DIY clothing upcycling ideas
From turning jeans into shorts to creating whole new garments out of multiple old ones, the sky’s the limit when it comes to clothes upcycling. You don’t even have to make them into new clothes, either – lamp shades, wall art, picnic blankets and toys can be born from rags.
A cool thing to do with old jeans is make a denim shoulder bag. What’s handy is that you can leave the pockets in place and you’ve saved yourself a bit of stitching while making some useful compartments. If you’re particularly adept with a needle, you can even turn the fly into a zipped pocket for extra security.
T-shirts can quite often look bedraggled after a few wears, but there’s loads you can do with them. Tie dye them and you’ve got a fab holiday T-shirt that you can wear at the beach before stripping off. You can also cut them up and use them as patches for other clothes.
But they don’t have to become new clothes. Bring out your inner textile artist and the fabric can be cut into strips and crocheted into fine rugs, mats or coasters.
Crop those tops
Old T-shirts are ripe for upcycling once you’ve got bored of them. The easiest way to crop a tee is to put it on, work out where you want to crop it (wear your favourite jeans or gym pants for a guide), and mark the length. Then it’s a case of cutting it along its width, hemming it up and you’re done!
You can turn tees into wraparound tops, vests, scoop necks, slash T-shirts and much more besides. If you’ve got a sewing machine it’s a lot easier to keep the hems from unravelling, but hand-stitching is fine if you’re only doing a few of them.
Turn men’s shirts into summer dresses
Men’s shirts that are designed to be tucked into trousers can be incredibly long, to the point where a woman of typical height can quite easily convert one into a summer dress that’s perfect for festivals and the beach.
Simply detach the sleeves and hem them up if you want a loose fitting dress, but if you’ve got some sewing skills, you can make it narrower around the waist for a different silhouette.
Old jumpers become cardigans
That old jumper that’s past its best can have a second life as a cardigan. It’s a great opportunity to re-use material from other old garments, as you’ll need to sew in a few more inches of width to accommodate the overlap where it buttons up. Alternatively, use hook and eye fastenings instead of buttons for a light cardy.
Upcycling for the little ones
Babies get through loads of clothes as they’re growing, but for the first year or two of their lives, they’ll be wearing baby-grows most of the time. Get yourself some press studs and with a bit of needlecraft you can turn old tops into grows pretty easily. T-shirts and sweatshirts are ideal, but you can also use hoodies – an insulated one could make a really warm baby outfit for when you’re out and about.
Thinking cap on
These are all just quick ideas, of course – you’ll know your own abilities when it comes to tailoring, and with a little inspiration, there’s no limit to what you can come up with. Just remember – you were about to throw those clothes out anyway, so it doesn’t matter if you mess it up. The material might be recyclable, so make sure you discard your disastrous attempts thoughtfully.
Give your old boots a new purpose
Good quality boots are made from very durable leather, so it’s a shame to throw them away for a small scuff of hole. If you cut them into their components with a knife, you can fashion straps and buckles, tassels and jewellery cord – or even bind books with them!