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How to Upcycle Clothes – 18 Ideas to Refashion & Rewear

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Are you looking to move away from the fast fashion disposable clothing culture? Or do you just need to save money by not spending as much on new clothes all the time?

We have some great ideas for how to upcycle clothes and give them a new life.

You don’t even need a sewing machine to embark on a diy project to refashion and repurpose your old clothes (okay some of the projects below do need some sewing skills and tools but there are no-sew ideas too!).

Note: This post is all about upcycling or ‘refashioning’ clothing to be worn again in another way. We have tons of other posts on how to upcycle your clothes into something completely different that doesn’t get worn!

What types of clothing can you upcycle?

The short answer is any type of clothing but there are certain items that lend themself to more versatile upcycling.

  • Old t-shirt
  • Old Sweater
  • Pair of Jeans
  • Men’s Shirt
  • Old or unashionable dresses
  • Shoes (the scuffed and faded kind not the completely falling apart kind!)

What to look for in clothes to be upcycled?

Whether you are ransacking your own closet, asking friends and family for their old clothes or trawling the thrift stores there are a few things to look out for when considering which clothing you should spend time upcycling and refashioning.

  • Torn or frayed clothing is fine as long as it isn’t torn and frayed everywhere! You need some usable fabric to work with.
  • Avoid t-shirts and sweatshirts that have become completely bobbled all over – there is not a quick and easy way to disguise that. Try using them as stuffing for floor cushions or bean bags instead.
  • Look at where the seams are, how heavy the stiching is and other elements of the garment that will make it easier or harder to take it apart and refashion it.
  • Colours! Look for old clothes that are in colours you will actually want to wear. Even if all you are doing is turning an old t-shirt into a headband you want it to be in colour that you will actually enjoy wearing.
  • Check the labels to see your clothes are made by famous fashion designers. If they are you might be able to make money reselling them. If you are thrifting you also don’t want to pay a markup for a fashion designer label if you are just going to take it apart when you get home!
  • Some vintage clothing might also be more desirable than you think and you don’t want to take apart something that might be valuable to someone else. If it is in your closet and you bought it last year, you don’t need to worry about it, but if you have scored loads of old clothes from your parents or grandparents do just have a quick google to make sure they aren’t super rare and valuable before you cut into them!

18 Ways to Upcycle Clothing - Refashion & Rewear

Below are some easy and fun DIY upcycling projects for old clothes or clothes bought at thrift stores.

Looking for ways to Upcycle your Old Jeans?

Check out these posts:

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