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Upcycling Jeans into Bags

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Upcycling Jeans into Bags
Teach a bunch of teens how to upcycle jeans into bags?
I was a little hesitant at first because teenagers are a moody bunch and sometimes I do get the impression that they turn up to these workshops because they were "volunteered" to by their teachers. Well, not this bunch of ITE Central College students - they were a very captive audience and, I must add, very creative. Here's what they made.

Agy upcycling workshop Singapore

Agy upcycling workshop Singapore
Agy upcycling workshop Singapore

Agy upcycling workshop Singapore

upcycling workshop Singapore

Mending Again - Embroidered Flower Patches

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Mending Again - Embroidered Flower Patches
Repairing with Free Motion Embroidery

Sometimes garments will need a second mend.

I was wondering if I would ever get tired of my black jacket, but no, I haven't. It's one of my favourites because (if you have heard me talk about it), it's the one where I burnt it on the collar. It was one of those moments when the fabric gets damaged from an iron that's too hot. I had originally added flowers from a scarf and appliqued them onto the jacket. Now the patches are starting to fray.

I decided to keep the patches but overlay them with free motion embroidery.
Initially, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do a satin stitch or a straight stitch. It became and experiment, trial and error on scraps first and then finally trying out both on the jacket. Problems did arise with the tension and so you can see that sometimes the bottom thread shows up at the top. Tension is my number one enemy! Well, free motion embroidery requires a lot of patience, so never do it if you are in a rush or feeling annoyed. Once you get the tension right and you have practiced on a piece of scrap, the stitching is a breeze.

Repairing with Free Motion Embroidery

Repairing with Free Motion Embroidery
Repair Using Free Motion Embroidery
Repairing with Free Motion Embroidery

Upcycled Clothing, Slow Clothing

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I always enjoy teaching people how to upcycle and more importantly, how to reconnect with their clothing. It's always such joy to hear positive feedback from the participants on how they felt during the making process, and of course, what they took back home in terms of skills. Here's what the participants of the Restyle Your Wardrobe Workshop had to say:
"I joined this workshop last year so that I could learn basic sewing but I came back with more knowledge on how to transform my old clothes into newer designs. Agatha is very patient and willing to brainstorm ideas on how to create a design that you will love! I transformed an old dress into a skirt and I love wearing it. I have since transformed other old dresses into new skirts. Learning a new skill has never been this fruitful ~"  Rachel
"One of the most fun workshops I attended last year! All the best AgyLara of Secondsguru
Lara and Anuja even wrote up their experience of when they attended the workshop

So what did the participants make this time round? Rather than convert them into wearable items, a majority of them converted them into useable products such as cushion covers, bolsters, bags (a yoga mat bag!) and even a pencil case. 
Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshop

Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshop

Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshop

Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshop

Trying out a new format to the workshop

Many of the participants fed back that they would like a longer session to the workshop. The original workshop was only about 5 hours and so I decided to extend it to 8 hours over a 2 day period. The 8th run will be held at IDEASHub @UWCSEA Dover.  I am very excited about the longer format as this gives everyone a chance to make more things and explore more techniques.

Dates: 22 and 29 April (2 day workshop)
Time: 1 - 5pm
The price is $133 per person
Buddy discount - 10% off if you bring a friend.
Sign up at this link.

Restyle Your Wardrobe Upcycling Workshop


Upcycling Meets Batik

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Upcycling Meets Batik
video

"The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you"
Coco Chanel

I love any colour and I enjoy changing the colour of my clothes.  The last time I tried dyeing my clothes they turned out wonderful. There was the shibori style and batik, and because many of my readers asked when I would be holding a batik x upcycling workshop, I thought it was very apt to collaborate with Cherlyn Mark of +artathomesg as part of the Singapore Design Week.  

Dyes can be used to hide stains or unwanted marks on the garment.
Dyes can enhance. 
Dyes can give a garment new life.

Available Dates: 11th and 12th March
Cost: $95
Sign up: http://bit.ly/BatikUpcycle
Take home a basic DIY batik kit.

Batik Upcycling

Once you learn the basic batik techniques you can start exploring applying them on your own clothes. 

