In a world inundated with fast fashion and disposable goods, there's a growing movement towards sustainability and conscious consumerism. One of the most fulfilling ways to embrace this ethos is through the art of upcycling – the process of repurposing old or discarded items into something new and beautiful. As someone who's been passionate about upcycling since childhood, I've discovered that there's magic waiting to be unlocked in the aisles of op shops and thrift stores.


Childhood Memories

As a child, I was unwittingly introduced to the world of upcycling by my mum. Weekends were often spent exploring op shops, searching for hidden treasures amidst racks of secondhand goods. Back then, I failed to grasp the significance of these outings, dismissing them as mere errands. Little did I know, those trips were planting the seeds for a lifelong passion.

The Thrill of Upcycling

Fast forward to adulthood, and I find myself drawn back to those op shop adventures of my youth. Only this time, I see them through different eyes – eyes that appreciate the thrill of uncovering unique finds and the joy of breathing new life into forgotten objects. There's a certain magic in transforming a worn-out piece of clothing or a discarded household item into something marvellous and entirely unique.

The Woolen Blanket Saga

Recently, my mum embarked on a caravaning trip, and I seized the opportunity to enlist her help in my latest upcycling endeavor. With a simple request for wool blankets, she embarked on a mission that exceeded all expectations. Returning with over 20 Onkaparinga blankets – a luxurious find with a price tag to match – she had unwittingly provided me with a treasure trove of materials for my next project.


Crafting Coats

Armed with my bounty of woolen blankets, I set to work crafting winter coats using the Pixie Pea Coat pattern from Twig and Tale. The process was a delight from start to finish, with each coat imbued with history and character thanks to its repurposed materials. The choice of lining – Melco cotton poplin adorned with native floral prints and cheerful sunshine motifs – added an extra layer of charm to these one-of-a-kind creations. Another awesome lining would be using the Melco Bemberg - Bemberg is often used in a lining for high end suits. 

Finding Community

While my family may not have shared my enthusiasm for my latest creations, I found solace and appreciation within the sewing community. Here, the fine art of craftsmanship is celebrated, and every stitch is infused with pride and passion. It's a place where upcycling isn't just a trend but a way of life, where creativity knows no bounds, and sustainability is paramount.

Inspiring Others

Now, as I reflect on my upcycling journey, I'm inspired to share my experiences and encourage others to embark on their own creative adventures. Whether you're a seasoned seamstress or a novice crafter, there's a world of possibilities waiting to be explored in the aisles of your local op shop. With a little imagination and a willingness to think outside the box, you can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and make a meaningful contribution to a more sustainable future.

Pattern Suggestions

When it comes to selecting the perfect pattern for your next upcycling project, the internet is teeming with options. A few coat patterns have recently caught my eye, each offering its own unique style and flair that would be perfect for transforming woolen blankets into cozy couture creations.

- Pixie Pea Coat (child size)

- Pixie Pea Coat (adult size)

-Tessuti have a range of awesome coat patterns

- Megan Nielsen Hovea Coat is a great pattern. If you have a wool blanket in "not so great" condition this would be a great pattern to use and enclose the blanket as batting and pick an awesome print for the outside. 

- Cardamon Coat by Oh Me Oh My Sewing (for kids)

Adding some "flair" 

Enhance the charm of your wool coat by incorporating captivating lining fabrics. For a touch of sophistication and durability, consider utilizing poplin or bemberg linings, both readily available at Melco Fabrics. Opting for a complementary print or pattern adds a personalized touch, infusing your cherished wool coat with personality and flair. Selecting the perfect coordinating lining not only elevates the overall aesthetic but also imbues your creation with a sense of individuality and style. Check out our artist designed prints here


As we navigate an increasingly complex world, it's heartening to know that small actions can make a big difference. Through upcycling, we not only reduce waste and minimize our environmental footprint but also celebrate creativity, individuality, and the beauty of imperfection. So, the next time you find yourself perusing the aisles of an op shop, keep an open mind and a keen eye – you never know what treasures await, or what masterpieces you'll create.

Happy upcycling!


Melanie Coultas


I already own several coats but fancied a new one last winter and – filled with virtue at the thought of upcycling – thought I would make a zero waste coat from a woolen blanket. My daughter’s grandfather had died recently so I asked if I could have one of his – they were a blanket family and I knew he’d had several. My daughter had already given them to a charity that provides blankets for homeless people sleeping rough on Melbourne’s streets – a much better use than my vanity project. There are so many people in need and in Australia’s southern states the nights are already getting colder. Please, before you cut up a large warm blanket consider if somebody might welcome it whole, for the warmth. Perhaps consider buying one to donate when you buy the one you cut up.

— Anni