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The Art of Upcycled Clothing at ReSergence Salon

By Ty Walker

The Art of Upcycled Clothing at ReSergence Salon

Sara Crampton makes upcycled clothing. She takes used clothing she finds in thrift stores, cuts it into pieces, and makes new, revitalized clothing.

She is an artist of sorts. Castoff sweaters are her media. A serger sewing machine is her tool. Elaborate coat dresses are her fine works of art.

Crampton’s vivid imagination comes to life in her cozy creations. From piles of sweaters carefully selected for their natural fibers, she stitches together decorative clothing and other unique items, all handmade at her first studio and shop, ReSergence Salon.

Located at 63045 E Brightwood Bridge Road in Brightwood, in the small town she has called home for the past 25 years, the new shop showcases her signature upcycled clothing. It is open by appointment only.
“It’s my first independent endeavor as a clothing maker,” said Crampton, a former chef at Mt. Hood’s Rendezvous Grill.

She has worked in the food industry most of her life. But she began sewing from an early age, thanks to her mother making her attend 4-H. Crampton learned how to make the kind of clothes she loves from watching a tutorial. Inspired, she started collecting sweaters and before she knew it she was making her own upcycled clothes and selling them on etsy.

She left the restaurant business in 2022 and was focusing full time on her own clothing business by 2023.
“I make a variety of styles of coats,” Crampton said. “They’re all one of a kind. Each one is unique. No two will ever be the same because of the nature of textiles I am using.”

These days she is gearing up for the summer farmers market season, which runs May through October. She plans to sell her wares at Mt. Hood Farmers Market in Sandy on Fridays and the Gresham Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Making upcycled clothes is a painstaking process that starts by spending hours at a time hunting through racks of sweaters for just the right natural fiber, mostly wool and cotton.

In her own words, here’s how Crampton does it: “I launder and dry every used sweater to felt or shrink it before using. This step helps give the finished products more structure and durability. Clean sweaters are then sorted by fiber and color, searched for holes, and evaluated for how they can be best utilized.

“I spend a lot of time on all these steps before making even one cut. The actual construction of a final product begins when I have enough clean, old sweaters to envision something new.”

“Because every sweater is unique, I don’t really have a pattern, just guidelines based on my previous sweater-creating experiences. The final step of actually sewing the garments together can take anywhere from one afternoon to four days, depending on complexity.”

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