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Upcycling For Sustainability: DIY Embroidery For Old Clothes
More than a mere seasonal trend, sustainable fashion is all about fostering ethical changes to help heal the environment. And as consumers, we play a powerful role in this movement, as we are called to be more mindful of the clothing we wear. Despite sustainability slowly finding its way into the fashion industry, we can already incorporate it at the heart of our closets through mindful practices — like being conscious about new clothes and upcycling old ones.
For the uninitiated, upcycling is exactly what it sounds like. It is all about giving a second life to old clothes by reconstructing them into new garments or useful items. So, why not combine this concept with your next embroidery project? Not only will this do a world of good for the environment, your clothes will have a charming and uniquely personal touch to them. That being said, here are some tips on how to ethically upgrade your closet through the art of embroidery.
Trends come and go, but a good denim jacket will always remain in vogue. But are you a little uncertain about what design to embroider? As we shared here before in our post on ‘The Rise of Floral Fashion Embroidery’, flower-patterned stitches can help elevate garments. By placing delicate floral details on the back of your denim jacket or on the front pockets and detailing, you’ll have a new, improved, and inventive piece of clothing that will stand out from the crowd.
While you’re at it, you can invest some time and effort in embroidering a pair of trusty jeans…check this link out. With Glamour noting how double denim is a trend that’s in it for the long run, you can liven up your favourite bottoms by stitching your best designs on the back pocket. Be sure to choose the right type of jeans as well. We recommend a pair of mid-rise jeans so the little surprises at the back don’t go unnoticed. In this regard, Gap’s Mid Rise Favourite Jeggings are a great example of a style that lends itself especially well to revamping.
A button down is a timeless piece that not only works well with just about any outfit; it is a fantastic option for your future embroidery projects. And Woman Within’s classic crisp button down is made from breathable cotton that looks even better after several washes. The blank canvas on this versatile piece allows you a lovely amount of creative freedom. Additionally, you can add a subtle but stylish twist by embroidering the collar.
Plastic bag sales have fallen dramatically since the introduction of new policies discouraging their use, but despite the 37% drop in single-use plastics being sold, The Guardian reports that this still translates to some 550 million shopping bags. Fortunately, many have made the switch from plastic bags to reusable ones, as plastics have gone down by a staggering 90% over the past four years. You can make your own contribution to the environment by redecorating an old tote bag and adding monogrammed details for some additional flair.
As a freelance artist, designer, lecturer and tutor (how do I narrow down that description?!) I have been contracted by numerous arts organizations to provide Talks, Workshops’ and Masterclasses’ in Textiles, Print Making and Fine Art subjects. These include branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild, Textile Study Groups and The Women’s Institute. Every year I teach at The Knitting and Stitching shows and exhibit with the Artist in Action stand. Currently I am building up to my exhibition at The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, London this spring; having also written articles or had work illustrated in Stitch, Inspired, Embroidery, Selvedge, Daphne’s Diary, Prima (online), Cloth Paper Scissors and the Batsford book ‘Be Creative with Textile Art.'