Making Amends: How To

Artwork by T2T Design Team (Ella Whittaker, Diego Allison, Elianna Panakis, Abbey Lehr)

Written by T2T Team (Diego Allison, Abbey Lehr, Mika Kochheiser)

The Trash to Treasure team is excited to share Making Amends, our new collaborative initiative! Making Amends facilitates the upcycling process of clothing within the UT community through circular design practices. This initiative features an online clothing generator created by design students Claren Moyers and Mark Yoder. The generator dissects fashion expectations and inspires students to create innovative combinations from our collection of second hand materials. Here’s how it works:


Our catalog of second hand garments is uploaded to the generator for easy browsing. By scrolling over an image you can view the entire garment. Select 3-5 garments from a category to generate new combinations. The garments will be highlighted blue when you have selected them. When you are ready to combine, select the “send to generator” button in the upper left-hand corner.


Now that your garment set is ready to be put into the generator, click anywhere on the screen to load a new combination. By adjusting the sliders you can explore different ways of combining the garments. Save your favorite generations by clicking the save icon for inspiration later. Make sure to go through combinations slowly, as it is easy to pass up an interesting combination without saving it. 


Feeling inspired? Now you’re ready to collaborate! Here is our Commitment Form to sign up to participate in the upcycling process. Within this form, you will be able to check out 3-5 garments from one of the generator categories. It will also ask the length of time you would like to check out materials and your preferred method of upcycling kit pick up/drop off. It is likely that we will contact you to confirm this information, so make sure to complete the contact information. Once you receive your kit with the materials and tools you selected, you are ready to upcycle! 


Use the combinations from the generator to inspire a new cut of the garments you selected. Cutting garments into pieces with straight lines is the easiest to sew back together. After cutting up the garments, play around with various ways of reconstructing one of the garments or a completely new one by pinning the pieces together. Taking photos of your work and referring to the generator images will help guide this part of the process. If this is the last step you wish to participate in, photograph the intended reconstruction of the garment for future participants to work from.


Now, take those cut up garments and stitch them back together! We welcome all skill levels but unfortunately cannot provide a sewing machine, so you should have access to one if intending to complete this step. Feel free to build upon the last step or reconfigure the pieces in another way to  create a totally new garment. If you would like to practice hand-sewing techniques such as embroidery or hems, we can provide the necessary materials. 


We have natural and synthetic dyes to add tints and shades to your garments. Select pieces or entire garments to fold and tie up to add a pattern to. Follow all instructions on the packaging to dye. Once you have done this, make sure to wash alone in hot water to remove excess dye and prevent the dye from bleeding into other clothing items. 


Have an idea for a graphic on your garment? Select this step to receive linoleum blocks and printing ink to add your own graphics to individual pieces or garment. By tracing your graphic onto the linoleum block, you can then use the carving tool to create your design in the block. Cut out the excess of the linoleum block and adhere to the provided cardboard. Roll ink onto stamp and carefully stamp onto taught garment. Don’t feel like making your own? We have a small collection for you to use. Repeating small stamps can create interesting new patterns. 

Buttons, trims, and patches are also available for you to play around with as well. Use these to add a new life to your creation! 

Once your upcycling contribution is complete, send your creations back to us to be documented and put back into the catalog to be re-generated! This circular framework allows for Making Amends to build an ongoing library of upcycled garments for students to rework and create with. We will provide notebooks in the upcycling kit for you to leave ideas, illustrations, or photos for the next person in the upcycling process.Through this collaborative and circular framework, we aim to promote sustainable design processes that inspire individual action within your own wardrobe.

Now you’re ready to get involved! Complete the commitment form mentioned above to select materials and receive a kit to begin upcycling.

Looking for more sustainable fashion content? Click yes for our newsletter on the Commitment Form, follow our instagram @makingamends_t2t_cec and check out website

Here is the link to the generator.

Special Thanks to Austin Creative Reuse for gathering the tools and materials for this project.

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