Sunday, 2 March 2014

Turn those unwanted clothes into new gems with Sparkling Ginger revamping classes

How often have you come across a garment in your wardrobe that you have fallen out of love with? You could put it on eBay or you could donate it to a charity shop, but have you ever thought about giving it a new lease of life?
Even if you’re no whizz with a sewing machine, Joanna Marshall from Sparkling Ginger can help. She’s a creative mastermind who loves to restore clothes and furniture and is now bringing her vintage touch to a series of workshops at the Wellbeing Centre in Pound Street, Newbury on Saturday, 15th March from 9.30am to 12pm; Saturday, 12th April from 2pm to 4.30pm; Saturday, 10th May from 2pm to 4.30pm and Saturday 21st June from 10am to 12.30pm.

She said: “We all have something at the back of the wardrobe that could be revamped. Why not bring it to one of our workshops and learn how to recreate it into something new. Don’t worry, you don’t need any sewing skills at all, but feel free to bring along any trimmings, buttons, clothes, lace or ribbon you'd like to use.”
Examples of projects that have been successful in previous workshops include adding detailing to a plain cardigan to make it look more expensive; a shirt that looked completely different with new buttons; a dress converted into a top; a jumper into an iPad bag; a scarf into a halterneck top and gorgeous beaded pockets being added to a plain dress.

“We will be showing the group a no-sewing project so I normally suggest people bring along a mixture of items of clothing such as old clothes, things that are the right colours but perhaps don’t fit; a plain top or cardigan, any fabric, buttons, ribbon that you might have and would like to use. It might be a shirt that you don’t wear as it no longer fits or perhaps it’s your favourite t-shirt that you’ve spilt something on and you can’t bear to throw it away. By the end of the class, you’ll know how to revamp an old t-shirt to make something unique that you can take home and wear with pride!
“As well as being great fun, revamping is great for the environment and means you can create unique pieces without spending money on new clothes.”
Jo is well-placed to offer advice on how to add value to old clothes having been a fan of everything vintage from a young age. She added: “I’m not a modern shopping mall kind of girl and much prefer individual small shops – usually with a complaining husband in tow - and love anything vintage or dotty and spotty!”

Jo studied fashion at college before completing a first-class degree in textiles specialising in print design. She then worked as a freelance print designer with clients such Speedo and Calvin Klein before working for Lucinda Bell dealing with luxury woven product. She also spent time working as a technician at Basingstoke College working in their print department. Having also worked at Marks and Spencer for a year doing visual merchandising, she decided to start her own business in 2009.

She created Sparkling Ginger alongside her full-time admin job, initially running workshops on jewellery where customers were invited to bring along their unwanted and broken jewellery and turn it into something new. Sparkling Ginger was put on the backburner while Jo concentrated on her main career, but after joining a local motivational coaching firm and experiencing increased demand for her services, she decided to give it another go.

“I’m a member of the Bigger Brighter Bolder Success Groups run by Tracey Miller and George Swift. These groups have helped me gain the confidence to kick-start Sparkling Ginger and expand into revamping clothing and furniture.

“I love seeing what other people come up with, what ideas to have and seeing them learn a new skill and creating their own things. I have a passion for teaching others and bringing out their creative side and love that fact that everyone brings something different, meaning that you end up with something completely bespoke to them.
“I’d love to take the classes into colleges or even schools and work on a revamping project with students. I really feel that we should encourage creative minds and especially in schools, they may not want to draw a picture with a pen and pencil but they may be amazing if we allowed them to create that picture in a graphics package or as a graffiti piece.”
Places must be booked in advance. Tickets cost £30 per class and can be booked via or
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