From Charity Shop Dress to Disco Jumpsuit

When Barnardo’s asked me if I wanted to take part in their upcycling challenge for Recycle Week, I jumped at the chance! I’m very passionate about pre-loved clothes, and even more so, recycling and upcycling them into something new.

I was asked if I wanted to choose my own clothes or be sent a mystery parcel. I opted for the latter. When my parcel arrived  (which including a sweet little sewing kit) the dress inside was something that I would never have chosen myself in a million years (I think this is a good thing… I love a challenge!)

The dress was a pretty smart evening gown from Hamells Wavelength, made of stretch velour with a great glitter detail and a deep v-shaped back. I’d guess it’s not that old, so not my usual vintage style (I love the 60s, 70s and 80s), plus it was a bit big and shapeless on me.

Lucy 3My instant thought on opening my parcel was:

Velour and glitter = disco = JUMPSUIT!

Jumpsuits have been a big trend this year and are the perfect wardrobe staple as we move into autumn, as they can be worn on their own or easily layered up. I’ve also really been enjoying the trend of slightly cropped wide legged trousers. They’re just so comfy and easy to wear, but have a stylish edge.

Despite the fact I’d never actually made a jumpsuit before, the fabric was a bit stretchy and forgiving so I thought it might work. I took some measurements first and checked that I could step into the dress before I turned the skirt part into pants.


I did this by cutting a split down the front and back of the skirt (the measurements I took helped me to determine where to cut) and then sewing up the seams to make two legs. I used a sewing machine, but if I’d had the time and patience it’s definitely a job that could be done by hand.

Lucy 4

I was actually happily surprised with the result, though the waist was still a bit big and shapeless, and I wanted to add bit more sparkle to compliment my outfit.

So I used some stretch/braided sequins I had in my sewing box to knock up a simple belt. This means I could cinch in my waist but still get in and out of the jumpsuit without the need to sew in a zip, which can be a bit fiddly. Result!

Paired with some heels I’ve had for years and a vintage handbag, I think I’ve managed to make something I wouldn’t usually have looked twice at in a shop, into something I’d quite happily wear for a night on the town.

Lucy 8

It’s also made me rethink the way I look at some clothes when I’m charity shopping. Usually I just head straight to the vintage section and overlook everything else, but this has made me realise I can inject a bit of my own style into more modern clothing too.

A big thank you to the lovely Lucy for taking part in the challenge. Feeling inspired? Why not get creative and get involved this Recycle Week.  Be sure to share your up-cycles with us, we would love to see.

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