Tap your creativity and learn how to transform your old clothes into new from an internationally known “upcycler” who has inspired designers to adopt a more sustainable approach to fashion.

Francisca Gajardo will be in Kansas City from Iquique, Chile in June to lead workshops at The Sewing Lab, a non-profit organization that teaches sewing and quilting classes for those who want to start their own business, train for employment, or learn how to create their own clothing and accessories.

Through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative, Gajardo was awarded a four-week fellowship to offer workshops in a specific type of upcycling she calls “supra cycling”. Gajardo is a clothing designer known for repurposing old clothing and fabric into unique, new designs. She has a master’s degree in sustainable design and has learned how to reuse old clothing out of necessity. In Chili, repurposing garments is almost the only option for a fabric source. In comparison, Americans throw away 17-million tons of textiles each year, and 11.3-million tons of it end up in a landfill, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In Kansas City, Gajardo will teach four workshops. Class descriptions suggest a basic understanding of sewing is helpful, but is not required. Workshops include:

• Experiment Recycle Workshop, a two-part class from 1 – 4 p.m. on Thursdays, June 16 and 23

In two sessions, participants will recycle, design and construct a kimono made out of their own unwanted clothes. The more clothes the student brings, the more possibilities for a unique design.

• Scrappy Explorations Workshop, 6 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28

Using fabric scraps from The Sewing Labs, students will design and create a patchwork tote bag.

• Garment Deconstruction Workshop, 1 – 4 p.m., on Thursday, June 30

Students can bring up to three pairs of pants to deconstruct and make into a shirt.

The Sewing Lab classes typically use fabric and supplies that have been donated from a variety of sources, which keeps classes affordable and thousands of pounds of fabric out of the landfill each year.

To learn more and register, see the class schedule and fees at The Sewing Labs, 526 Campbell, Kansas City, MO.