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Project Upcycle

Thrifty Sewing Projects

with Betz White
Project Upcycle
Thrifters unite! Using basic sewing skills and an eagle eye for the good stuff at yard sales, you'll turn cast-off clothes into cute accessories.

It's chic to be cheap! Make funky and fabulous clothes and accessories that honor both the planet and your wallet. Sign up for Project Upcycle and learn the secrets of sustainable style. Betz White shows you how to find the treasures lurking at thrift stores and yard sales, and what to do with them once you find them. You'll learn easy ways to recycle vintage clothes and inexpensive materials into one-of-a-kind designs.

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Lesson plan


Lesson 1. Course Introduction

  • Betz teaches you about re-purposing and being thrifty at the same time. You will see how easy it is to transform something old into new fashions and accessories.


Lesson 2. Hunt and Deconstruct

  • With so much "stuff" in the world, where do you start looking for what you need? Betz guides you to the best places to look for items to repurpose, but also what will and will not work, what to look for, and importantly, what to avoid. You'll also learn how to felt wool sweaters to create an entirely different kind of fabric.


Lesson 3. Mad Cap

  • Using a wool skirt or men's wool suit on the outside and a dress shirt as the lining, create this sassy beret, a perfect accessory for fall. You will create a custom pattern to fit your head exactly, then follow the step-by-step instructions to sew the pieces together.


Lesson 4. Cashmere Shrug

  • See how easy it is to turn a thrift-store sweater into a playful shrug in a wrap style. Shorten the sleeves and sew a lettuce edging for a frilly look. Finish with a rosette made from the remaining scraps.


Lesson 5. Off-the-Cuff Wallet

  • How clever is this wallet? It's made from the cuffs of two dress shirts. The wallet has a pocket to hold the dollar bills you will save by upcycling, and several slots for credit cards, all secured with a Velcro closing and embellished with buttons.


Lesson 6. Felted Tote Bag

  • Can a woman ever have too many bags? Create a sturdy tote with a wool sweater from your closet or the thrift store. Use the original construction of the sweater to create the main part of the bag, then add a button flap and pocket with the remaining scraps.


Lesson 7. Wrap Skirt

  • Use tea towels, pillowcases, bed sheets or fabric from your stash to make a gored skirt that's fully lined and reversible. Sew it in three sizes, mixing and matching fabrics for a wonderful addition to your wardrobe.

"I loved everything about this class. The way, the pace, the clarity and absence of useless chattiness in which this lovely teacher teaches us, the fun projects, the reasonable background idea of upcycling in general."
avatar - saramu

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