The Best Upcycling We Have EVER Seen! Eva from Style My Thrift - Smart. Casual. Classic.

The Best Upcycling We Have EVER Seen! Eva from Style My Thrift

Meet Eva Winger. Eva is one of those people that dives into everything she does with heart. From her costume hire business (sadly decimated during COVID-19) to her current passion project her blog, Style My Thrift, Eva’s enthusiasm combined with her skills has naturally bred success.

Style My Thrift launched only a few months ago and Eva has been featured across the world in fashion journals who share our love for her talents. It’s easy to see why Eva attracted instant attention when you look at her ingenuity! Eva buys second-hand clothing and transforms them into chic pieces for her blog. Sounds simple enough but when you see the original garments you have to appreciate her vision. Upcycling may not even be the appropriate word – total reimagining takes place when Eva’s creative mind tackles a vintage piece and the outcomes are delightful as you will see for yourself. The timing for buying second-hand and smart shopping like this couldn’t be more right. We are living in a time when every decision holds greater weight, both for our hip pocket and the planet, upcycling is a positive thing to do. We had a chat with Eva to learn more about her thoroughly her process and how she came to be such an internet sensation.

how to upcycle
Scroll on to see this fabulous creations in full.

How do you choose pieces to upcycle? I never have an Upcycling or Refashioning idea before I go thrifting for textiles. In other words, I am not looking for textiles to fit the idea I would have. I always buy the thrifted textiles first and then see which item ’talks’ to me at home—piece inspires me. Sometimes I will buy something and it will sit for a couple of years. Sometimes I might get to work right away. I never have an Upcycling or Refashioning idea before I go thrifting for textiles. In other words, I am not looking for textiles to fit the idea I would have. The dowdy tunic style dress below answered these important questions I ask myself when looking at thrift store pieces because if I did not follow a criteria, I would buy way too much! Fabric is almost always my lithmus test of whether or not I will pony-up the money. 

Questions I asked myself before committing to my Drop Waist Party Dress Upcycle:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………….I loved the color! I thought maybe it might be dated though, but that’s what made the print charming.
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?……………….This fabric was a cross between a light weight canvas and denim. I was worried the fabric might not bend or fall nicely for my creation, but the structure actually worked to my advantage. The plus? it was lined!
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?…………….Although this was a vintage piece, It was in pristine shape.
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?…………….Yep, this one is very oversized.

All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $2.99!!!!!

Not until my inspiration came to me—Inflatable Pool Toys! The fabric reminded me of sprinkled donut inner tubes….then reminded me of the over sized Swan my girls loved….all these pool toys took up so much space in my pool, I had to maneuver around them like a contestant on American Ninja Warrior competition show! And August is my birthday month…so I was thinking party!

I am a free spirit and don’t mind taking fashion risks so in the perfect storm of my mind, I came up with the drop waist Refashion from the sprinkled tunic dress which reminded me of pool toys to make something I would wear at Fashion Week in Italy, or Paris….and then the matter of the shoes! I came up with the idea to tie strips of tulle the same colors of the dress to creative an even more festive look!

Questions I asked myself before committing to my Zara taffeta blue plaid midi dress Upcycle:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………… I really loved the big plaid and the predominantly blue color. Not sure I would have bought it if it weren’t for the next question….
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?………………. I LOVE TAFFETA! And the fact that this Zara dress was a casual plaid, made the whole difference and why I feel in love with the dress.
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?…………….This Zara dress was made in the last couple of years, so it was in great shape.
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?…………….Yes, this dress was at least 2 sizes too big for me, but it was also cut in a more boxy fashion on purpose—it was the dress’s style.

All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $6.99!!!!!

I really wanted to make a Poof Sleeve dress, but realized that I did not have enough fabric. Having made an oversized Pouf Sleeve Blouse before, I knew there was no way to achieve the look I wanted.
Thought about it some more….

The plaid is what triggered thoughts of Vivienne Westwood and Galliano…..I was thinking of their vintage lines…I remember their lines of the late 90s and Westwood and Galliano’s Plaid collections. .I was thinking of the highly ruffled, looks on the runway. My idea was to shorten the sleeves and use any excess fabric I had to make 2 layers of ruffles PLUS 2 layers of white tulle ruffles….so it would create a 3-dimensional look….I used this technique to the sleeves and hemline. The styling was retro. I have very long hair, so wearing it up is my go-to. I wear this particular style very often.

