How to Upcycle Clothing with Appliques

how-to-upcycle-clothing-cover-holes-stains-appliques-dear-handmade-lifeWhen I was a kid I loved Sundays. It wasn’t just that I didn’t have to go to school. It was because that was the day that my mom and I would scour the neighborhood for garage sales. Normally I hated getting up early but I loved searching for things in dusty boxes even more than sleeping in.

I loved finding old photo albums and getting a glimpse into stranger’s lives through images of their intimate moments and cherished memories. Often I’d find the albums at estate sales of people who’d passed away and it made me sad to think about how there was no one left to hold onto the albums and pass along the family memories to the next generation.

Also on the top of my list was vintage clothing. This was the 1980s and there was still so much vintage clothing around from the 1950s-1970s. Lovely cashmere sweaters, beaded party dresses, old rock and roll concert shirts and bright flowered muumuu’s. The only problem was that lots of these clothes had been stored in an attic for years and weren’t in the best condition. My mom had taught me how to sew and sometimes I could fix a tiny hole with a few stitches but often there were too many holes or the stains were too big. When that was the case I’d sew on some appliques and give new life to a dress or sweater that otherwise would have ended up in the trash.

Recently one of my favorites dresses got into a scuffle with a Sharpie marker. I couldn’t bear to let it go. I remembered my applique addiction born of childhood garage sale finds and set out to make my dress wearable again. One of the things I love about appliques is that you can make them out of just about any fabric or shape so they’re versatile enough for pretty much any garment or style. So, next time you’re about to drop off one of your favorite shirts or jeans at the thrift store, think twice and put an applique on it!

Head over to Bernina’s We All Sew blog for the full tutorial and step-by-step instructions and photos.

-Nicole S.


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