Not exactly about food, but still pretty great.

compulsive recycling

I am a compulsive recycler. If something can possibly be used again, by god, I have to at least try — and if it keeps me from having to buy something new, I am equally delighted by my ingenuity and my single-handed environment-savingness.

At the same time, I also really love a good household purge. When you live with another adult and a kid (as well as three cats) in less than 650 square feet, there is really no room for anything you not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

So, what happens when you have something still beautiful but not useful? For example, what to do with a shirt that shrunk in the wash just enough to be too small on my husband while still too big for me?

Recycle it and make it into something beautiful, like so:

before: husband's old shirtafter: kid-sized dress

More photos and details behind the jump…

after: front

after: back

after: pocket detail

This dress (based on this tutorial) is so much easier than it looks, largely because all the fiddly bits — buttons, buttonholes, even the pocket — are already on the shirt, and all you’re doing is cutting around them, then sewing some of the edges back together again.

I should admit, I’m not an accomplished seamstress by any means. In fact, this is the first time I’ve made something without using a pre-printed pattern, because I suffer from severe can’t-make-things-without-a-pattern-because-omg-what-if-I-screw-it-up perfectionism. So, basically, if I can make this, you totally can — and then you too can feel super self-satisfied at having made something new out of something old.

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18 thoughts on “Not exactly about food, but still pretty great.

  1. Perfect! And kudos on making a small home work! It’s hard, but I love that cozy feeling!

  2. I just stumbled this. That is so awesome! I think I’m going to have to add oxford shirts to my list of things to find at the thrift store this weekend!

    By the way, your little girl is entirely too cute.

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