Questions I asked myself before committing to this 1980 Dress Upcycle to a Skirt:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………… Mint green paisley on white background! Sublimely gorgeous! This project was looking at the Forest (the fabric) and ignoring the dowdy, dated, design (the trees). I was obsessed with the print.
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?………………. SILK! Gorgeous fine silk! YES! YES! YES!
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?…………….Perfect shape for being in the “Last Chance” bin at the thrift store! But not surprised no one bought it.
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?…………….Maybe not copious amounts, but enough for something.

All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $0.50!!!!!

I thought I was going to make a dress, but every idea I had was limited by my misunderstanding as to how much fabric there really was——to make another dress.
I called the ‘Before’ dress a Franken-Dress! The shoulder pads were ridiculous!
I love feminity and I am a costume designer with my own local costume rental business for children. I focus on creating historic fashions.
I adore the Victorian Era. So when I saw the way the fabric draped as a dress the idea of a high-low skirt came into my mind. And this was a nod to my love of the bustle of the Victorian Era. I was able to style it more modernly. And this was one of the rare times I wore my hair down because I also love Belle Epoque and when women started wearing their long tresses down in photos.

Questions I ask myself before committing to upcycling this shirt into a wrap blouse:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………… this Cat Lady shirt I must had swiped left at least 2 times to only swipe back right two times again, because what attracted me to the shirt was the diagonal burgundy flower embroidery on the denim.
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?………………definitely denim fabric, not a light chambray, but I could see this shirt was meant for hardier reasons…
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?…………….Perfect shape for being in the “Last Chance” bin at the thrift store! Not even one problem with it!.
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?……………. plenty to turn into a pretty, feminine blouse

All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $0.50!!!!!

This was a rare occasion that I knew I wanted to make blouse, but the kind I was unsure of….but I wanted to retain the embroidery. This was a pure challenge for me to turn something ‘ugly’ into something ultra feminine, and romantic and boho style.

I figured on a wrap blouse early on because of the angle the embroidery went down the blouse—like it was done on purpose for me!. I used some vintage patterns to cobble my own pattern for a wrap blouse. And created high gathered sleeves at the shoulder instead of the former boxy look. Per my love of vintage style, the finished look conjures up images of 1930’s (with the wide legged pant)  or 1940’s….

Questions I ask myself before committing to upcycle this sleeveless dress into a puff sleeve blouse:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………… I was hesitant to buy the dress because I thought the colors would be hard to style. But I was intrigued by the crochet, and was challenged to see how I could style it.
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?……………… yes, lightweight crochet! Wonderfully interesting!
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?……………. perfect shape
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?……………. way too long for me! Enough to cut off the bottom to make sleeves
  5. All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $6.99!!!!!

I bought this Missoni styled Crochet dress to wear as a dress. I wore it once while visiting my family in Europe. But the look was super frumpy since I am short, the dress needed to be cinched up with a belt making me look shorter! With no waist. This dress was on the way to the donation’s bag until the idea for a Pouf Sleeve top. I was obsessing over the Pouf styled blouses I started seeing on Pinterest and I knew I had to have something Pouf Sleeved. I thought how cool would it be to make a crocheted Pouf sleeve blouse? I thought this project was going to be hard, but it was one of the easier ones. I just cut sleeves out of the skirt and I added stiff tulle underneath, lining the crochet fabric to give more structure to the sleeves, otherwise they would just flop, because crochet is a little heavier than a cotton fabric.

how to upcycle
Upcycled Maxi Dress into ruffle hem sun dress

Questions I asked myself before committing to upcycling this Maxi into a ruffle hem sun dress:

  1. Is the print and color attractive?…………… great Ikat green print
  2. Is the fabric quality weight or texture?……………… alight weight cotton Merona dress from Target
  3. Is the fabric in good shape?…………….yes
  4. Is there a good amount of fabric to use?……………. yes! 

All 4 questions answered YES—it was a great purchase for $6.99!!!!!

I wore the dress as is for a while as a summer, easy breezy boho style house dress….I just grew tired of it and wanted to update it before it head off to donations….I am so glad I did! The idea was just to shorten and turn into ruffled hemmed dress—with mini ruffles on the spaghetti straps. This Upcycle was for sustainable clothing line that wanted me to create a Tutorial for a simple dress…

Tank you for sharing your talents with us, Eva. We’re certainly keen to get more practice on the sewing machine again- you’re just what the worlds needs more of right now. An inspiration!

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