South Carolina woman makes clothes from castoffs

 

Associated Press

For Jillian Owens, some of her passion for fashion was motivated by a desire for new garments without the creation of more waste. And, she says openly on her blog, "I was also quite broke and couldn't afford new clothes."

Since 2010, Owens has been delving into thrift store racks around her Columbia, South Carolina, home, taking what some may see as outdated castoffs and whipping them into hip, trendy fashions. She says she's made hundreds of creations, donating many to charity and at times opening up her closet to friends for their perusal.

Describing herself as a creative child, Owens says she always enjoyed drawing and crafts but didn't start sewing until receiving a sewing machine as a gift six years ago. Interested in making some of her own clothes, Owens says she got discouraged by high prices at fabric stores, as well as the lack of patterns to fit her petite frame.

"It would be cheaper to buy something new rather than sew it yourself," Owens, 32, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "I noticed that there were a lot of things that really weren't that bad. I mean, they were still bad, but they could be reworked."

On her blog, www.refashionista.net, Owens shows a step-by-step tutorial on each of her creations, giving readers a window into her process. Before and after photos depict how she transitioned a black funereal frock into a mod cocktail dress, or how a pair of stretchy, lifeless gaucho pants became a slinky, one-sleeved number.

Her ethos on refashioning pieces is two-pronged: Remaking discarded pieces into something new saves money, Owens says, and it also helps her stay true to her desire not to purchase or support what she calls mass-produced, "disposable" clothing that ends up in a landfill.

"What I found is a really inexpensive way to dress really nicely in something that's well-made, that's custom fitted to me," said Owens, who works at the nonprofit United Way of the Midlands. "And I'm not hurting the environment. I'm not supporting companies that engage in labor practices that I don't believe in."

In recent weeks, Owens' work has blossomed in terms of national notoriety. A piece on BuzzFeed led to mentions on fashion blogs all over the world. On Friday, Owens appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America." A book is in the works, as are classes at a local library in Columbia, in conjunction with another "refashioning" blogger in Columbia.

"People want to refashion. They get excited about it but they'll think that sewing is hard, or it's not for them," Owens said. "The big thing I'm trying to do is to keep sewing simple and accessible to them. If you do screw-up, that's OK. It's all a learning process. You're just buying a dollar item. If you screw-up, you're out a dollar."

---

Online: www.refashionista.net

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP .

Read more People Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category