I totally can relate to these fears. I felt like that myself for A. Long. Time. Whether it's a garment you've had for years that is no longer worn, something donated from a friend or relative, or an item you thrifted, the possibility of making what could potentially still be worn into an un-wearble mess leaves lots of us in a state of paralysis. But then sadly the garment stays un-refashioned (or 'fashioned'?!) and it still isn't getting worn by anyone anyway.
If this is the case, then you need to objectively ask yourself whether or not the garment as it stands is still in good condition with years of wear left in it. If the answer is 'yes' and that fact is putting you off from taking the scissors to it, if you can't get over that then it's probably better to 'set that garment free' and donate it to some else who will wear it, or send it to the charity shop/thrift store/op-shop and hunt yourself out a new project starting point. However, if the answer is 'no' you really can't imagine anyone wanting to wear the garment for a number of years as it currently is, then try to give yourself carte blanche to have a go at reworking it if you are inspired to do so.
(image source: Renaissance Girl)
One of the best things about refashioning projects is that they needn't cost you a bean. If you fit into the category of being a person who lives in the developed world in 2013, you will probably have some garments in your wardrobe that you haven't worn for upwards of a year. That's just normal. Why not go 'thrifting' in your own wardrobe and unearth one of those items and have a think about how you could refashion it into something that you will potentially want to bring back into regular wardrobe rotation? Laura from Renaissance Girl recently did just that by turning an old pair of jeans into some super-cute Summer shorts (pictured above) inspired by my recent Refashion Friday post. (Thanks Laura for allowing me to use your image in this post.)
Fears of refashioning items from our own wardrobes can sometimes arise from having already formed an emotional bond with the item. I'm not suggesting you go ahead and cut up your teenage Nirvana t-shirt or wedding dress here! If something really is special, and holds important memories, then maybe it would be better to get it out of your wardrobe and put somewhere designated for important, special things. Just a thought. It's important to figure out just how genuinely deep your bond with an item is. If, upon reflection, you aren't particularly bothered about an item anymore (if you ever where), then there's no loss in having a go at reworking it. If you do really like something that you no longer wear remember that, if the refashioning project goes well, you'll be breathing new life into it and can enjoy it afresh rather than leaving it languishing at the depths of a drawer.
Charity Shops/Thrift Stores/Op-Shops/Jumble Sales/Car Boot Sales/Yard Sales/etc.:
The joy of finding refashion-able treasure in these locations over your own wardrobe is that you haven't formed an emotional bond with these garments, and in fact they've already been rejected for one reason or another by their original owner so you have no need to feel guilty if your project doesn't work out! However, you may experience the same fear as noted towards the top of this post that you don't want to 'ruin' something that someone else could otherwise enjoy. You could try to overcome this by asking yourself whether or not the garment in question is such an unusual garment that anyone else who might want to buy and wear it couldn't find something similar in the shop or elsewhere. If you really aren't confident enough in either your refashioning skills or the idea you had for reworking a garment you really like, then why not buy and keep hold of it for a while to give yourself time to overcome the lack of confidence? If you find you haven't done anything with it a year later, you can always donate it back to the charity shop.
(image source: A Good Talking To)
Another way to avoid the fear of messing up a lovely garment is to thrift a garment that you like, but don't feel passionately about. Or a garment that is ubiquitous like a mens button-up shirt, t-shirt or pair of jeans. Then if the project doesn't go well and you end up chucking the whole thing in the textile recycling bin, the worst that's happened is you had a learning experience plus you donated some cash to a good cause (be that to charity or the person who was trying to scrape together a few quid by selling their old clothes). This is how Jacq C from A Good Talking To overcame her fear of refashioning, and as a result she freed herself up to create a gorgeous skirt (pictured above) from an over-sized thrifted top! (Thanks Jacq for allowing me to use your image in this post.)
Finally, I think it's important to remember that having an idea, trying it out and it going 'wrong' is way more valuable than never trying it out at all. What are you going to learn from keeping the original notion in your head? And if the project takes an expected tack, ride that wave, how exciting! Plus, an hour spent in a creative pursuit, even if the outcome wasn't quite the wearable delight you intended it to be, will nourish you in a way that doing something like watching TV for an hour probably won't. Not that your project is destined to go wrong, I'm just talking about the 'worst case scenario', which is of course what we have to address if our fears of what we want are to be banished! Happy Refashioning (or anything else you'd really like to be doing), people.