How to Upcycle Your Shirt into a Pussy Bow Blouse

How to Upcycle Your Shirt into a Pussy Bow Blouse

Pussy Bow Blouse

I haven't worked in an office for a long time - no more prim and proper shirts; no more ironing!  I still have two of my office shirts from 3 years ago (has it been that long?), one is cotton while the other is polyester. Unfortunately, they are both getting dull and turning a bit grey instead of being pristine white. The cotton one has yellow dots and I'm still hoping I can save it, but anyway, I transformed one of them into a pussy bow blouse   - these are apparently the must have of the season, but I didn't know that until I was googling to find out what I should call my creation!

Dye It!

Yup, I decided to dye the polyester shirt black using Dylon dyes. As the packet called for 250gms of material I decided to enhance my shorts as well. Instead of black, my shirt was transformed into a grey one. It was pretty glum shorts pretty much turned black.

By the way, dyes use A LOT of water, not for the dyeing process itself, but for the rinsing. It took me at least 5 rinses to get most of the excess dye out, and that doesn't include the final wash in the washing machine with a load of dark clothes. Can you imagine how much water is needed in the a garment factory?

Paint It!

It would be ideal to use fabric paint, but when I was preparing for this, I forgot all about it. I still like how it turned out though.

Pussy Bow Blouse

Cut & Sew It!
I cut off about 3/4 of the sleeves and divided them into ~5cm width strips - as many as I could possibly fit. I then sewed them together and created a long tube.

I also cut off the collar and then sewed the long tube onto the neckline.
Pussy Bow Blouse


Pussy Bow Blouse

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5 Tips For a Budding Sustainable Fashion Designer

5 Tips For a Budding Sustainable Fashion Designer
5 Tips For a Budding Sustainable Fashion Designer

So you want to  be a sustainable fashion designer....
It's easy to say that you want to a launch a sustainable fashion collection, and think "I'll just sell on-line" or "I'll open a pop-up stall", but there's so much work that goes on behind the scenes, and it's not just the designing and sewing.  After speaking to many designers in Singapore, I came up with a few tips....

1. It may be sustainable, but is it attractive?
Unfortunately, sustainable fashion has the reputation for being boring and bland, but it doesn't mean that you have to fall into that category! Wow your customers!

Sustainable Fashion Designer

2. Who's your target market?
You are not designing for everyone, because the "everyone" you designed your clothes for has different tastes, styles and behaviours. Zoom down to a particular age group and find out what they enjoy doing, what their aspirations and their lifestyles are. These are the things that will help you in your design process and determine the look of your collection.

3. Do you know your suppliers / manufacturers?
You may know them, but beyond checking their certifications, do you really KNOW them?
As a sustainable fashion designer, it is imperative that you develop a relationship with them .... beyond an email or an order sheet. This is especially true if they are based overseas, where differences in culture and business practices may result in misunderstanding between both of you. Knowing your suppliers and manufacturers involves:

open and frequent communication
understanding their skills, capacity and constraints
if possible, visiting their premises

One of my sustainable fashion designer friends visits the GOTS certified factory in India every year to understand their operations and the processes behind the manufacture. It's also a good way of enhancing the working relationship. Ethical Fashion Forum wrote a great piece about working with artisanal and small - medium sized suppliers in India.

Seamsters, Peshawar
Image: John Jackson

4. What's your marketing plan?
How are you going to get it to appeal and sell?
Do you have a unique selling point? Use that to your advantage!
Are you going to sell on-line or at a store?
Do you have a social media plan?

Unfortunately, none of us have deep pockets, but there are many platforms that are free (Facebook, twitter etc), and you can always send press releases (with good quality pictures of your line) to traditional print media.

hands, people, woman, working

5.  Have you sussed out your competition?
Check them out before you start your brand!
What makes you different from the other sustainable fashion brands?

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

This is part of the Fashion Designers Do Good series! 

Fashion Designers Do Good

H&M Close the Loop Denim

H&M Close the Loop Denim
H&M Close the Loop

As some of you know, I'm very involved in the sustainable fashion scene. I was having a discussion with my friend the other day about whether we should include the big brands in the conversation. Some people would scream "noooo, they are the dark side". I personally believe that a healthy debate should always encompass views from both sides of the fence - that's why we have "freedom of speech", and it's only when we have all views that we can then make our own judgements on the issues.  Anyway, the highstreet brands are part of the fashion industry, and (like it or not) are here to stay, but more importantly, they are part of fashion's future, which I aspire to be a sustainable one.   

