Feed on



Several of the clothing artists and crafters in the second section of my book, Glad Rags: Red Panties, Cowgirl Boots and a Sweet Dress to Die For, create their own unique garments through upcycling – recycling done one better. They see a piece of clothing as raw material for creating something entirely newt.

Thus, a bagged out wool sweater gets thrown in a washing machine full of hot water and is shrunk, felted, cut up and used as a component for something else—a hat, pocketbook or fingerless gauntlets.

A rather plain winter dress gets cut apart and combined with velvet trim and sparkly pockets to make a super evening coat.

Tammy Perakis Wallace buys linen skirts, blouses and dresses from the thrift store, takes them apart and recombines them to make one-of-a- kind tops and dresses for the “real-sized woman” that she then sells on her etsy site, Red Panty Designs. She will pull a line of buttons from here, an interesting pocket detail from there, paying particular attention to drape and flow of the fabric.

Marge Diamond makes stunning and sophisticated wool hats for women, using fabric from outdated men’s business suits that she has cut up and felted.

My daughter-in-law transforms material from my son’s cotton work shirts that have gotten a bit frayed around the edges into fun summer dresses for her daughter – by adding ruffles and flourishes and a perhaps a polka dot ribbon sash.

Crocheted doilies were once ubiquitous accessories in many of our grandmothers’ houses, perched primly on the fat arms and backs of overstuffed sofas. I began to look at doilies in a whole new light, however, after I bought a hand crafted jacket that used cut up doilies and beadwork as design elements on the sleeves.

 Browsing around a antique mall one afternoon, I also came across a fun purse made entirely of several, different sized doilies. And then a few months later, my dear sister sent me a hat which she had found at a craft fair that had been created around salvaged, upcycled doily. Once you start upcycling, the possibilities become endless!



Upcycling is kind of a modern variation on quilting whrein embroidered hankies, silk ties and outgrown dresses were fair game for a new winter bed covering. The great thing about upcycled clothing is that you actually get to wear your handiwork out and about.

Glad rags are most definitely clothes that help you get your happy on. Put that doily on your head or sew it on your jeans. Pour yourself a glass of wine, girlfriend, and have yourself a party.

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