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Do It

Learn to sew

Adele Peters


The average American throws out 68 pounds of clothing every year. Ever stopped wearing something because you didn't know how to fix it, or alter it if you gained or lost weight? Wish you knew how to transform old clothing into other things, like pillowcases or rugs? Commit to taking a sewing class, teaching yourself via videos online, or convince a friend to teach you.



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  • Elizabeth Stilwell

    There are a lot of online sewing classes now. And even if you are like me and don't have room for a sewing machine, at least take your clothes to the dry cleaner/tailor to be altered instead of chucking them. There is also a movement of repair cafes in Europe, and I hope it makes its way to the US. My friend wrote a guest post for me teaching simple stitches that can be used to repair or refashion clothing. It might help some people (I learned how to make a proper knot).

    • Stef McDonald

      Thanks for sharing the link on stitching. I have saved so many items of clothing with minor repairs (and I've also rescued/purchased items from thrift stores that needs just a little TLC with a needle and thread—amazing that people just discard something that can be easily repaired).

  • deb.kerr.39

    The teen-led One With Nature campaign wanted to do something environmental and fashion-focused, so we developed an Upcycle for Green Style activity, which includes refashioning old Ts and printing on old clothes with fabric paint and stencils.
    Please like the Facebook page, and check out some of the videos we made:

  • Neus Portas

    I have decided to update my wardrobe without buying anything: only upcycling what I already had. And I am having so much fun! Some shirts are becoming skirts, some dresses have been transformed in jumpsuits.... And I am having a completely new wardrobe while having fun and without spending money.

    • Stef McDonald

      Love that. I regularly upcycle t-shirts and tanks—so easy to transform a shirt with a pair of scissors and some needle and thread (and sometimes material from other items I no longer wear). And there are so many sources of inspiration to be found on Pinterest and Etsy or simply by googling for upcycled styles....

    • Adele Peters

      That's so inspiring! I think I'll try the same...

  • Carelia Norton

    Been sewing over 40 years. It's a great way to reuse and recycle, not to mention being able to make things like reusable shopping bags, which help even more.

  • CeOtt

    My husband has been banking old pairs of jeans, hoping that someday I'd take the time to patch them. I finally did - and we discovered that several of them are not salvageable, but hey - what a great trove of quilting material!! So, I'm going to use my commitment to make a quilt!

  • naridon

    haha! After many years I sowed (again) and it took only minutes to put a missing button on a shirt. And then I stumble upon this!