The Great Upcycling Challenge

Hi all! You might be asking WHY is that poor girl wearing that and trying to hide it under this beautiful fabric???


SewingPortfolios.com, Candice Ayala, Michael Miller Fabrics and Baby Lock USA have teamed up to sponsor the very first Great Upcycling Challenge! I was crazy excited to be chosen as one of the first 4 SP Diamond Ambassadors! That means I get to bring Y’all some new projects pretty regularly! Check out Candice’s post from yesterday and be sure to see the rest of the ambassador’s posts all week long!

When I was approached to participate in the kick off week blog tour, I had mixed feelings. I don’t like upcycling when it’s needlessly done (I’m looking at everyone who is taking gorgeous dressers and carelessly slapping on some paint and calling it “upcycling”). But I DO like upcycling when I think about the old garments as raw fabric. When I was in college, I would shop hardware stores for raw materials that could be made into something else. I watched a lecture by a prop maker once and he called it “shape shopping” and I knew other people did the same thing and they actually had a clever name for what I’ve been doing for years. So think of your soon to be upcycled garment (or sheet or whatever) not in terms of what it is now but what you can get out of it in the future.

Michael Miller Fabrics sent me some amazing fabric and, combined with a scrub top, I created this retro and mod babydoll dress using a highly modified Kosmos Dress pattern, cutting it at an empire waistline and adding a super full high/low skirt.

I liked using a totally utilitarian scrub top (and a boring one at that; no fun print or anything) and transforming it into something for a special occasion. The deep, deep black was perfect to pair with the über adorable fabric from the Glam Girls collection (available in August 2018). I wanted the focus to be on the print so it became the majority of the dress. And, in true Stephanie fashion, I created a deep 3″ hemline with a coordinating print from the same collection as a hem facing. I just love hem facings! They’re so incredibly easy and really take the outfit to the next level.

How did I upcycle this?

I essentially only used the shoulder shape from The Kosmos Dress sewing pattern and cut off the integrated collar to reshape the neckline and then CHOPPED off the rest of the dress to create an empire waist. I then made a super full skirt (it’s 80″ around) that has a high/low hemline. Making the hem facing was super easy. I traced the bottom of the skirt portion onto the hem facing print. Then I moved my piece up 3.5″ and retraced the skirt again. Hem facings are that easy to draft. I didn’t even make any paper pattern pieces!


I think the hardest part about this dress was matching up the print at the side seams. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty darn close.


I was on the fence about adding some patch pockets to the dress that I picked off of the top. They were super cute but I think they detracted from the overall design. I ultimately left them off.

Since I had a little extra fabric left over from sewing, I thought a headband to match the dress was the perfect accessory. It goes wonderfully with Girly’s little beehive hairdo! I’ve made a FREE PATTERN for the headband!!! It’s the perfect accessory to make with those little bits and pieces you have leftover after a project. And what little girl (or grown up girl too…) would love to have a matching headband to go with each of her bespoke outfits???

Sounds exciting, right? If you want to join in on the fun and try to win one of the amazing prizes, SUBSCRIBE to for The Great Upcycling Challenge and get all the nitty-gritty details. If you’ve already signed up, you will get an email letting you know a new post has been published each day this week. The contest opens up May 11th and runs through May 31st. And look at those prizes! That’s nothing to sneeze at. A Baby Lock sewing machine included in 1st place (I’ve had my eye on their Coverstitch machine for a while now)!

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