You know those times when everything in your closet just seems so boring? Whether you haven’t been shopping since you were in high school or your body has changed and you’re still wearing your old clothing, chances are you have a stack of clothes in your closet taking up space that you really don’t want to be wearing anymore.
I know I did, as did my friends, so we decided to get together to make a negative into a very big positive. Instead of going shopping together and blowing a few hundred dollars between us while we updated our wardrobes, we did something a whole lot more fun and cost effective – we upcycled our clothing.
For those not familiar with the term “upcycle”, the basic idea is that you use what you already have and are not using to create something new and fabulous that you would have otherwise had to buy. Think of it as the greener way to recycle.
So, to start my party off, I had all of the guests create two bags full of stuff beforehand – stuff they like but want to make amazing in one bag and stuff they really don’t want any more but can still be used for parts in the second.
Immediately upon walking into the party, they were greeted with two felt bins - one to dump their discards into for everyone to use as material, and one for the clothing they would like to upcycle. Once everyone had arrived, we went through the contents of the first bin together so everyone could see what materials they had to work with.
The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” comes to mind as digging through the discard bin quickly turned into a clothing swap where everyone grabbed a few new-to-them items. Hey, it's green and resourceful.
But, our purpose wasn't just to swap clothing, we were here to make our clothing awesome, which is why we had this little baby by our side:
"Introducing VIVO™ by SINGER®, the handy household tool for creating and repairing. Add personal touches to fun Do-It-Yourself projects with trims, appliques and embellishments; repair, patch and fix your garments and other items on the spot. VIVO™ by SINGER® is a snap to use and quick to set up, and its compact size makes it portable and easy to store."
The Singer VIVO Create & Repair Machine is one of Singer's "very basic machines", which makes it perfect for a party with non-sewers, but there are a whole lot of features packed into it that even advanced sewers can appreciate. While it won’t replace machines that have 100+ stitches and isn’t for really delicate and/or heavy duty fabrics, it is a great starter machine or compact machine for when you don’t need a full-size sewing machine and perfect for learning on since everything is easy to understand right out of the box.
Once we had our items for upcycle, or materials, and our "new" swapped items, we were ready to start working and fire up the VIVO. We started with one of the easier upcycles: adding a little extra length to a too-short t-shirt.
Together we chose a shirt in a complementary fabric and then discussed how much extra length was needed. Once that was done, it was simply a matter of cutting a few inches above the hem of the complementary shirt, pinning it to the short shirt, and then sewing it together with the VIVO using the recommended stitch for fabrics that stretch. Easy, peasy.
One project down, we got to work on a more tricky task: adding a yoga top to an old skirt. The only thing that made this more complicated was the fact the the skirt was a cotton weave with no stretch and the shirt we were using was t-shirt material that needed to be stretched in order to achieve the yoga-look and still hold up the skirt.
We improvised a quick mannequin using cardboard from a box waiting to be recycled, and that gave us just enough resistance to stretch the shirt for proper pinning. Once that was done, it was a matter of using a blind stitch to sew them together, and then the skirt was complete.
For our third project, we added a stretchy bottom to a too loose top using a torn tank top as the under layer and it was also incredibly easy and done within just a few minutes after pinning. The result was adorable, and the guest that was taking it home with her was incredibly happy to have rescued two items she wasn't wearing in her closet in one simple DIY fix.
Our last few projects were little fixes here and there - a side hem that was torn, jeans that had split at the knee, a skirt that needed new elastic, and then adding some appliques to items that just needed a little something to make them pop.
These last few projects gave even those who were resistant to touch the VIVO a chance to try it out without having complicated fabrics and stitches to worry about, and it was a great, fun way to finish because it showed just how quick and easy upcycling can be once you're on a roll. This was especially important to me as I would like to host an upcycling party every season and I want our group of ladies to see how easy it can really be.
Besides being a great way to reconnect with great friends, our upcycling party ended up saving us a ton of money that we would have spent replacing the clothing we repaired, and it gave us all a better idea of just how creative we can be together. So now instead of getting dressed every morning wishing "I wish this was longer" or "this shirt is boring, but it fits", I want them to see the vast potential in their closet now that we can upcycle with the VIVO so easily. Next time, we hope to have twice the stack of upcycle clothing and half as many items in the materials bin as we all start seeing even our rejects as having potential that we can bring about.
Who the Singer VIVO Repair & Create machine is for:
Portable sewers: anyone who sews with a group and needs a portable unit that they can easily transport will love the VIVO. I’ve borrowed machines my whole life and it was always stressful moving machines with small moving parts that weighed more than my children, so I love that the Vivo is easily carried – by the handle, even.
Upcyclers: the VIVO is basically made for upcycling. With all the basic stitches you could need as well as instructions on how to repair commonly torn/worn pieces as well as detailed instructions on adding appliques, patches, and more, the VIVO is perfect for upcycling an entire wardrobe.
Beginners: the VIVO is one of Singer's basic machines and has a great price point for those starting out. Since most beginners are inspired by looking at holes and tears in their own clothing and thinking "I bet I could fix that", the VIVO is a great starter machine.
If you fall into any of the above categories or are wanting to give sewing a shot, I would definitely recommend checking out the new Singer VIVO. Add it to your wishlist now, pick up one for a gift, and host your own party or sinply upcycle on your own with the Vivo.
You can also see DIY tutorials on the Singer website, like these adorable embellished towels and you can find out more about the amazing Singer VIVO Repair & Create machine on the Singer website. Be sure and connect with Singer on Facebook, Twitter, and at SingerCo.com