps.
  • Sewed the handles and fringe to the body of the bag.
  • Turned the bag inside out and sewed up the bottom.
  • Boxed out the corners.

 Button-Down Shirt —> Skirt and Scrunchie

I have made a lot of things from button-down shirts over the years, including peasant blouses, jumpers, and dresses, but never a skirt! I thought this would make the perfect back-to-school outfit for my daughter.

Here are the steps I took:

  • Unpicked the pocket and cut off the sleeves.
  • Cut the shirt just under the armpit.
  • Cut pieces for a waistband, tie, and scrunchie from the sleeves.
  • Sewed the pocket back on and kept the original hem.

 And there you have it: my DIY challenge is complete! I hope you enjoyed seeing the before-and-after transformations of my projects. Which one is your favorite?

Lisa Hanson is the creator of the Clothing Project SLC, an Instagram account dedicated to thrifting, refashions, and body positivity. Visit her on Instagram @the_clothingproject_slc. She’d love to meet you and see your thrifted and refashioned creations.