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Inspiration

The Salvage & Selvage Challenge: The “Before” Garments

Threads #218, Summer 2022

In 2021, Threads presented the members of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals with the “Salvage & Selvage Challenge.” We asked the designers to create an outfit for the workplace, using 25 percent upcycled clothing, and 36 inches of selvage. You can find the winning looks in Threads #218 Summer 2022.

There wasn’t room in the magazine to show the “before” garments that were repurposed by the ASDP designers. Here, you’ll discover what pieces each designer started with. They reused tired or ill-fitting garments, turning them into outfits that can be worn in a range of work environments.

Best Overall: Michelle Loggins

Reese McGillicuddy Green Dress Suit

Salvage and Selvage Challenge: Green Suit Dress
Michelle Loggins’ entry was inspired by mid-century silhouettes as seen in the classic television sitcom I Love Lucy. She featured thrifted fabric—a textured cotton in muted green—with accents made from black-and-white patterned fabric.

 

Ready-to-wear blouse in black and white houndstooth print
This blouse provided the fabric for the jacket’s lapels and sleeve tabs.
Ready-to-wear dress in black and white print
A thrifted dress had plenty of material to use as a lining and hem ruffle.

Most Creative Restyling: Bonny Carmicino

Shirt Redo, Cowl Renew

Salvage and Selvage Challenge: Shirt Redo, Cowl Renew
Bonny Carmicino turned a man’s shirt and a cowl-neck sweater into a comfy, casual work outfit for a creative environment. The shirt was restyled into a sleeveless blouse, and the sweater became an abbreviated shrug. The full-cut pants are made of indigo linen.

 

Gray man's shirt on a wooden table
A basic man’s shirt was reworked into a woman’s blouse. The sleeve cuffs were repurposed as side vents, and the front placket, flipped upside down, was reoriented to button right over left.

 

Olive green cowl-neck sweater
Bonny dismantled this sweater to make the shrug: The short sleeves reappear as the shrug’s back, and the body was recut to form the sleeves. The generous cowl became the front and upper back. Bonny reknit some of the pieces to join them neatly.

Best Use of the Selvage: Lindsay Ostlie

On the Fringes

Lindsay’s look is intended for a casual work-from-home vibe, but it is just a suitable for a relaxed weekend. Her outfit includes a zero-waste blouse design, with the fabric’s selvages featured along the front placket, and a pair of jeans that were refashioned to a more contemporary silhouette and a better fit overall.

Salvage and Selvage Challenge: On the Fringes
Lindsay Ostlie made a breezy blouse without tossing a single scrap, and restyled jeans to fit more comfortably and look more modern. The blouse fabric’s selvage appears along the placket, where it works as a perfectly matching trim.

 

Figure shown from waist down in distressed jeans.
These jeans had just the right distress patterns to look and feel great, but the fit was off. The designer narrowed the legs and reworked the waistline to incorporate stretch fabric for comfort.
Salvage and Selvage Challenge: Jeans Waistband Closeup
The redesigned waistband is wider and has dense, stretch fabric at the sides and back.

 


Finest Construction: Judy Huyck

Meet Emily

Inspired by the designs of Alexander McQueen, Judy transformed a basic men’s suit to create a sharp, gender-expansive outfit with an asymmetrical shape.

Salvage and Selvage Challenge: Finest Construction
By adding black wool fabric, Judy Huyck was able to fashion an intriguing, modern look that could be worn to offices that skew creative, formal, or both.

 

Men's houndstooth check wool suit
Judy’s starting point was this standard men’s suit in mini houndstooth. She dismantled it and added panels of black wool to create a one-of-a-kind ensemble that has authority and imagination.

Audience Choice: Debby Spence

Shades of Red

Debby designed a richly textured skirt suit, based on a custom ensemble she had made for a private client years ago. In addition to sizing the jacket down and revising its details, she reshaped the skirt to have an asymmetrical front pleat.

Salvage and Selvage Challenge: Red Outfit
A mix of textiles, from multicolored tweed (jacket) to wool challis (skirt) comes together in Debby Spence’s refashioned ensemble.

 

Figure in red skirt suit, cropped to hide head.
The original outfit was several sizes too large for Debby. She kept the collar as is and recut the rest of the jacket. For the peplum, she reversed the fabric to show the zigzag side. The skirt was redraped for a new silhouette.
Sleeveless red dress on dress form
This knit tank dress was a thrift-shop find. Debby kept it as is, only adding bead embellishment at the front neckline. The dress can be worn under the skirt as a top, or with the jacket for a slim-skirt effect.

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