Discovering amazing upcycling divas that share my passion for refashion, sustainability and creating one of a kind style is fabulous! Unfortunately they’re usually not quite close enough to hang out with in person, fortunately we can connect online and I can share their awesomeness with you too!
Erin Stevens of Garage Couture is most certainly a kindred spirit that I’d be thrifting with all of the time if we lived on the same continent! Alas I’m now in Canada and she’s in Europe so we’ll have to do our hanging out virtually.
Get the scoop behind this brilliant refashionista, grab her fab t-shirt refashion and find out why I’m Totally Smitten With Garage Couture + DIY Cowl Neck Top Tute!
I started sewing when I was 12, making clothes from brightly colored prints. Then, when I was 15, I started shopping at thrift stores. Having grown up in a small town style was limited to what the local mall carried, fast fashion trends which all the girls wore. For me, it was boring. Thrift shops offered me an array of exciting styles, prints, colors. I was a kid in a candy store.
Fast forward 10 years and I had a career but had also started to make and sell clothing from upcycled materials and reclaimed fabrics. I would buy a bunch of tshirts at the thrift store, tie dye them, cut them down the front or on the shirt seams and then tie those cuts into cute little bows. I’d make a bunch on the weekends and bring them to work in a vintage, floral print suitcase and sell them to my coworkers. They LOVED them.
5 years later and, with a husband and two kids, decided to quit everything, sell everything and move to Lithuania! Much to my pleasant surprise, we moved to an area with tons of thrift shops and my first thought was why not create an online business making and selling upcycled clothing and Garage Couture was born!
What do I make? Sustainable, eco friendly fashion. I upcycle, repurpose, recycle, refashion (call it what you want) clothing, jewelry and accessories. Why do I do it? I try to live an eco conscious lifestyle. And, simply put, I find upcycling and repurposing to be interesting and challenging. A women’s tunic made from a man’s dress shirt is just so uniquely cool!
Erin’s Top 5 DIY Style Tips:
1. Fabric scraps make great ruffles.
2. Neckties are always good to wear or refashion.
3. If you buy a clothing item, make sure it goes with at least 5 other things in your closet.
4. Don’t read fashion magazines (or if you must, do it rarely).
5. If you’re pining over a “must have” apparel piece, go home and think about it. If you’re still thinking about it a week later, then go back and buy it. If you’ve forgotten what it was, clearly it wasn’t meant to be.
Erin’s Easy Upcycled DIY Cowl Top Tutorial:
I’ve always loved menswear! Dress shirts & neckties are so unique to style and I wear them on a regular basis. One day I had an epiphany, why not create women’s fashion from these materials? Girly, feminine menswear – unique clothing with a story behind it and a conversation to follow it!
You’ll need a t-shirt (or jersey top) and a men’s button-up shirt.
Remove the sleeves from the button-up shirt and cut off the seams and cuffs. Put one sleeve into the other with right sides facing and stitch the cuff ends together with a ½” seam.
tip: if the sleeves are very long, cut off an additional 1” from the sleeves when cutting off the cuffs. Sleeves that are too long will result in a cowl that is too big for the shirt.
Turn right side out.
Lay the connected sleeves on an ironing board, fold in one raw end, approximately ½”, and iron to create a clean edge. Take the other end and slip it into pressed side to form the cowl loop. Pin and stitch together.
Position the cowl on the t-shirt with the cowl’s angled side away from the shirt. Essentially, the cowl should be stitched to the shirt so that it folds down like a turtleneck. Arrange and pin the cowl along the neckline of the t-shirt. (if your t-shirt has a small neckline you may have to cut and widen it prior to attaching the cowl)
Stitch the t-shirt and cowl together. The seam will be visible on the outside of the shirt so go ahead and sew as close to the edge as possible for a nice, finished edge. Fold down the cowl and it is ready to wear.
These upcycled cowl necks can be added to just about anything! Blouses, dresses, tanks – get creative and get making!
Are you an eco-fashion warrior, thrifty style guru, upcycling star or refashionista? Get in touch, introduce yourself and be featured in an upcoming Totally Smitten With!