A Leader Asks

The 4-H’ers I sew with would like to recycle or up-cycle garments for their next sewing projects. These 4-H’ers take sewing for 2 years before I work with them. Is there a project book for that? I see there are both “Design” and “Create Your Own” project booklets. They are also asking if they may participate in Fashion Revue with their recycled sewing projects.

And We Respond…

The Design project book is the one to use for a re-cycled garment. The important thing to know is that the garment must be significantly changed. This means the 4-Her cannot simply make alterations to the garment to make it fit (taking it in, making it shorter, etc.) but must change or re-make the garment into a new one. For example, the 4-Her could purchase a wool coat, take it apart and re-cut the fabric into a jacket or blazer or even another coat (a pattern could be used to create the new garment) A long, outdated prom dress could be taken apart, the skirt shortened and re-cut to be a slim skirt and a bodice could be made (again using a pattern if necessary) from the remaining fabric or from new fabric. An extra large man's shirt could be made into a skirt. A long sleeve blouse could be made into a sleeveless top with a different neckline, but making a long sleeve blouse into a short sleeved blouse would not count as a significant change. Really, the best way to think of it is that the fabric is what is being re-cycled; the garment is taken apart and the fabric is used to make another garment.

Re-cycled projects are permitted at Fashion Revue--this past year there was a coat made from recycled fabric. The 4-Her should to be prepared to explain to the judges what changes were made to the original garment. A picture of the original garment would be helpful and would help to illustrate the changes that were made. I would strongly encourage this.

The Design project may also be used when combining patterns. I had a 4-Her this year who used the bodice from one pattern and the skirt from another to make a formal dress. She had a vision of the type of dress that she wanted and could not find a pattern but was able to get the exact look she wanted by combining two different patterns. She "designed" her own dress.

We hope this helps! Let me know if there are more questions.

~Maureen Light (molight@gmail.com)