Thursday, 5 July 2018

More upcycling ideas

I am not absolutely sure what the difference is between upcycling and recycling but whatever the correct description is I thought I would show you some of the projects a couple of our Simple Living Toowoomba ladies have completed. We do have a clever bunch of people in our group.

Catherine was inspired after our Recycling Fabric Workshop and went home and made up a few necklaces.

She has embellished a plait made from T-shirt yarn with some rosettes and hasn't she done a great job? Just looking at the photo I think she used fabric for these and you can also make rosettes out of T-shirt yarn. In that tutorial a hot glue gun is used but I usually sew them together when I make them if they would need to be washed down the track.

 She also had a go at incorporating knots into the necklace...

Then there is this two toned necklace with light blue buttons which is very easy to make if anyone wants to give it a try. Just follow a basic tutorial like this one from The Thinking Closet, leave a couple of strands of yarn free and add the beads with a knot in between each one. 

 Valda, who upcycled this denim skirt into a work of art using reverse applique techniques mentioned by Jane Milburn at her Slow Clothing workshop earlier in the year has given me the instructions for how she put it together.

If you want to give this a try then check out the tutorial by Natalie Chanin from Alabama Chanin.

Valda cut 1/2 inch rough holes randomly over the skirt, then cut coloured circles of different sizes and stitched them onto the back of the fabric over the holes. The next step was to cut away around the holes from the front denim enlarging them into a circle shape. Then she did a simple hand running stitch over her other machine stitching and sewed on buttons finishing off with a chain stitch around the hem of the skirt. 

...or buy/borrow her book Alabama Stitch Book which Jane recommended. It has some fantastic tutorials as well as stencils and patterns. Our local library now has it and it is just full of good ideas.

Margy made this bag using macrame recently and brought it along to our workshop and we were all very inspired by it. She made it a little differently from the tutorial she followed How to turn a T-shirt into a market macrame market bag and didn't cut the bottom hem off but cut a slit under the hem for handles rather than a drawstring.  She used T-shirt yarn instead of macrame cord which I think is a lot more expensive these days than when macrame was very popular back in the 1970s and 1980s.

So there are a few ideas there which may inspire you to have a go. Catherine and Valda are very crafty ladies and I look forward to seeing what other projects they work on in the coming months. Thanks ladies for your contribution. It is much appreciated.


  1. Love that skirt! A really great way to add colour and fun to a skirt. Meg:)

    1. I must give it a try myself, Meg. I bought a denim skirt from the Op Shop recently. Such a great idea.

  2. isn't upcycling just another term for making something plain into something grand? it is by no means a new concept, recycling is making something else out of what ever it was originally?
    great post
    thanx for sharing

    1. Selina, I always get confused with the terms I must admit.

  3. Those ladies are very clever. Then again so are you Chel. I have an old denim skirt that might get a bit more use with a clever addition of some colour. Will put that idea onto the list.

  4. Beautiful items from some clever creative people. Thank you for sharing, Chel.

  5. Crafty! Especially love Margy's bag. I've done macrame, but was much younger at the time. I'm sure it's easy, once you're familiar with the knots again. They're very creative individuals. :)

  6. Was just organizing my craft books and ran across my macrame books from the 70's, and now this post. I think I will have to tie some knots now!!


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