We've been thinking a lot lately about how to lessen our impact on the environment, how to consume with care, and put more thought into our making - so of course the first person that came to mind was the Queen of Refashioning herself, Sheri Pavlovic. From her funky housewares to her cool head-to-toe looks, Sheri has a keen eye for turning something discarded into something new and fresh. We picked Sheri's brain about her inspiration and the ethos behind her upcycle-only style!
What inspired you to start refashioning?
I've always been an avid thrifter and upcycler but it wasn't until I inherited a vintage 1960's sewing machine a few years ago that my passion for refashion was ignited. I'd actually avoided sewing machines since I so spectacularly failed Home Ec in school (years ago, when they still forced hausfrau studies onto unsuspecting art geeks) but that heavy metal machine combined with the fact that clothing rarely fit my body properly soon had me sorting through my wardrobe and having a go at re-creating old clothes and upcycling thrifted fabrics into cool new gear!
Once I got comfortable with the machine I started sharing my creations online to help inspire others and prove that even those who haven't a clue how to thread a machine can begin (re)creating fantastic fashions and decor, all it takes is some creativity and practice. After 5 short years I can proudly say that 99% of my wardrobe is thrifted and handmade and I've shared over 950 step-by-step tutorials and articles covering everything from groovy clothing and accessories to funky home decor and ethical fashion on my blog!
What was the first thing you upcycled?
After more than a few frustrating project fails while learning the quirks of my vintage machine, I finally managed to successfully cover a tacky print on a longsleeved tee with some scrapbusted patchwork. Although it's only worn around the house, I've kept that shirt as a reminder that skills can quickly be improved with perseverance, patience and a bit of imagination.
Where do you shop for your supplies?
As I only use upcycled and recycled materials for my projects, I don't shop in traditional craft supply stores, but instead hunt through thrift and charity shops for my sustainable supplies. Everything from beautiful fabrics and sewing notions to tools for any project can be found at the thrift store!
How do you approach recreating a piece? Do you see potential in the individual pieces or do you look towards outside inspiration to help you decide what to turn the piece into?
Both, sometimes I'm on the hunt for the perfect ingredients to recreate a style I love and other times I just look at a secondhand find and instantly have an idea (or 3) for what I want to refashion it into.
What is your favorite remade piece?
I've upcycled and refashioned such a wide variety of items throughout the years that that question is pretty impossible to answer. My vintage clothing, furniture and accessory recreations are all definite faves and I do love my DIY destroyed jeans!
What artists, makers, and designers inspire you and your work?
Anyone who creates is an inspiration, especially those marvelous makers who use upcycled and recycled materials.
Why is upcycling and refashioning important to you? Why should it be important to others?
My ambition to inform and influence others to step away from unethically (& immorally) produced products is the driving force that motivates me to continue providing fabulous free eco-fashion/accessory/decor tutorials, ethical outfit inspiration and helpful thrifting tips on my Confessions of a Refashionista & Refashion Nation blogs, as well as contributing and sharing my creative skills throughout the online maker world. Meet the amusing cast of characters in my Why Not Thrift? video and discover why thrifting and reusing should be an important part of everyone’s life:
How should people approach getting started with refashioning? Is there a good project or idea for them to begin with?
Anyone can become a kick ass DIY eco-fashion upcycling warrior by simply sorting through their wardrobe, shopping at thrift and charity shops and creating their own fabulous, affordable, totally unique sustainable style. As everyone's arsenal of DIY skills is different I can't suggest a single project to start with however my Confessions of a Refashionista blog is chock full of tips, tricks and tutorials to help anyone begin the journey to creating their own ecofashion wardrobe!
What are your top three refashionista thrifting tips?
- Size is never an issue when thrifting to refashion. Scan the racks for fabrics that speak to you, if you love the material of a garment but the style/fit doesn’t suit you it can easily be transformed into something that does.
- Check absolutely every section. I’ve discovered fabulous prints in the kid’s area that can be chopped out to create groovy appliques or patches and menswear is marvelous for muted tones and classic fabrics.
- The textile department is chock full of awesome material. Amazing projects can be created out of those wonderfully patterned and embroidered table cloths, bedsheets, curtains, doilies and handkerchiefs!
Besides your own blog, are there any other great resources out there for refashioning and upcycling?
There are so many amazing sites devoted to refashioning, upcycling and sustainable DIY fashion my best suggestion is to simply search online and discover the tutorials and articles that speak to your individual style.
How does your refashioning influence other aspects of your life? Do you find that you're a more conscious consumer in other ways as well?
Refashioning has absolutely changed the way I see the world in general. It was the catalyst that caused me to transform my habits, research and care about how my potential purchases are made, live sustainably and encourage others to do the same.