I found the Refashionista blog a few weeks ago and immediately read the entire backlog of posts, marveling at the amazing refashions of outdated clothing by South Carolinian Jillian Owens. It made me wonder what we had in the collection about recycling/refashioning clothing to give it some new life. If you, too, are interested in what can be done to limit the amount you spend on clothing, keep clothing out of landfills, or simply looking to add some flare and individuality to your wardrobe, check out some of these books (although you’ll have to place holds, since I have them all checked out right now).
For a refashioning book that’s also a good introduction to sewing machines, mending, thrifting and finding materials for your refashion, check out Sew Subversive: Down & Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista by Melissa Rannels, Melissa Alvarado, and Hope Meng. This book is full of ideas for personalizing your wardrobe, reusing old, unwanted garments and mending items of clothing you still wear.
If you really love vintage style, but want to update things a bit and alter them for a better fit, you probably want to pick up Born-Again Vintage by Bridgett Artise and Jen Karetnick. Most of the ideas in this book involve taking two items of clothing, chopping them up and then combining them in new and interesting ways. A few update items of clothing that were popular a few decades ago mostly by altering the length and sleeve style to look like current trends. This book is simply fun to browse through for ideas, and the instructions in the back tell you how to chop and combine clothing in a bit more detail than the Refashionista gives.
It seems like everyone has a bunch of old t-shirts they keep around for painting, cleaning, etc. If you’ve accumulated too many of those not-quite-wearable-in-public tees, you might want to pick up 101 Tees: Restyle + Refashion + Revamp by Cathie Filian or Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay for reuse ideas ranging from transforming your t-shirt into a tube top to turning a t-shirt into a skirt or making a rug out of old t-shirts.
One book specifically devoted to refashioning as a green idea rather than a fashion statement is Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials: Plus Tips & Resources for Earth-Friendly Stitching by Betz White. This book features creations made from thrift-store finds, scraps and recycled goods. It also includes designer features and tips for green sewers.
This is not an exhaustive list of our clothing refashioning books. If you don’t see quite what you’re looking for here, we also have some other books about refashioning.
If you’re completely new to sewing, you might want to check out one of our introductory sewing books before you tackle a serious refashion. S.E.W.: Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide by Diana Rupp, Me and My Sewing Machine: A Beginner’s Guide by Kate Haxell and The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing: 1200 Full-Color How-To Photos from Singer are all good places to start.