Tag Archives: clothes

4 Books to Help You Refashion and Upcycle Your Wardrobe

Bored with your wardrobe and don’t want to spend a lot of money on new clothes? It may be time to work on your sewing skills and transform your old clothes into something new.

I’m looking at this because my oldest daughter wants to learn to sew anyhow, and old clothes seem like a good place to start. I have a gorgeous old Bernina sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, so we’re ready to start.

Keep in mind that you won’t like every project suggested in these books. They may not be your style, but you can still pick up ideas and techniques.

Sweater Surgery: How to Make New Things with Old Sweaters
Got old sweaters? Find out how to make them into something new that you’ll be happy to wear. The book includes 15 free patterns to get you started. Some readers find the projects a bit challenging, so you may prefer to go with projects geared more toward beginners.

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials
This one isn’t entirely about refashioning – many projects suggest buying new fabrics to go with the what you already have. But it has some great ideas for projects you can do with old clothes too.

What’s really great is that the book discusses how to handle the fabrics and has information about eco-innovators. It’s not just a craft book, it’s something to read when you have a little time on your hands.

Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More
This book is a great help if you want to learn how to make patters to fit you. It gives you an introduction into how to measure, cut and assemble pattern pieces. She also gives a lot of ideas so you can customize each outfit to your own style.

The one weak point is that some patterns in the book require a lot of fabric, so you may not be able to create them by refashioning older clothes. If you would prefer to do work that is more refashioning than cutting used clothes into flat pieces to start nearly fresh with them, it may not be the book for you.

ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs
Want to learn how to take those thrift store finds that weren’t quite right for you and make them work? This could be the book for you. It proves nicely detailed instructions, including what you need to find for each project.

Thrift Store Shopping Shouldn’t Make You Feel Poor

The problem some people have with thrift store shopping is that they feel it’s something poor people do. There’s the image of a dirty store with old, unwanted clothing. When you find a good thrift store in your area, you’ll find that the reality is far from that image.

There are a lot of very good reasons to shop at thrift stores. Being poor or just on a really tight budget are good reasons, but there are others.

You could just be aware of good deals. Many times you can find brand name merchandise in good condition at a thrift store. Why would you pay full price if you can get it just a little later at the thrift store for a few dollars?

You might enjoy it as a treasure hunt. It’s not just clothes you can find at the thrift store, but items for all around the house.

You could go thrift shopping as a small way to support a charity you approve of. They usually are for good causes, such as the job training Goodwill does.

You could go thrift shopping because you want to be more environmentally friendly. Reusing is certainly better than buying new.

In so many ways, thrift store shopping is the smartest way to start your search for many items, especially clothing. Once you know where the good stores are you won’t need to go all over town trying to figure them out. There can certainly be particular stores that get the best stuff in an area or that get picked over too quickly.

If you know what days they get and put out deliveries, that can be a huge help to your thrift shopping success. The best things will of course go more quickly. If you’re looking for trendy clothes, getting to them fast may make them easier to find. Sometimes you even luck into clothes with the tags still on.

Certainly you have to be picky about which thrift stores you shop at. It’s often clear when management just tries to sell everything and doesn’t worry about what’s in working condition or otherwise usable.If the one nearest you has awful merchandise, look around until you find one that has the good stuff. They’re out there.

You can of course go to the big names in the business, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but most areas will have smaller charities that run thrift stores as well. Don’t rule any of them out, especially if a good one supports a cause you love.

Does Buying Eco Friendly Clothing Really Help the Environment?

Choosing eco friendly clothes is a common piece of advice for families who are trying to go green. Clothing is something we all need, and with kids in the house, new clothes are needed pretty often. Wondering if your shopping habits are really making a difference isn’t a bad thing; it just shows that you’re really thinking about the impact you’re having/

What Is Eco Friendly Clothing?

The first thing you need to figure out is just what is meant by eco friendly when it comes to clothing. Clothes made from organic cotton come easily to mind for most of us. Bamboo is a popular material now. But to really get into eco friendly clothes, you need to go beyond the simple categories.

Handmedown clothes are eco friendly. You’re reusing clothes that someone else was done with.

Clothes bought at thrift stores are eco friendly. Same deal as with handmedowns.

The clothes you have in your closet aren’t going to get any more un-eco friendly, so long as you care for them in environmentally friendly ways.

That’s important to remember. Going green is not all about shopping.

Worrying about whether the materials used to make the clothes matters most when you’re buying new. That’s when you get into organic cotton and other such materials. They matter most when the materials used are new to your purchase.

Does Buying Organic Cotton Clothes Make a Difference?

You can feel as though the difference in how your clothes are produced is a small issue, environmentally speaking. We’re so far removed from where the cotton is grown and processed that it’s easy to miss the harms.

