Tag Archives: refresh

Mary’s Closet Refresh Challenge

At our first meeting in 2016, Mary Baxter gave members a challenge.

Perusing articles on wardrobe, we are advised to de-clutter yearly, passing on clothing and accessories that we have not worn in the past year. How many of you have gone through your closet lately and disposed/passed on articles that you have not worn in the past year?

I don’t know about you but as someone who sews most of my clothes, clothes that I have spent time and cost of materials to produce, I am very reluctant to dispose of a number of these articles and so they remain unused.

Picture your closet, or closets. What lingers there unused whether purchased or made by you? Why can you not part from them?

Some reasons that I can think of include:

  • an old favourite
  • related to some event/memory
  • colour
  • fabric

Can you think of any other reasons?

I can think of 3 items hanging unused and there are probably more.

  1. 1980’s wool long length coat with huge shoulders that I purchased at Mills Bros.
  2. Linen longish length dress where I utilized the cutwork border on the sleeve and dress hems.
  3. Silk jacket which I acquired.

Where is this leading? A Challenge for you.

Your Challenge, should you choose to participate, and I hope you do, is to select an item in one of your closets, made or purchased and refresh, restyle, alter, (or whatever you wish to call it) and bring it with you to the March meeting.

If you are able, take a picture of the before and show us the after. If you have already completed a refresh, bring it to the March meeting to show and tell us what you have done.

So what to do. Alter or restyle. Which I did on a 90’s Sewing Workshop top that I could not pass on because of the lovely cotton fabric which was purchased at Goodman’s. I updated the style with a Silhouette blouse.

Determine what you can do that will make you wish to wear it again.

Your refresh does not need to be a total remake. Be as creative or as simple as you wish, like:

  • shorten a skirt
  • make pants into capris or shorts
  • make pants into a skirt
  • make a jacket into a vest
  • change buttons
  • add an embellishment
  • change neckline or collar
  • change sleeve length
  • add darts to shape and fit
  • make an accessory if you can’t part with the fabric but will never wear it again

Any other suggestions?

There are lots of ideas on the web, in books and magazines.

You can do it, have fun with the process!


As an additional note, if you want an “evidence-based” way to clean out your closet, turn every garment hanging to hang in the other direction. That is, turn the coat hanger to hook from the other side of the bar. As you wear something and put it back, put it back in the way you’re used to putting back your hangers. In time, the stuff you don’t wear will be staring right back at you to help you decide whether or not to keep it. If you’re still not sure at whatever time you decide, a rule some use is if it doesn’t get worn by the end of the year, throw it out! Nobody said de-cluttering was easy! 🙂

This will also be the Monthly Spark for January, 2016, as I had the similar idea to upcycle a garment you were going to discard given you probably got new clothes for Christmas, or from presents like gift certificates.