I love to share knowledge, give out little hints and tips to those who ask. Recently I have had multiple emails asking how do I make all my up cycled items look amazingly new?
Up cycled clothing, items, and toys are a joy to make and a perfect addition to any household. Contrary to popular belief, they do not need to look used, worn out, have holes, or stains to be up cycled The point of up cycling is to give used items new life, not just reuse them.
First step: Find some thing YOU LIKE, that draws your eye. If you don’t like it why would anyone else?
Second step: clean it, wash it, dry it, repair it (is there bead work that’s loose? fix it)
Third step: when possible cut along side the seams to get flat pieces of fabric. If you cut along the seams this gives the edges of the fabric a smooth, unpuckered edge. All industrial sewing machines cause visible needle holes in the fabric… not attractive.
If you are reconstructing an item using most of the original seams, such as jeans into a jean skirt, this is a good time to use a seam ripper instead of cutting the fabric. Just sew along the original seam holes when possible.
When reusing lace, avoid ripping the seam. Just cut the fabric that it is attached to as close to the lace as possible. If it is a large piece of lace (an adult bodice for example), try to use it as a full flat piece work with the existing seams instead of reinventing the wheel.
Fourth step: IRON YOUR FABRIC. This step does two things for you; first it gives you a smooth field to work with and secondly it tells you if the former owner smoked. No matter how many times you wash it, if you add heat to the fabric the smell of cigarette smoke will always be present. If you are marketing your item as *smoke free*, this is a very important step.
Fifth step: when ever possible work your pattern pieces to exclude holes or worn spots in the fabric…. just turn those parts into rags.
Sixth and the most important, least known step: Starch. Simple. As. That.
Either before or after you construct an item using your up cycled fabric, starch it. (1 part clothing starch to approximately 5 parts water) No biggie. Use a fine spray and iron dry. This helps the fabric hold it’s smoothness through shipping and wearing.
Now If you don’t want to use starch (allergies, or for newborns), use vinegar water when ironing. The vinegar smell goes away as soon as the water has evaporated while ironing.
Viola, that’s how I do it. The picture below is of the latest set of adult wings I have constructed, on the right hand side over-lapping the rows is the description of what each layer is. Do they look up cycled to you? Or just plain beautiful?