Batch Upcycling

Today was the first day of the year that I have looked outside and thought ‘it won’t be long before I can hang my washing outside’, and the idea filled me with joy. The idea of clean fresh clothes fluttering in a sunny breeze will be a welcome relief to both the senses and the pocket, because the energy costs needed to dry laundry at the moment are so high.

Imagining a line of striped tops all hung in a neat line makes me smile, and I’ve made sure that Bean now has some tops ready for Spring. Made entirely from fabric reclaimed from tops already loved by my friend, this recent bit of batch sewing has pleased me in so many ways.

Being able to bring a new life to things that have already been enjoyed in another form means that those materials and labour have been appreciated in an extended way, and up cycling clothes keeps all of those valuable resources from meeting a landfill. Bean will get so much joy from wearing these, and I’ll embellish some of them in ways that embrace his individuality, in a similar manner to the bird motif that I put on the first top I upcycled from this batch of donor tops as a proof of concept.

I made these long sleeved t-shirts in exactly the same way as the first, though for some I had to piece the neckband from two vertical strips of fabric to make it long enough (and I adjusted the length of each so that the joins matched with the shoulder seams, meaning one strip was shorter than the other as the back neck is shorter than the front neck). One top still retains part of the original set of labels, as to unpick it from the back fabric would have risked leaving small holes in a the fabric, and I didn’t want to compromise by losing length, which I’ve maximised to ensure they fit as long as possible.

I made these tops at such a speed that I surprised myself. I sewed five in under an hour, with just the neckbands to fit, and those I did over lunch the following day. Carefully cutting the donor tops to maximise the fabric gained from each is perhaps the lengthiest part of making these, though something very easily done whilst sitting on the sofa on a family day.

I’ve got a couple more tops from this set which I may keep for myself, or I may turn into short sleeved t-shirts. I’m not sure yet, and will have a look through what we have to see where they are most needed, but I might be lucky enough to be getting a few more tops to remake soon. I’m so grateful for this ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ make that has brightened up Bean’s wardrobe and am looking forwards to seeing them all hung on the line in Spring.