Saturday, April 23, 2011

Think Green by Participating in the "Recycle and/or Upcycle Clothing Swap"

In my continuous effort to be environmentally conscious, I attended a very cool recycling clothing swap in Santa Monica.  This annual clothing swap takes place in various locations around Los Angeles County.  The folks who run the swap send out an informative email that informs you about the time and location of the next swap.  This is a new way to recycle and/or upcycle, while keeping things out of the landfills by finding new homes for your old clothing.

The idea of swapping clothing is getting more and more popular.  It is a fun way to add to your wardrobe and to delete from your wardrobe as well. 
This is no ordinary swap, if you are not ready to swap out your old clothing then you are in luck. The organizers of this event offer the opportunity to upcycle your old wardrobe pieces with some new (well....new to you...) techniques that are demonstrated at this event.  They have sewing demonstrations, screen printing, re-construction, and much more.  At this event you can take either your new or old clothing and begin reconstructing them on the spot. 
The swap had a bunch of work stations where visitors could de-construct and re-make their new clothing finds.   
The event planners had a row of sewing machines set.  Along with all types of lace, ribbons, patches, button, etc. to accent an article of clothing.  This was rather fabulous, because I got to try out some very nice sewing machines that I would normally never have used.  I plan to purchase one in the future and this gave me some insight into the differences between sewing machines.
It was also handy to be around some great sewing coaches who were on hand to lend an opinion or two.  Some even taught attendees some great techniques to reconstructing their garments into toys, dresses, etc.  One of my favorites was a demonstration of how to take an item of clothing and turn it into a tote bag. 
There was someone on hand to teach folks how to deconstruct their old t-shirts and turn them into really cute corset tops.
This was a very popular workstation and an amazingly easy project to complete in less than an hour.


The next station was a "Pimp Your T-shirt" workstation where you could learn how to take your T-Shirt to a whole new level by cutting and pasting other shirts and embellishments together to create a whole new final project.


There was also a felt workstation, where visitors learned how to felt right onto the item of clothing to create something unique and fun.  It was really fun to felt onto jean material and create some fun accents.

Another personal favorite was the screen printing stations.    For those who may have been wanting to learn this skill, it is so fun.  The versatility of the screen and ability to create whatever image I wanted and then be able to print it onto my clothing was so cool.


You could use one of the preprinted patterns or draw your own and make a screen print to use on the screen-printing machines available on site.  Participants were able to print on their jeans, t-shirts, totes, dresses, and more.  They even brought in dryers so folks could have instant gratification.  


Above is a picture of some the ribbons, buttons, etc. that were donated for folks to use to fix up their new clothing designs.  Basically, any sewing or crafting supplies could be used to create something fun and new.

This show was top notch!  The final designs were fabulous.

At the end of the day the organization took held any left over clothing and donated it to a local charity.  

If you do not have anything like this going on in your area then you may want to look into: http://dignswap.com/  or start one in your area and open some new possibilities for folks in your home town.  

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