Upcyclists: March Madness

Welcome, welcome! Come one, come all, to our very first TOP STITCHER CHALLENGE! 

I introduce to you Suzanne of Pattern Revolution and Winter Wear Designs, and Michelle of Falafel and the Bee! Read their full bios here, and find out why these upcyclists have quite an impressive history! Today they face off with the following challenge:

"This month we kick off a season known for flowers and chicks and fuzzy baby bunnies! But we can't forget the basketball extravaganza that IS March Madness. Which is why you'll design a look that honors both... a Springtime Outfit made with upcycled athletic apparel." 

Woohooo! I am so excited to be the challenger (and extremely nervous going up against Suzanne!) in this fun competition. I am terrible at talkin' smack. I think she's the bee's knees.

The goal was to take sportswear and refashion it into a Spring outfit my child would wear. It took me a little while to narrow it down. After all, there are a whole lot of sports to choose from!

I started with these thrifted items:

left to right: men's golf shirt made from some weird shiny polyester, women's sweatshirt, men's jersey basketball shorts

left to right: men's golf shirt made from some weird shiny polyester, women's sweatshirt, men's jersey basketball shorts

And I turned them into:

I made the dress using Mouse House Creations Norah dress as the base, and made lots of changes. The first thing is the sleeves. I did sweet little gathered sleeves out of the golf shirt's original sleeves and used the hem that was already there to insert an elastic to make them extra poofy. I also added side panels, and a gathered elastic pocket to one of those sides. Even though you cannot see it (even up close due to perfect thread matching), I top-stitched both sides of the panels for a neat look. OH BTW: She is wearing her Dad's socks. Yup. My husband actually wears these.

The collar was inspired by this image I found on Pinterest. I used the existing placket of the golf shirt as a working closure in the back. The whole collar has a strip of facing sewn inside to keep it in place. I also came up with an elastic belt with a clip closure to cinch it in the back for a more fitted look.

Honestly, I originally had trouble deciding how to treat this golf shirt material. It only has a slight stretch so it is more of a woven than a knit. I chose to sway that way. Either way, it is über comfortable, so my girl is happy!

I had the most fun with that jacket! I modeled it after one of my favorite jackets. I used just about every scrap of that sweatshirt to make it. The ruffles were made by opening up the bottom ribbing into strips. The edges are encased with a bias tape made from scraps of the sweatshirt, and I sewed it on with the fuzzy side facing out. It makes me giggle. I love it so much.

The trickiest part of this whole project was choosing only 4 photos to post! Ha! If you want to see a few more, I have them over on my blog.

Thanks for the opportunity to compete...and to be challenged by using materials I wouldn't normally use!

Motherhood and Creativity: Hand-in-hand

It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of upcycling... it is really how I was able to sew when I first started sewing for my kids.  I approach upcycling like fabric shopping, I figure out what I want to make, go to my upcycling supplies and pick whatever gorgeous things calls out to me from the pile.  Soooooooooo, this was a bit of a challenge.  First because the prompt dictated my fabric choice - athletic wear, and second because when I went to my magical bins of upcycle materials it hit me that I cleared out just about all the athletic wear I had in my December purge............ooooooohhhhhh noooooooooo!

Never one to be daunted, I said - bring it on - and laid out what I could find that counted as 'athletic wear'.  I had a pair of pink jogging pants, a pair of navy yoga pants, a green athletic golf shirt, and a jacket that at first I thought was athletic wear but then realized that would only be the case if you counted hiking or living in the North East as 'athletic'.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.

After lots of hemming and hawing, I finally settled on the pink joggers and the golf shirt.  With a pallet of pink and green my mind jumped to spring and I fell in love with the idea of going preppy 'a la' Clueless.  I refuse to sew clothing that my kids wont really WEAR, so an ensemble of leggings, skirt, and cute top were perfect for my girls who has grown 2 sizes since last summer!

I went for a pretty pleated skirt using the legs of the joggers, the cargo pocket got a girly uplift with an upcycled flower stolen from an old stained t-shirt that had gotten much too small for my growing girl. The golf shirt was a bit harder as the wicking fabric tends to pull and this was an old shirt of my husbands... so I looked the garment over and discovered the the sides of the shirt were in the best shape.  It hit me that I could make the piping a feature, and starting playing off the perpendicular lines.  A bit of lace and cute buttons and suddenly this masculine shirt had quite a bit of feminine flirtation. (both garments are self drafted patterns, the leggings are Jocole)

So my smartie pants girl got to put on her sparkly shoes and pose midst shopping bags of her favorite color - PINK!

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I think I worked this prompt into an awesome outfit that Mack will wear all spring and summer!

Check out all my other images and read more about this project HERE!!!

Those are some SERIOUSLY spectacular upcycles! Before I have you all weigh in, let's see them side-by-side.
Remember! As an Upcyclist contestant, their objective is to create a garment as dissimilar to it's original form as possible.

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