Just back from a trip to the thrift store? Got 7 shirts in your closet waiting to be upcycled? Scraps from previous re-purposed items still to be dealt with? You’re in luck! Today is all about our last Maker Style – the Eco Expert! Projects include your personal Eco Expert apron, new repurposing projects to try, clever ways to use old clothing and how to make them unique.

This post is sponsored by Janome Canada

 How do you know if you are an Eco Expert? 

Take my super fun short quiz to find your personal Maker Style! Don’t miss out on lots more great sewing inspiration, grab a cup of tea and sit down with the new M Series  look book from Janome. I really enjoyed looking through it, the project tips and tricks are great and there are free patterns too!

Eco Expert Utility Apron (+ How I Shopped for Thrifted Fabric)

The Eco Expert apron is based on a tutorial from Sugar Bee Crafts. Their Utility Apron is easy to sew and requires minimal yardage – perfect for re-purposing your old or thrifted clothing!

I went thrift store shopping and found 3 skirts. All made from heavier fabrics, since I wanted this apron to be durable. The skirts I chose had various things I wanted to incorporate: denim – because of its durability, skirt tab – a fun detail to use in a new way, and great top-stitched seams – to add detail to the finished apron.

Always check to make sure they don’t have any stains or tears (though you could use that to your advantage too!). To save myself a bit of work I took the tutorial measurements and a measuring tape with me so I could be sure the skirts had enough fabric to fit.

Creative Up-Cycling (Anything is fair game!)

Here are a few ways you can use ready-to-wear clothing details to make your up-cycled project better!

Upside Down Hems: The tops of all of these apron pockets are the hems of each skirt. It was really simple to turn the skirt upside-down and cut the pieces out.The pink skirt had a bit of a curve to the hem and I was able to use that as a design feature!
Everything Has a Purpose: The pink skirt had a cute faux-button tab on the waistband. I was able to remove it and re-sew it to the skirt side to use as a scissor holder!
You Haven’t Seam it All: #seewhatIdidthere? Sorry for the joke – but the pre-sewn seams can add a fun detail to your up-cycling! I off-set all three skirt seams to add interest to the apron. Bonus: You won’t have to sew all that extra topstitching!
Stitch it Again: On the topic of seaming things. I had to re-stitch the hem on the pink apron. It had a pleat in the back and to remove it, the hem had to be un-stitched.To make things more fun, I used my favorite “X” stitch that comes on the Skyline and M Series Janome sewing machines. Just grab the F or F2 Satin Stitch foot and stitch right across where the old hem was topstitched.
Re-Use the Pockets: This is a common one. Take the pockets off your jeans and use them in your new project. Again, all that work cutting and topstitching is already done for you! A great example of this is to use one on the lining of my new favorite purse pattern – the Chobe. (Photo via Elle Puls, via Stitchydoo)
Use Plain Space: Ok – this is stretching the use of “ready-to-wear details” a bit, but lettering is so fun! If you use some blank space to add a fun detail like the I did with the word “MAKER” here. Again, this alphabet is available on the Janome Skyline S7 I used to stitch this apron, and the new M Series machines.BONUS: If you have some pre-loved leather around, you can make a simple Leather Label too!

 You can find more ways to embellish your sewing in the Sewing Diaries: 9 Ways to Embellish and Label Your Projects.

Re-Purposing Projects to Try

I’ve found some great up-cycling sewing projects you can try. The quilts are the best since you can destash and a lot of fabric all at once! If you like these and want more, you can follow my UpCycle or Alter Pinterest board. (Made with Eco Experts in mind!)

Make a quilt from upcycled sweaters with this tutorial from Made by Barb. I have so many hearts for this! It’s gorgeous, and I imagine, quite warm. Can not wait to make one! (photo via Made by Barb)
Sweater Tote. I have seen this tutorial floating around blog-land for many, many years. I’ve never made it, but it looks amazing! Maybe this year? (Photo via Lemon Squeezy Home)
T-Shirt Quilt on a MooseRe-purpose T-shirts into a keepsake T-Shirt Quilt ~ I made this one for my husband and got rid of preserved quite a few of his favorite shirts!
This child’s dress made from a men’s dress shirt is super cute! You can find the tutorial on Made Everyday. I made my daughter a nightgown this way and she quite literally wore it out. (photo via Made Everyday)
This page in my Quiet Book tutorials uses lots of re-purposed items. You could make This “Buckle-Up” page with your child’s baby clothes to make it even more special!
Seriously #cutecats! These Cashmere Cats are handsewn and embroidered from a sweater sleeve – no side seams! A great kids project – and Bonus – something to do with the sleeves from your sweater quilt! (Photo via By Your Hands)

This Dress Shirt Quilt looks so cozy!The simple squares and high loft batting make it really appealing, and I think even more cozy if it was made with stripes and plaids! I even have a stack of shirts stashed, ready to make one – someday! (Photo via Sew Mama Sew)

Hope you had fun visiting today. What is your favorite Upcycling Project? Be sure to follow #alongforthreadride!