{Definition of Upcycling: the process of converting unwanted materials or 
useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.}

We’ve been bitten by the upcycling bug, and have been suffering the symptoms for over a week now. Out of concern and care for all of you, we thought we’d share our tips for coping with the symptoms and how to move forward with pieces you can wear out on the town and be proud of.

Here’s our first big undertaking, that surprisingly only took a few (tv-watching, distracted) hours. So in actuality, not exactly a “big” undertaking. Just cool to have a finished product that looks legit.

So here’s what we started with : 
a secondhand maxi skirt we bought at Thrift Town for $1.99.

The idea was, we wanted to make a flowing off-the-shoulder dress with sleeves,
using just the maxi skirt.

So, using the elastic top for the off-the-shoulder part, just simply slipped it on, and had some help putting pins where sleeves would need to be cut to. Take off, measure from the pins & cut. The original fullness of the skirt made it possible to cut sleeves and still have plenty of fabric for the dress.

Then just turn inside out, and (for us – hand)sew up the side seams and the sleeves. We ended up cuffing the sleeves & tacking them to stay happily cuffed. A little adjusting here and there, once everything was seamed up to get the fit just right, and ta-da!

. . .

On its two outings thus far, the little skirt that could has received rave reviews,
even before anyone knew it was second-hand-made. That definitely feels like a success!

Just a couple favorite accessories in the mix, and we’re set!

Add to the $1.99 original price of the skirt, $2.99 for the minty flats (at Goodwill), $0.99 for the gold cuff (at Thrift Town) and hand-me-down earrings. This means for UNDER $6.00 : a complete look that no one else will be wearing.

This whole dress was hand-sewn, but since then three different people have offered to donate a sewing machine to the new Juniper James upcycling project. {check out our post on the new addition!} Thanks friends! We’re really looking forward to sharing more second-hand-made projects with all of you.

Do you sew? Do you upcycle?

Send us pics of pieces you’ve altered & we’ll feature them here on Juniper James.
Tag us on FB, or send to: {juniperjamessacramento@gmail.com}

Keep your interweb lovin’ eyes peeled for more upcycling projects from us!



  1. Pingback: CONVERTABLE WARDROBE STAPLE. « Juniper * James

  2. Wow!!! Love love love!!

    Any chance you provide additional details on your next upcycle creation? I love how you added sleeves – that’s something I always struggle with.

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