Batik


Check out what happened:

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people standing


upcycling batik

upcycling batik

Wander Responsibly in Singapore

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Wander Responsibly in Singapore
Fashion Revolution is happening very soon but it's difficult to know what your sustainable fashion options are when we are known as a shopping paradise (did you know that we had more than 150 malls on this tiny island of ours?). At the beginning of the year, I was invited by ProjectJUST to share Singapore's sustainable options in a city guide. I had some doubts about how much Singapore has to offer as last year's research had only revealed a handful of businesses in this niche area. But this year I was pleasantly surprised by how much the market has grown. Let's hope that sustainable goes mainstream!

Read the city guide and wander responsibly! I hope you enjoy this beautiful city as much as I do.

City Guide Singapore Sustainable Options

Who are ProjectJUST?
ProjectJUST an online platform that reviews fashion brands for their supply chain ethics and sustainability. Extensive research is conducted, covering four approaches - self-reported information by the brand, 3rd party reports (e.g. NGOs), media reports and coverage, and finally seeking direct input from the brand. The work is transparent and available on their site for the public to review.  If you don't see a brand on the site, you can make a request. Hop over to ProjectJUST now and see how it can empower you not only to make conscious consumer decisions but influence the industry towards positive practices.

Kintsugi Inspired Trousers - Another Upcycle

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Kintsugi Inspired Trousers - Another Upcycle
The first time I went to Japan I witnessed how disciplined everyone was in disposing of their rubbish, in separating and then recycling their waste.  My brother's Japanese mother-in-law was very meticulous in this and made sure that she did not buy more than what was necessary and even ensured things did not go to waste. I remember witnessing her carefully save 1 uneaten cooked potato for the next day. I think most of us would have thrown it away but the Japanese have "mottainaiもったいない ingrained in their DNA. Their "don't waste" approach to life is something we could learn from.

What makes the "mottainai" approach work? 
The Japanese culture finds beauty in broken or old things or "wabi-sabi", and this philosophy goes back many years.  The story goes that a Japanese shogun sent his damaged Chinese tea bowl back to China to be repaired only for it to come back with unsightly staples. This spurred the Japanese to look for a repair technique that would make the ceramic look as good as new.  And so kintsugi was born - broken pieces of ceramic are assembled back together with gold dust and resin or lacquer.


Image: Haragayato

Kintsugi and Sewing
I don't think I have ever thought of repairing broken china with gold but artists such as Zoe Hillyard and Charlotte Bailey have put a twist on it by combining embroidery with kintsugi. So instead of gold dust, they have used gold thread.



Viktor + Rolf have also incorporated kintsugi into their Spring / Summer 2017 collection. I love how their textile remnants are combined together with repair techniques to create beautiful pieces. 

Viktor&Rolf Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017 - Boulevard of Broken Dreams from Viktor&Rolf on Vimeo.

My Kintsugi Inspired Piece

I don't have gold dust or gold thread. Actually, I was looking at the gold thread and couldn't bring myself to buy it. So although this is kintsugi inspired, there isn't any gold thread. I have taken fabric scraps and remnants from my stash and sewn them onto my husband's old denim shirt. My husband has had this since college days (yes, that old) and it was starting to thin so a bit of patching with scraps was perfect for this project.

[Update: scraps were from my Restyle Your Wardrobe workshops and there are some pieces from Matter which were handed out during an art exhibition at TedX Singapore]

Using kintsugi to upcycle a top


The shirt was transformed into a pair of trousers and this took a long time as I was stitching each piece of scrap one at a time.  If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know what I mean. I think started it in November.


Yes, you can use a soldering iron in textile projects!

Some free motion embroidery
For the kintsugi effect I used satin stitches and free motion embroidery over a sandwich of chiffon and scraps. I even used a soldering iron to burn some of the chiffon, creating a bit of kintsugi.

Kintsugi

The most difficult part (apart from the patches) was actually making the trousers, but I got there in the end! I added some bias tape at the bottom for a better finish and I was going to include dark blue tubing along the seams as well but decided against it in this upcycle. 


Kintsugi upcycle


I wasn't too sure about the yellow but after sewing the waistband everything fell into place!


kintsugi upcycle

upcycling a shirt into trousers

How would you use kintsugi in your creations?

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This is linked up to:
Threading My Way
Sum of the Their Stories

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