New Year, New Uses: Upcycling Joy

As we continue in our week of Upcycling, I hope that you find new ideas and inspiration.  I feel like people have a misconception that when you upcycle, you can't use patterns on the market - False.  I also feel like people worry that they are supposed to only use the upcycled garment or item in their new project - also false.  There are no rules and no restrictions when it comes to upcycling.  My way of approaching upcycling is to simply look at it as fabric.  It might not be in the same shape and size as fabric off the bolt, but it is just fabric - waiting to be sewn into whatever your mind can imagine.

Upcycling should be fun, it should make you smile, it should bring you joy.  And today, Jane takes the Violette Field Threads Joy pattern and turns something old into something new.


I love seeing pictures of clothing made with modern patterns and vintage upcycle fabrics. It’s such a sweet combination.  However, none of the previous generations of my family ever spent much time sewing so I have never received any hand me down fabrics to work with.  Therefore, I sometimes stop in Goodwill to see if they by chance have anything usable and in good enough condition.

 After several failed Goodwill attempts I finally spotted a set of vintage pillowcases one day and bought them for $1.99 even though they weren't quite what I was looking for.  I absolutely loved the print on them, but wasn’t sure what I would do with pillowcases.  I was however determined to turn them into something beautiful.  After sitting and staring at them for a very long time I decided that they needed to be paired with a pattern that had a big enough bodice to show off the large floral pattern printed on the center of the pillowcases and also needed to include a place where I could use the floral trim printed around the edges of the pillowcases.

 When I envisioned how it could be put together with the Joy pattern by Violette Field Threads my heart almost skipped a beat!  I cut the long and short end seams off of the pillowcases so I could open them up and see how much fabric I had to work with. I actually had enough lengthwise to construct a size 3 Joy dress (except for the front and back panels of the skirt). but decided to go with a top paired with jeans.  I was able to use the small floral trim pieces for the straps and the side panels of Joy and the center floral designs for the front and back bodice pieces.  I picked a solid white for the front and back center skirt pieces because the pillowcases did not provide enough material for these two sections and I also used a solid green scrap for the side ties.

 Throughout the whole process I will admit that I was thinking it would probably be a flop.  One problem I had is that the new white material for the center of the front and back skirts was brighter than the pillowcase side panels, but I really wanted to use white.  I‘m a little OCD about things like that and I thought it would look ridiculous when it was done.  However, to my surprise it was quite the opposite.  This may be one of my most favorite things I have ever sewn.

 I am in LOVE with the Joy pattern and can’t wait to sew many, many’s unique, easy to sew, has great instructions and has a very feminine feel to it.  I honestly believe there wasn’t a better pattern for this upcycle project and everytime I look at that sweet fabric and pattern combined I feel Joy.