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© Joan Currie – From blouse to bag. Simplicity pattern #2685, style D.

Upcycle definition: reuse discarded objects or material in such as way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

Last summer, I made a last minute purchase of a blouse to wear at a family celebration. Although I liked the fabric, it never really fit me properly despite my best tailoring efforts to salvage it. Yesterday, when I needed a black bag to go with an outfit, I thought it was time to put the blouse to a better use. I am happy with the result and thought I would share some upcycling and sewing tips:

  1. Source the fabric for your project from your clothes or family and friends’ donation boxes, garage sales, and thrift stores. Look for the largest sizes to yield the most fabric yardage.
  2. Be resourceful and don’t limit yourself to just clothing: wraps, and even sheets. drapes, and tablecloths can work well.
  3. Find a simple sewing pattern that will be easy to modify. I had found Simplicity pattern #2685 on Etsy. It required more fabric than what I could harvest from the blouse, so I decided to use a different, but complementary, fabric from my quilt stash for the lining. The lining fabric I selected wasn’t quite wide enough, but by decreasing the size of the lining pleats by a little, I got it to fit.
  4. Be creative by adding embellishments such as buttons and piping on the outside placard to make the bag truly your own. In this case, the fabric was so busy, I decided to eliminate the decorative placard all together.
  5. Don’t be afraid to mix and match pattern pieces from the various styles within the pattern package to meet your needs. I usually lengthen the straps, add an interior pocket for my phone, and attach a carabiner for my car and house keys.

There you have it. Happy Upcycling! xo

Simplicity pattern #2685 D.