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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thrift Fix: Upcycling Thrifted Finds with Swoodson Says

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My guest blogger today is a fellow Iowa blogger and thrifter, Stephanie Woodson.  She is much more talented with the sewing machine than I am (remember how I swore off sewing?) and she looks adorable in her thrifted outfits!  Check out Stephanie’s blog and tell her I sent you!

I love thrifting!

I shop thrift stores three-fold:

  1. for clothes that I’m going to wear off the rack
  2. for clothes that I want to refashion into something else
  3. for clothes that I want to cut up solely for the fabric

I especially like buying garments that have a stain or hole; I know no one would buy them as-is but I can rescue them!


I dug around in my closet and pulled out a few of my favorite outfits that include thrifted clothes. I know some of you will be grossed out by ‘used’ shoes but each of these pairs was new with tags! I’m always shocked at the brand new clothing I find at Goodwill.

Swoodson Says Thrift 2 Swoodson Says Thrift 3 Swoodson Says Thrift 1

Tips for shopping thrift stores for refashions & upcycles:

If you’re looking to buy something solely to cut it up and use the fabric (an upcycled project), bigger is always better. Be sure to consider any details like buttons, plackets, pockets, elastic, etc. that eat up usable fabric. Linens, like sheets and duvet covers, can also be used as cheap practice fabric. One of my favorite recent projects was actually made from the scraps of other upcyled projects: Rainbow Harem Pants.

If you’re looking to buy something and adapt it to your taste (a refashioned project), try to keep your comfort level with sewing in mind. A shirt that is three sizes too big will likely have to be completely deconstructed, whereas a shirt one size too big will require more minor adjustments.

Writing this post inspired me to dig out something from my to-refashion pile and get started on summer sewing! Check out my recent post on cutting up one maxi skirt and using it to refashion three separate shirts. Here are two of my favorite past refashions: Maternity Skirt Refashion & Valentine’s T-shirt Refashion,

Always keep the following factors in mind when considering a piece of clothing! It’s easy to fall in love with a fabric or a print but it’s only worth buying if it will suit your project’s needs.

Things you can change or work with:

  • Color (by using dye and/or bleach)
  • Small holes or stains (cutting around them, appliqueing/designing over them)
  • Fit (bigger to smaller is always easier!)

Things you cannot change:

  • Strong detergent, smoke, or other odors
  • Fiber content (cotton is cotton and polyester is polyester)
  • Pattern scale (large stripes on a man’s shirt will not translate well on a women’s pair of short shorts)

I hope this inspires you to look a little deeper next time you’re thrifting or maybe brush up on your sewing skills!



thrift-fix_thumb5_thumbThis post was part of Thrift Fix.  To see all Thrift Fix posts, click here.

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  1. Thanks for having me, Katie! And let me know if I can sway you back to the sewing side ;)

  2. Cute! Love the idea of changing up some boot cut jeans to skinny crops

  3. Maybe you should offer free sewing lessons to your fellow Iowa bloggers?!!! So terrible at it....
    Love the cropped pants!

  4. FABULOUS! She looks adorable in her thrifted outfits. I need to have more patience for this, because I see like 2103 grannie things and get discouraged.