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When Buying is Not an Option, Upcycle!

I talk a lot about fair-trade on the blog and there is a reason for that, it is so very important. This week is fashion revolution week. It serves as a reminder for those lives lost during the collapse of the Bangladesh factory killing over 1000 workers. I do believe the industry has changed in the last 4 years. There is more awareness, more advocacy and more companies out there trying to make a difference in the lives of their workers.

However, there is still a lot out there that do not know about fair-trade or what exactly it is. My hope, is that through this blog, more people continue to understand the importance of fair-trade. The item that I hear the most however is that fair-trade is so expensive and making the transition over can be daunting. I totally get that. It can be very expensive. It is cheaper and easier to buy in large store that mass produces their items. A few thoughts on this:

  1. Try focusing on buying just one item fair-trade. It does not have to be everything. That is crazy unrealistic. As a wife and a mom, I understand that. By purchasing just one item though, you are still making an ENORmous impact in someone’s life.
  2. Focus on quality over quantity. We live in a culture where we like our stuff. But let’s be honest, we have too much. This is an area that I have been working on this year. In January, I started my fair-trade capsule wardrobe and it has really put a lot in perspective. I did not realize how often I run out and grab myself something. It has been quite a change, but I like how it has stretched me to think outside the box.
  3. Thrift shop! Buy used. There are so many cool options on items that we can buy used. Some items you come across have never even been used! One woman’s lost is another’s gain. I have written more on this subject here.
  4. Instead of buying, create! No collective moan here or rolling of the eyes. You can do this. So much of the items we think we need are items that we can easily create.

If you are like me, you may have grand aspirations to sew. Things to know about my sewing machine: I have one, it sits in my craft room. I walk by it. Sometimes I clean off the dust that has been collecting. But really, it is like a giant paper weight on my desk. I also have two girls who LOVE to wear dresses and skirts. These same girls, however, love to wear those dresses and skirts and then dig in my flowerbeds looking for roly-poly’s, worms, lady bugs or anything else that creeps.

I love that they are little explorers. But do I want them exploring in new dresses and skirts I buy them? No. No I do not. My type-A self kind of freaks out about this. So, I took to Pinterest and I found a simple skirt pattern (trust me, if I can do it, anyone can). What drew me to this skirt pattern is it uses old t-shirts! How cool is that? This patterned continued to amaze me because it uses the hem of the t-shirt as the hem of the skirt! No hemming?!

Old t-shirts. I got these at Goodwill
Ta-da! Super cute skirts

Cute, right? And I promise it is as simple as it looks. If you can sew a straight line, you can do this. Now my girls can play and dig in the dirt all they want in their skirts because they are old t-shirts. You can read the step-by-step of how to make these skirts here. If you do not have old t-shirts laying around, hit up yard sales and/or thrift stores. Dust that sewing machine off, upcycle some old t-shirts and let me know what you think.

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