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Upcycling: Newest Sewing Trend

Sewing garments is making a comeback.

What is Upcycling?

Upcycling means using old or discarded or vintage pieces of clothing and transforming them into something which is better than its original by design and value additions.

According to The Economic Times, there are several reasons why upcycling clothes has become so popular:


Upcycling at Road 2020

Walking the Ontario Convention Center, there was plenty of evidence of this popular trend:

In the vendor booth, Paganoonoo, owner Michelle Paganini helped guests imagine new clothing options through upcycling.


An avid upcycling enthusiast and professionally trained fashion designer, Michelle sold garments and instructions dedicated to sustainable fashion. Michelle also taught a $5.00 Lecture Class, Refashion, Upcycle, Re-Use: 3D Sewing.

Jeanne and Sue met Michelle at a quilt show. They were admiring her work when Michelle offered them one of her patterns if they modeled her designs at Road.

Sue and Jeanne

Both quilters, they had heard of Road to California but had never been before. Sue owns Patchwork Quilts in Hamilton, Montana and Jeanne just moved from Hamilton to Tucson, Arizona.

They were enjoying the inspiration at the show while modeling their upcycled creations. “Upcycling is a cottage industry for garment sewing that is huge right now,” remarked Sue.


Louise and Suzi live on the westside of Los Angeles. Both women enjoy going to thrift stores, looking for old clothing to embellish.


Suzi is a fashion designer and is a member of Wearable Arts Connections. The jacket she was wearing at the show had been a quilt that was upcycled twice; first, when she bought it at a flea market and then when she reworked it.


Louise is a trained Millner and avid upcycler.  Her jacket was also made from a vintage quilt.

Why do they shop thrift stores and upcycle? “It’s more fun than going to malls. Malls are boring,” commented Suzi. “I’ve been upcycling since I was a child,” said Louise. “There’s a thrill in finding stuff and customizing it. And it saves the environment.”

Recently, Suzi and Louise began attending Mending Circle, a new group in Los Angeles that meets once a month. Members work on hand projects: mending, darning, applique, needlepoint, and knitting. Currently, there are eight women who belong to the group. They are looking for men to join.

They were also first timers at Road to California. Louise came for inspiration and really enjoyed looking at other people’s work. Suzi was looking forward t seeing the Egyptians again. She first came across them at the Textile Museum in Los Angeles.   

Road to California was proud to promote sewing’s latest trend at its anniversary show. Do you upcycle?

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