The Challenge · Upcyling

Welcome to Upcycling My Year

After setting up BrawHem earlier this year, it felt appropriate that my New Year’s Resolution would involve sewing, and more specifically, upcycling. So this is my challenge – a whole year of making my own clothes, using only upcycled materials. And you can come along for the (likely rather bumpy) ride. I’ll be sharing my makes, tips for recycling and donating, some easy no-sew upcycling projects you can do at home, and information about reducing the 350,000 tonnes of clothing waste we produce each year.

You can get full details of the challenge and my reasons behind it here, but in brief the rules are:

  • No buying clothes from high-street stores.
  • I’m allowing myself to buy clothes from a charity shop, only if they’ll be drastically, structurally altered, or turned into something new entirely.
  • Anything I can’t sew (I’m thinking knitted things – I can’t knit, at all) I will buy handmade from small businesses.
  • No buying fabric from the roll. I will continue to source my fabric from pre-loved items – bedsheets, curtains, tablecloths, old clothes etc.
  • If my other New Year’s resolution of getting healthy works as well, then perhaps I’ll have a lot of clothes that don’t fit. I’ll alter these clothes so they do fit.

It’s all kicking off in a few days, in the meantime you can see what BrawHem is all about here, and while you’re at it why not give BrawHem a like on Facebook, and/or click the follow button at the bottom of the page to receive email updates. I’d love to hear about your New Year’s resolutions too, or ideas for reducing clothing waste.

Stay in touch, stay braw!

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26 thoughts on “Welcome to Upcycling My Year

    1. Hi Mona, thanks for the well-wishes! Agreed, slow-fashion is the way to go…it’s better for us, better for the environment, those employed in the garment industry etc etc. Thanks also for the follow!

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  1. Good luck! If you live anywhere near Lewisham in London there is a fabric stall that sells finished with fabric samples from all the major chain stores for like £3 a meter. Don’t know whether you’d count that as upcycling or cheating? 😀 it’s where I get most of my stuff from.

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    1. London seems to have the best fabric stalls! (I’m in Scotland though). I think I’d possibly count that as cheating as far as upcycling goes, because the idea is that the fabric once lived a life as something else. But, it is a good way of reducing waste because presumably otherwise it would just end up going to landfill.
      I have in the past had leftover fabric from family member’s projects given to me – I felt like I was doing a good thing by using it.

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  2. Good luck!
    Don’t know if you’d consider it cheating or not, but the fabric stall I get all my stuff from in Lewisham (London uk) gets all their stock as discarded/finished with samples from a load of the big high street chains design offices & sells it on for £3 a meter. Not sure whether that’d count as new or upcycled 😀

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  3. Reblogged this on growing evergreen and commented:
    The year of upcycling sounds like a great idea! I think I might hop onboard with that… Especially as I don’t shop at high street stores anyway: going into them always makes me feel a little sick and ill inside: I’m really not a fan of mass “stamped out” consumerism without a heart or soul.

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  4. How exciting. I’m big on upcycling! I’ve done it all my life. Comes from having to when I was growing up. Now I want to because it just makes sense. Looking forward to seeing all of your creations. Happy New Year! Koko:)

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  5. I should be doing this as I won’t be able to work for the next year and a half but I’ll take the chance to use the vouchers I’ve already earned from some online shops so once I’m done with that, I’ll go back to my usual swapping and thrifting. I’m house bound for the most part so no swapping for me for the moment

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    1. I don’t do much swapping either, so thrifting and upcycling it is! I think it’s important to remember that upcycling and repurposing isn’t just something for when you’re struggling financially, it’s something we can all do, all of the time. It’s tempting to slip back into old habits once your financial situation improves (still waiting for mine to improve! I too can’t work) but upcycling makes sense regardless of income.

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      1. Absolutely. I rarely buy anything when going out sopping with my friends and I take the time to really think about purchases now. I’m spoilt because I pay very little for clothes so I don’t want to pay high street prices unless I love the item. I am a big clothes consumer but as long as it’s mainly in those ways and I wear everything in my wardrobe several times over, I feel ok about being a second hand consumer and when I do buy something brand new, it doesn’t happen often and I’ve really thought about it

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    1. Yes definitely! I don’t spend a great deal on clothing as I buy a lot from charity shops anyway, but I imagine someone that regularly shopped in chain stores would save a lot!

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  6. WOW! I’m not good enough to sew all clothes I need. I wouldnt have brilliant ideas how to upcycle the clothes I have. So I’m following you from now on just to see how you realize your plan. Maybe it will be an inspiration for me not only to take a look but to copy your plan one day 🙂

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