I just love -love, love, love, love, love, LOVE - recyclying and "upcycling" old clothes. I think it's the best way to keep my wardrobe up to date while being kind to the earth and my wallet.
I still get hand-me-downs from cousins and friends, and a lot of the time I'll receive clothes that are nice but don't quite fit. Or, equally as common, I'll get pieces that are almost in style but just need to have features either added or removed. This is the case with a white blouse I got from my friend, about a year ago.
It was a nice, white, cotton blouse, with 3/4 length sleeves and ruching at the hips. But it didn't quite flatter my shape. It was a little too wide.
Another piece I had was an old t-shirt from summer camp. I hadn't really worn it much so the black hadn't faded and it was in really good shape.
I'd seen a how-to for turning an oversized blouse into a dress by adding a band of fabric to the bottom, making the shirt just long enough. I used that concept as my inspiration.
Wearing the white blouse, I measured, with a measuring tape, from my shoulder seam to my waist, and marked where I wanted to cut the shirt. I remeasured all the way across and chopped off the bottom of the blouse. I also cut off the collar of the blouse so it'd be more of a mandarin style collar.
Then I took the black t-shirt, and cut it off below the sleeves. Then I measure my hips and waist, marked the measurements on the shirt and cut it to fit, then sewed the sides together. I turned it inside out, slipped it over the shirt, upside-down, so that the waist of the blouse and the waist of the skirt meet up, and I sewed the skirt and the top together.
I thought that would be it, but, as I looked at the dress, I really didn't like how voluminous the sleeves were. So I cut them off. And I sewed the t-shirt sleeves on in their place.
I think it looks like a panda. I love it.