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Upcycled Clothing | 10 Ways to Turn Trash into Fashion



Sewing. Recycling Made by hand from home | Upcycled Clothing | 10 Ways to Turn Trash into Fashion | Featured

Besides helping you create a sustainable wardrobe, upcycled clothing reduces the threat of global warming by significantly cutting down on waste. Check out this roundup for some surefire tips on how to revive your unflattering wardrobe.

RELATED: How To Fix Backpack Straps And Zippers Outdoors

10 Foolproof Upcycled Clothing Hacks You Need to Master

Young fashion designer and seamstress sewing | upcycling ideas with clothing

1. Dyeing

A group of clothes being tie dyed | upcycling ideas clothing

This works pretty much the same as dying your hair. The same way hair dye revamps your hair, and your overall look is the same way DIY dyeing will refresh upcycled clothing. You can do this using the renowned and easy-to-execute tie-n-dye method.

Alternatively, you can opt for sophisticated botanical dyeing that adds a catchy bohemian flair to previously loved clothing. While tie-dye is commonly seen with light-colored and white clothing, it is possible with dull colors provided they match and are to your taste.


2. Cutting and Sewing

Old vintage hand sewing machine selective | upcycling clothing ideas

Are you looking to jazz-up old plain clothing? The Appliqué sewing technique should be your go upcycling method. It involves sticking or sewing different pieces of fabric onto larger garments or clothes to form patterns or pictures. With such a fashion-forward way of upcycling old clothes, you can get creative by adding some personality to your clothes.

Alternatively, you can opt for the Japanese boro sewing technique where you make visible stitching, piercing, and patching on upcycled clothes to give them a retro lift that can date back to decades or even centuries.

Tip: You can still do this by hand if you do not have a sewing machine.

3. Painting

Blonde girl posing in a painted Jean jacket | upcycled clothing

With all the suave jeans coming into fashion, it is easy to feel uninspired by your ordinary designs, whether they are wide-legged or skinny. If they still fit, you can spice them up with flattering hand-painted designs, which are currently trendy. You can also do this with your denim jackets and canvas sneakers.

4. DIY Mix-and-Match

Background - Fabrics in earth tone tribal | clothing upcycling ideas

Do you have old T-shirts, blouses, shorts, skirts or pants lying around? You will be surprised at how sleek they look when sewn to create rompers, jumpsuits, or even dresses. Here, you can tone down or go as wild as you can with your combinations. You will be amazed at how many camping-friendly clothes you can make this way.

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Zipper In Four Simple Steps

5. Embroidery

Creative DIY project, hand embroidery | upcycling ideas for clothing


Do you like sewing? Embroidery or patch art designs are a great way of upcycling old outfits before throwing them in the trash. The cherry on top is that you can use embroidery or stylish patches to cover up pilled textures and tiny holes that come with aging and frequent washing.

6. Scraps Crafting

Sewing accessories and fabric scraps heart | upcycling clothing ideas

Fabrics like leather are known to stand the test of time, but unfortunately, this does not always happen due to maintenance and, of course, wear and tear. When this happens, consider cutting the fabric into scraps that you can use to make upcycled leather belts, shopping totes, purses, fabric scrunchies, headbands, and area rugs.

Tip: You can also do with denim, where you make upcycled handbags and many more.

7. Weaving

Crochet work with cotton yarn | upcycled clothing

Fabric weaving is a unique way to spice up your wardrobe staples. The best part is that it only takes a loom, crochet, or needle and a little knowledge of the basics, and you will have spectacular patterns on your pants, T-shirts, sweaters, and even old jackets in a few hours.

For instance, you can weave pom-poms onto an old sweater or a cute pattern at the back of an old jacket. Besides wool, you can also use scrap yarns from old T-shirts.

8. Alterations

Stitching on torn denim blue jeans patched | upcycled clothing

Sometimes all it takes to elevate your upcycled clothing is simple but creative alterations. However, unlike most upcycling methods in this list, alterations are not limited to sewing, embroidery, or patching.

It also involves turning a pair of trousers into shorts or skirts or changing wide-legged jeans to boyfriend or skinny ones. What’s more, you can also go in with a razor or scissors to turn regular pants into ripped ones for a chic shabby look.

9. Repurposing

Top view leisure activity to make handmade sandals | upcycling ideas with clothing to make objects

Don’t think your old wardrobe staples can look any better? How about you try repurposing them into completely different things. For instance, you can repurpose an old sweater into stylish indoor sandals, gloves, scarves, or socks for backpacking, especially during the colder seasons.

10. Thrifting

Close up of a hand, looking on a flea market | upcycling ideas of clothing to make objects

Contrary to what many believe, you do not have to always cut your old clothes to source upcycling material. Thrift stores have grown in popularity are great places to find fresh material to revamp your dull clothes. That’s not all, most of these stores have online platforms which makes it even easier at exceptionally low prices.

Tip: Thrifting will always offer a wide array of upcycling material that you can ever get cutting up your clothes

Watch this video by BBC News on recycling fashion: the town turning waste into clothes:

There you go, preppers. As you can tell from this list, the number of ways you can upcycle your old and uninspiring clothing is limitless. The key is a little imagination and sharpened basic knowledge on sewing or weaving, and you are unstoppable.

Do you have experience upcycling clothes? What is your go-to upcycling methods: 

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