Earth Day Upcycling: Repurposing Your Workout Gear
In honor of Earth Day, we chatted with our favorite costume designer and seamstresses, Diana Gay. She designs and builds costumes for local theatres and does custom sewing from her home studio. Diana is a huge proponent of recycling, so we decided to pick her brain on how we could repurpose items in our daily lives.
What inspired you to start sewing/creating?
I’ve always loved art, and I have been involved with theatre for over 13 years in some capacity whether it be acting, stage design, lighting or costuming and makeup. I started sewing as a freshman in college as a theatre major in the costume shop. From there I realized how much I enjoyed it and that I could design clothing, then create it using that skill. I love retro fashion, and make dresses for myself all the time. If I can’t find a specific article of clothing I want, I just make it.
What is upcycling?
Upcycling is taking an old, tired or outdated piece and giving it a new design or purpose that maybe wasn’t ever intended. I am a recycling enthusiast and hate to throw anything out. If at all possible, I recycle, feed it to my dog or chickens, or reuse it. Our planet is too small for us to not reuse. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Those are words to live by.
What makes a piece of clothing perfect for upcycling?
I love wool fabric and find a ton of it in the form of thrifted blazers, especially the kind with the big shoulder pads. I take a jacket and sometimes turn it into a pillow or a tote bag. I love finding older items that have a great print and construction but that are outdated and making them work for today’s market. I’ve also seen folks take clothing of loved ones and make pillows. It’s a great practical use, and it turns into something you use daily.
How do you come up with your ideas?
I’m from the Southwest, New Mexico to be exact, so I have a deep appreciation for Native American designs. I am always on the look out for tribal prints and anything that has bright colors.
How can people upcycle or repurpose their old workout clothing?
I love taking old t-shirts and turning them into headbands, especially if it’s a fun color or print. Another great and creative use is to cut up old workout clothes, shorts or t-shirts into strips and crochet or braid them together and make a rug. And for those who hate all those wasteful plastic bags from the grocery store, make a produce bag out of an old t-shirt. It’s easy to wash and won’t take up much room in your purse or car. You can also cut up old workout clothes into shop rags or use them to clean your car.
Thank you to Diana for sharing her upcycling knowledge with us. We can’t wait to repurpose some of our favorite wicking t-shirts! To learn more about Diana and her awesome work, you can visit her website at BonneCouture.com.