Tremendous amounts of fertilizers and pesticides are used on conventionally grown cotton. This is bad for the land it’s grown on and for the lakes, rivers and oceans the excess water may runoff to. There’s a good post over on The Good Human called What’s So Bad About Non-Organic Cotton? that explains the situation well.

Buying organic cotton also means you’re supporting farmers who aren’t using so many potentially dangerous chemicals.

Clothes made from bamboo, even organic bamboo, are a bit more complex. Most bamboo cloth is chemically processed. Some of these chemicals are hard on the environment and on the workers using them. This processing turns it into a viscose or rayon fiber. It’s not as natural as many want you to think.

Overall, if you want to help the environment through the clothes you wear, really think about where they’re coming from, and don’t go for the huge wardrobe. Reduce how much you buy new, buy used when you can, and pay attention to how the new clothes are made. That’s the best way to limit the impact your clothes shopping has on the environment.

How to Deal with Crunchy Towels and Jeans After Line Drying Laundry

Line drying your laundry saves a lot of energy and money. It’s even pretty good exercise as you hang out your clothes, not to mention carrying damp laundry from the washing machine to the backyard.

There’s just one problem. Not everything dries nice, soft and comfortable to use.

Jeans and towels are notorious for this. They usually feel stiff and crunchy when you pull them off the line.

How can you get rid of the crunchies?

Take Them Down Damp

The simplest solution is to let them dry most of the way on the line, but take them down while they’re still a little bit damp and throw them into the dryer. It won’t take long to dry them and you’re still saving energy.

The towels and jeans will feel as though they’d spent the entire time in the dryer. No more nasty crunchy feeling.

Air Fluff

If they’re dry, you can still throw crunchy items into the dryer and just give them a few minute on the No Heat or Air cycle of your dryer. The motion will break up much of the crunchiness.

Add Baking Soda to the Washing Machine

Baking soda works as a water softener, and can help your towels and jeans to dry softer as well if it has been used in the water. They won’t get completely soft this way, but it may decrease the crunchy sensation enough.

You can also add vinegar to the rinse, which should help to soften everything.

Don’t use fabric softener on towels; it’s bad for their ability to absorb water, which is kind of contrary to the whole point of using a towel to dry yourself.

Double Them Up

Many people say that if you fold the towels in half to line dry them or hang two together, they will not be as stiff when they dry. The reason is that they tend to be less stiff if they dry more slowly.

Give Them a Snap

Some swear by this method. Give the towels and jeans a snap before hanging them on the line, maybe another when they’re about halfway dry, if you remember. This helps to limit how crunchy they get.

Get Used to It

Some people actually like their towels a little crunchy. It’s a feeling you can get used to.

Same for jeans. The crunchy feeling decreases as the jeans get older as well, so the problem may not be serious for long.

Give a few solutions a try and see what works for you. Your results may vary due to the weather you’re having, the age of your towels and jeans, and the hardness of your local water.

How to Make Your Wardrobe More Eco Friendly

Green is a great color for your wardrobe, whether you like to wear it or not. But I don’t mean the color. I mean having a wardrobe that is the eco friendly kind of green.

It’s really not that hard to make your wardrobe be kinder to the environment. This may not sound ideal to you, especially if you love buying new outfits, but you can make this work.

Thrift Store and Consignment Shops Are Your Friends

One of the easiest ways to have an eco friendly wardrobe is to focus on buying used clothes. It may not sound appealing at first, but you might be amazed at what you can find that has belonged to someone else first. An amazing number of people replace clothing in their wardrobe after very few wearings. You can buy used clothes that look as good as new.

Thrift store shopping can be an adventure. It’s not the easiest way to shop sometimes. Some stores are better organized than others. You may find clothes from many years ago. Some outfits may look as though they’d do better as a Halloween costume than everyday clothing. Bring your sense of adventure and sense of humor when you head out to the thrift stores to shop.

When you’re done with an outfit, it can head back to the thrift store. If it’s still in good condition they’ll probably just sell it on.

If it’s not in good condition, find out if it’s welcome first. Some thrift stores sell torn and stained clothes in bundles as rags. Others just throw them out. It’s better if you are certain you aren’t just moving something from your trash to theirs.

And you could always make rags for yourself.

Find Eco Friendly Retailers

You can find all kinds of shops online and in some areas that offer eco friendly fashion for those times when you do need something new. Fair trade is a good option to look for.

You can find companies that make clothes using organic materials and use natural dyes. You can find vegetarian and vegan fashions. Just look around and see what suits your eco choices.

A tragic number of retailers still use sweatshop labor. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to where your clothes are coming from when you buy them new. Being green isn’t always just about the environment. You should be thinking about the human factor too.