Upcycle Sewing Booth Helps Community DIY Green Fashion

Upcycle Sewing Booth Helps Community DIY Green Fashion

Positive Media Hawaii brought our Trash-to-Treasure Sewing Studio to ShareFest Honolulu.  We invited the community to bring an old Tshirt and showed folks simple sewing skills to transform it into something more fashionable or more functional.

Why Upcycle? 5 Great Reasons 

  • Upcycling adds value by transforming something that was perceived to have little use into something more functional or more beautiful. You can find new purpose for your unwanted items.
  • Upcycling saves more energy than recycling.  We all are doing are best to recycle, but did you know that the recycling process requires energy (fossil fuels) and water as items are collected, shipped to a factory, and broken down into raw materials that can be used again to make a new product – which is often of lessor quality.  However upcycling actually improves the quality of the original item without any industrial processing.
  • Upcycling helps reduce waste in landfills.  The need to find alternative ways to deal with our waste is greater than ever.  Every time you upcycle you extend the use of that item and keep it of the trash.
  • Upcycling saves you money.  Most of us feel like we have so much stuff, and  yet we still go shopping in search of variety.  When you upcycle, you can fulfill your desire for something new-to-you, functional and fashionable and still stay out of the stores.
  • Upcycling encourages creativity. Once you start to upcycle you begin to see new potential in everything.  You can add your personal touch to everything you own and wear.


Sew Booth Sew Idea Book
It was a beautiful autumn day for our outdoor mini sewing studio, one of the popular booths at ShareFest Honolulu. We had an “Idea Book” filled with tshirt upcycle projects printed from the internet that inspired our booth participants.
Sew Dodi1 Sew Booth7
Seamstress Dodi Rose was busy behind the sewing machine helping booth participants create their tshirt upcycle projects. The community got creative sharing upcycle ideas and techniques with each other.
Sew Booth6 sew bag
All ages and genders like to upcycle; it feels good to be creative and it avoids adding more trash to our landfills. This happy new friend upcycled an old brown tshirt into a functional bag, and used a flag decoration that he found in our pile of fabric scraps.
Sew Krista YelB4 Sew tshirt yellow After
Hobbyist sewer, Krista Hiser, helps young Anabel fit an oversized tshirt to her body. The “after” result was a stylish one-sholdered top with flowered neckline detail. Anabel created the flower petals by cutting the excess tshirt fabric into circles and hand sewing them into clusters.
sew vest1 Sew booth work
A fabulous no-sew upcycle of a large red tshirt into an attractive vest. This transformation only required inventive cutting and wrapping of fabric. Why not have a tshirt upcycle party at your house?
red b4 red after
This local public school teacher wanted to upcycle her baggy official “Hawaii State Teachers Association” tshirt. Here is the “after” result: we helped her slim it down to fit her body, added fun side slits and ruffled the sleeve hems for a fashionable flair!
Sew Tshirt CutAfter Sew Tshirt CutBack
It’s amazing what can be done with no-sew upcycle alterations. This tank got a whole new look simply with cutting slits and weaving! All it takes is scissors to create this sophisticated shirt upcycle.

Our booth was staffed by volunteer ReFashionistas with sewing skills:  Dodi Rose, Julia Teles, Krista Hiser, and Joy Waters.

Read more about ShareFest Honolulu here, a recent festival with interactive booths inspired by the values of the sharing economy.  Watch a video clip of the KITV4 News coverage of the event here.  To learn more about the sharing economy, listen to my radio interview with Hawaii Public Radio here.


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