Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Lifestyles
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

South Carolina woman turns discards from thrift store racks into refashioned frocks

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Jillian Owens poses with her sewing materials at her home in Columbia, S.C. Since 2010, the 32-year-old Columbia resident has been delving into thrift store racks around the area, taking what some may see as “ugly” pieces and whipping them into hip, trendy fashions. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Enlarge Image

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Jillian Owens poses with her sewing materials at her home in Columbia, S.C. Since 2010, the 32-year-old Columbia resident has been delving into thrift store racks around the area, taking what some may see as “ugly” pieces and whipping them into hip, trendy fashions. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

COLUMBIA, S.C. - 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Owens has been delving into thrift store racks around her Columbia, South Carolina, home, taking what some may see as outdated castoffs and whipping them into hip, trendy fashions.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 non-profit United Way of the Midlands. "And I'm not hurting the environment. I'm not supporting companies that engage in labour 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 .

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media