H&M is one of the big fast fashion brands, but compared with the other brands that I've seen on the high street, are doing a lot more about their sustainability! It may be tiny steps, but at least it's in the right direction.  What other big high street brands do you see are active in bringing about sustainability to their supply chains?

Close the Loop 

Next week, H&M will be launching 16 new denim styles (ladies, men and kids) made from organic cotton and recycled cotton from the textiles collected in the Garment Collecting Initiative in H&M stores - some of you might remember that campaign, which collected 14,000 tonnes globally.  So, this is all about being part of the circular economy, something I discussed about in my Fashion Designers Do Good series. According to H&M, 

"H&M is able to use 20% recycled cotton from collected clothes, and is investing in new technology to increase this share without losing quality. H&M has a target to increase the number of garments made with at least 20% recycled fabric by 300% compared to 2014"
H&M Close the Loop

H&M Close the Loop

As part of the launch, H&M in Singapore has collaborated with a group of LASALLE students to takeover a window display at their flagship store and decorate it with recycled denim - it's part of their awareness campaign to highlight the importance of fashion sustainability. The installation will be from 3 - 29th September. 

H&M Close the Loop

H&M Close the Loop

Disclaimer - I was not compensated for this post. All views are my own. 

Back to School

Sorry for not blogging much lately. I signed up to study supply chain management and sustainable fashion at Taftc. Although it was a 2 day course, the assignment is a tough one. Well, for me anyway! I haven't done homework in ages, and to have to do it again is making my mind reel. On top of that, we have to a presentation of the work we did. So, wish me luck.

Fix It Friday - Fix Your Jeans!

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Fix It Friday - Fix Your Jeans!
Yes, it's happening next week on the 28th August, 7pm at the Prototyping Lab. So if you have jeans you want to fix, and you don't want that torn look, sign up at the link below (or email and reserve your slot :-)

Fashion Revolution - Clothes Swap!

Fashion Revolution - Clothes Swap!
I haven't been writing much but that's because I'm busy preparing for a clothes swap happening on the 5th September, 4 - 6pm. Mark your calendars, everyone!

So, if you're thinking about freshening up your wardrobe and getting rid of the old stuff? Forget shopping, it’s time for a clothes swap! Clothes swaps are not only a good way to declutter and refill one's wardrobe, but are also considered a green way to reduce waste, reduce the use of natural resources, and revitalize your closet without opening your wallet!

Spend the afternoon hanging out, finding new friends,
trying on new outfits, and taking pictures.

Take part and be a SWAPAHOLIC!


1. Clean your closets and set aside clothing, shoes, and accessories in excellent condition for us. 2. Launder and make sure your clothes are in tip-top condition for their new owner

3. Neatly fold or hang your swappables and place inside a clean bag

4. Drop your swappables and collect your coupon on either 19 August 7-9pm, 22 August 2-6pm, and 1 September 7-9pm.

5. Swap day on 5th September . Bring your coupons and bag for your items.

6. Items leftover at the end of the event are donated to charity Note:

Swapaholics can trade in up to 12 items Swapaholics bring in your clothes for trade and exchange them for coupon that you can use to claim “new” items from the swappers heaven on 5th September. 

Collection Dates at Kapok Cafe, 111 Middle Road.
19th August, Wednesday- 7pm-9pm 
22nd August, Saturday- 2pm-6pm 
1st September, Tuesday- 7pm-9pm 

Organized by:

Fashion Revolution SG
Fashion Revolution Day is a movement to increase awareness of the true cost of fashion held each year on April 24th, the anniversary of Rana Plaza.

We want to create a fashion industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. Our mission is to create a movement engaging consumers, environmental leaders, fashionistas, human rights activists and designers to think differently about who makes their clothes in order to make that happen


kapok singapore 
The name kapok derives from the majestic emergent trees of the same name. The trees grow tall in their ecosystem and provide a home for plants and animals. kapok also provides a unique roof under which people in the community can meet and find inspiring quality goods.

Connected Threads 
A platform to advance and promote sustainable fashion industry, it aims to bring awareness about the social and environmental impacts of fast fashion.

TOPSWOP is a series of clothes swop events. Brought to you by Maninder (a professional Image Consultant) and Donna (a self-confessed shopaholic).