The Great Upcycling Challenge


Hi! I am so excited about today’s post! All week, Candice Ayala has been kicking off the First Annual Upcycling Challenge! Her post is full of tips for upcycling, and there have been amazing inspiration posts all week. I get to finish up the kick off week, and open the challenge to the rest of you!

Candice started a site called Sewing Portfolios a couple of years ago, and it has been amazing to watch it grow. Anyone who sews can make a free profile, and the goal is to get sewists connected with businesses and brands! I’m extra excited, because I was chosen as one of the first four SP diamond ambassadors, for a collaboration with Michael Miller Fabrics!

This Upcycling Challenge is sponsored by Michael Miller, and I got to choose one of their new lines to sew with. I chose this beautiful, sweet Simple Bow print from the upcoming Applause Collection, by Sandra Clemons.

Applause Logo_preview


The idea behind upcycling, is to give new life, and added value to something old, through adding new materials to it, and/or by adding time and labor to it. I did both for my creation.

I’m a serial thrifter, and I often find things that I want to buy, just for the good fabric in them. This skirt was one of those items. It’s been in my pile for a while, and I pulled it out for this challenge. It’s a great quality French terry, in a gorgeous grey-blue color.

before after collage

Candice has several tips in her kick off post, I’d encourage you to go read. She suggests looking at the garment as fabric, and then it’s easier to envision a skirt being turned into a shirt, instead of bottoms, for example. Also, to use the existing details on the item you’re going to upcycle in your new item. I loved the seam down the front and back center of the skirt, and decided to cut my shirt with the same feature.  When it was time to cut the sleeves, I decided to keep the seam down them too. To make sure I was lining it up correctly, I folded my sleeve pattern piece in half. Fold from the center notch that will go at the shoulder seam, and make sure the bottom hem is level with each other. Then you can open up your sleeve piece to cut, and put the notch at the top, and the fold at the bottom on your seam to get a straight detail.


I normally don’t sew straight from a pattern, without modifications, if I’m not under the constraints of testing, and I most certainly don’t make a top and bottom set from the same pattern, but this one is just too perfect to mess with! This is the Gigi Set from Mingo and Grace. It is a full woven skirt, and a woven crop top pattern. The skirt sits at the natural waist, so the crop top shows no skin, or maybe a sliver. The back has different options, including 2 that are full coverage, but I like it open like this, for summer.


I made this top from knit, and used the same skirt fabric for the facing, to help with stability. You can’t beat the comfort of knit.

I realized while I was sewing, that the last time I made this skirt was also the last time I got to sew with Michael Miller fabrics. Oops! It is just such a perfect pattern, easy to sew, and just the right length. I’ll branch out next time 🙂


Now it’s your turn to sew! Shop your closet, shop your husband’s closet, or you kid’s, or you aunt’s! It’s garage sale season in my part of the world, and there’s always thrift stores open! I’m so excited to see all the new creations!

If it’s not exciting enough just to breathe new life into something old, there are some BEYOND AMAZING prizes available. The challenge will be open from May 11-May31 2018, and guest celebrity judges will be choosing the winner at the beginning of June! Ahhhh! Baby Lock! I have an old Singer sewing machine, that was my mother-in-law’s, and I don’t want to upgrade, because I know I can’t get as good of a machine in my budget, but a Baby Lock would be the dream machine to sew on. Plus, look at all the fabric you could win!!


**The challenge is now open! Check the email you received when you subscribed for all the details on how to enter, or sign up here to join the challenge, and to get all the terms, rules, and guidelines!**

The rest of the posts have gone up earlier this week. Each one is an amazing project, I hope you’ll click through to all of them to see!

Monday: Candice Ayala 
Tuesday: Steph Carton of Eli Monster
Wednesday: Gemia Carroll of Phat Quarters
Thursday: Cassandra Gobin of Pearberry Lane
Friday: Liesel Engelbrecht of It’s Liesel

Happy sewing!

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