Published 18 August 2016 ● Last Updated on 12 June 2018

Agatha Lee at restyle your wardrobe singapore
Agatha with one of her creations at the workshop

I had the absolute pleasure of attending an upcycling workshop aptly titled “Restyle your wardrobe” with Agatha lee, the founder of Agy Textile Artist , last Saturday, the 13th of August, 2016. Agatha (Agy) worked as a policy maker at the National Environment Agency(NEA) in Singapore  for over 10 years before finding her calling in upcycling of textile waste.  She is also the co-founder of Connected threads Asia , a platform that aims to promote sustainable fashion in the region.

In her avatar as the founder of Agy Textile Artist ? , Agatha has done some truly gorgeous transformations to clothes and fabric- ranging from simple embellishments to serious sewing as well as various types of dying. Always well turned out, Agy wears her self-designed clothes with her trademark casual chic style. Hence there couldn’t be anyone better equipped to talk about wardrobe hacks to a hoarder like me :-)!

The 3 step brief for anyone who wanted to join in for the “Restyle your wardrobe” event was;

1.Bring few pieces of clothing from your closet that you don’t wear in it’s current form but can’t bear to give away either.

2.We will sit down and decide how best to revive it

3. You will do it yourself . And yes it does involve sewing

The first step was easy. I moved homes in early August, and had found few pieces of pre-loved clothing in my wardrobe. A red dress which had a flimsy top, a black-and-white one which had a flimsy bottom (I am not kidding), and an off-white tunic (Indian kurta) which I had worn for 11 years and just couldn’t bear to wear again! There were a few more but let’s stop at these three.

How to upcycle pre loved clothes
My pile of pre -loved clothes

The second step saw me arrive at the National Design Centre, Singapore, with my selection. We were told of different ways of restyling clothes – embellishment, length alteration, break-up into components, silhouette adjustment or simply repair. Then we were introduced to how a sewing machine works. Barring one participant (that’s the extremely talents Nasyitah Tan Wah Long from The Looms Workshops), the rest of us were stark novices to the world of sewing. We were also aware of the limitations that this would have on our ability to carry out the wardrobe redesigning. But thanks to Agy, she simplified it for us and we focussed on 2 key stitches for starters

Straight line stitch: To stitch two pieces together on the wrong side [so it doesn’t show] and turn it around

Zig zag stitch: To prevent the fabric ends from fraying

After a few tries sewing away on the rough scraps of fabric [far from neat and clean stitches but the fabric was getting together so the job was done], we were set to embark upon the task at hand!

DIY Clothes restyling tips
Handy Tips 🙂
Parts of a modern sewing machine
The what and how of a sewing machine
Agatha Lee explains how the sewing machine works
Agatha explains how the sewing machine works

Step 3 was just the best

Transformation # 1
Armed with the skills, each participant sat down individually with Agy to discuss and decide their very own hack. I, for instance, decided to convert my red dress into a skirt by attaching a thick waist band on it. It took me a while to get my head around the technique, but once I figure that bit out, the real job was not too hard. I have chronicled few moments from my design discussion with Agy and execution in pictures. Go get a few laughs :-). [P.S. have you noticed my neck piece? I made it using scraps of denim and white cotton fabric .Click here for tutorial]

Lara at restyle your wardrobe clothes workshop
Varied emotions: From perplexed to delighted

Transformation # 2
This one was for my off-white Indian tunic. I converted it into a tote bag with a braided long handle. I simply love the sling bag that came out of it . Anuja has “borrowed” it from me for now. I do hope it is on returnable basis :-).

DIY bag from pre loved fabric tunic
Tunic to bag- A fun journey


About the workshop

The workshop was from 10am to 5 pm and was a paid event, at SG$85 per person. It was money very well spent as you would have realised after reading this article with my enthusiasm written all over it ! Nothing can match the delight of giving a new lease of life to a preloved piece of clothing! Another undisclosed benefit of attending the workshop- you will make friends with a few like-minded people without any conscious effort.

At the event, I met some lovely ladies- Nasyitah, Lucie, Rachel and Ostiane – it was wonderful laughing and giggling with you on Saturday! Leaving you with some pictures of the beauties created by them.

DIY dress to skirt and top
Lawyer and eco-warrior Ostiane, with her cute rendition of a 70s skirt and top
DIY soft t shirt to cuddly cushion cover
Lucie truly thrilled with her creation of cushion covers from used t shirts
DIY dress to tote bag
Nasyitah with her eye catching and truly professional dress to tote bag transformation!


Upcoming workshops

2/Jan/2017. Update! Agatha has a workshop scheduled for 11 Feb, 2017. More details here!

Just sign up for the newsletter to stay updated on Restyle your wardrobe workshops coming up in the future. If you have some items in great condition you want to give away instead of reviving, join in for the Clothes Swap being organised by Connected Threads Asia on 18th Sept 2016.

-The collection of your ‘swappables’ [as the guys at Connected Threads call it] will be over 3 days- 3rd Sept between 2-6 pm, 11th Sept between 2-6 pm and 14th Sept between 2-6 pm.

– Just make sure what you give is in mint condition and clean.

– Do limit yourself to 12 items per person– shoes, clothes and accessories are welcome

– The swap is open to men, women and children [Remember 12 items per person, not per family]

Read full details on the Connected Threads FB page








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