How to Turn Your Vintage Treasures Into Stylish Fashion Statements

In an era where landfills are overflowing with discarded clothing, one person has found a way to turn trash into treasure.

By transforming a vintage hand applique bed cover from the 80s into a stylish quilted jacket, they have not only created a one-of-a-kind fashion piece but also made a small yet significant contribution to saving the planet.

Fancy Your Bed Cover

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Once a cherished item that provided warmth and comfort, the vintage hand-applique bed cover had seen better days.

However, instead of ending up in a landfill like so many other forgotten items, it was given a new lease on life. What used to be just old fabric, got upcycled and became a quilted jacket.

The Art of Hand Applique

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Hand applique refers to the process of stitching appliques, which are fabric pieces cut in the shape of designs, onto the surface of another fabric entirely by hand, without using a sewing machine.

This technique can make the design appear as if it is part of the fabric because of the inconspicuous way the appliques are stitched onto the fabric, yet at the same time, it can bring a dimensional look to the design.

The process involves choosing, marking, and cutting hand applique designs, selecting the background fabric, preparing applique design pieces for hand sewing, and stitching the applique pieces onto the background fabric.

There are different variations of hand applique, including Chinese applique, Swiss applique, white on white applique, inlaid applique, lace work, broderie perse applique work, and reverse applique. Each variation has its own unique characteristics and techniques.

Fast Fashion Filling Landfills

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The fast fashion industry is contributing to significant environmental challenges. Consumers are buying more clothes and wearing them for less time than ever before, discarding garments as fast as trends shift.

This behavior has caused major impacts on the fashion industry, as well as the environment, including:

Clothing Production and Usage

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Clothing sales doubled from 100 to 200 billion units a year, while the average number of times an item was worn decreased by 36% overall.[1]

Carbon Emissions

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Fast fashion generated more CO2 than aviation and shipping combined. The production, transportation, and disposal of clothing generate massive amounts of CO2.

This is exacerbated by the rapid turnover of fashion trends, leading to more frequent production cycles and higher emissions.

Lack of Recycling

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More than $500 billion is lost every year due to a lack of recycling and clothing utilization.

A vast majority of discarded clothes end up in landfills or are incinerated. Only a small percentage of clothing is recycled or upcycled.

This lack of recycling contributes to the loss of valuable resources and increases environmental degradation.

Water Pollution

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20% of global wastewater comes from textile dyeing. The fashion industry consumes around 93 billion cubic meters of water, contaminating much of it with toxic chemicals.

Clothes-Related Waste

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We discard 92 million tons of clothes-related waste each year. From production offcuts to unsold stock and discarded clothing, the waste generated contributes to landfill overflow, environmental pollution, and the depletion of natural resources.

This waste often contains non-biodegradable materials, which persist in the environment for years.


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Synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester shed microfilaments during washing. These microplastics end up in waterways and oceans, contributing to marine pollution and entering the food chain, ultimately affecting human health and marine ecosystems.

Online Returns

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The convenience of online shopping leads to a high rate of returns, often exceeding 30% of all purchased goods. This not only results in financial losses for businesses but also increases the carbon footprint due to additional transportation and repackaging, and often leads to the disposal of returned items.

Consumer Emissions

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The way consumers care for their clothes contributes to emissions. For example, reducing the frequency of washing, washing at lower temperatures, and air-drying clothes can significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with clothing maintenance.

Fast fashion relies on cheap, disposable clothing produced quickly and sold at low prices, encouraging consumers to buy and discard more.

This leads to increased landfill waste, ocean pollution, wastewater, toxic dyes, and exploitation of underpaid workers. The environmental impact of fast fashion includes depleting non-renewable resources, emitting greenhouse gases, and causing significant environmental damage.

The Craft of Upcycling

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Upcycling is a process that involves converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

It is a way to transform discarded materials into something useful and beautiful, thereby reducing waste and contributing to environmental sustainability. Here are some key points about upcycling:

Reduces Landfill Waste

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Upcycling helps in reducing landfill waste by utilizing materials that would otherwise be discarded. There is a growing demand for eco-friendly, beautiful items that showcase creativity and help reduce landfill waste.

Conserves Resources

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It reduces the demand for new or raw materials, thereby conserving natural resources. It also helps in conserving water and energy needed to produce new items.

Reduces Pollution

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Upcycling helps reduce pollution by decreasing the need for manufacturing new products, reducing air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Promotes Creativity

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It encourages creativity and innovation by challenging individuals to think outside the box and come up with new ways to repurpose old items.

Economic Benefits

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Upcycling can also have economic benefits by creating jobs and providing a market for upcycled products.

A Step Towards Sustainability

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By upcycling the vintage bed cover into a jacket, the craftsperson not only created a unique fashion piece but also contributed to reducing waste.

It is a small step towards a more sustainable future, and it shows that with a little creativity and effort, we can all make a difference.

More from Viral Chatter

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Ever found yourself puzzled by the ever-evolving world of fashion? Do you find yourself scratching your head at some of the latest trends?

From perpetually surprised eyebrows to sagging pants, fashion trends can often leave us confused.

Let’s explore seven of these perplexing trends.

“I Am in Dress Code… but Men Keep Looking” Costco Employee Body Shamed in Workplace

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In recent times, social media platforms have become a space for employees to share their workplace experiences, both positive and negative. While some highlight the perks of their jobs, others use the platform to voice their grievances with superiors and colleagues.

A concerning trend is employees documenting their encounters with HR over their clothing choices. One such incident involves a Costco employee who faced criticism not for her attire but for how her body looked.


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This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.