If you follow me on Instagram & watch my stories, then you’ll know by now that one of my favourite lockdown activities has been upcycling clothes. Not only is it fun, it’s also a great, sustainable way to update your wardrobe without needing to buy new items. Plus it’s pretty cheap, seeing as you use things you already own to do it. Having said that, I personally did decide to invest in a sewing machine (which obviously cost money) as I enjoy it so much & want it to become a longterm thing. If you don’t own a sewing machine, then don’t worry – some (even all) of these projects can be done by hand. They’ll just take a bit longer.
Remember when these were in, circa 2010? Well, they’re back in – and I couldn’t be happier! I love scrunchies. If you can wear a cute scrunchie, why would you settle for a plain elastic? Plus, when upcycling clothes you can use excess fabric to make a matching scrunchie. So aesthetic 😉. I just followed this video (which includes machine, hand and no-sew methods). You could also use a piece of elastic and sew it together to make a band (which is often what I do). A word of warning, though; they use more fabric than you’d think!
My latest project was making a bucket hat out of an old pair of jeans. They were ripped in several places & so I could no longer feasibly wear them. This did mean that sometimes, due to the rip locations, I was limited for fabric and so I actually needed a bit extra from an old skirt. In the end though it turned out quite cute because the different denim washes added a nice contrast effect. I used the instructions and template from this video – although did find that the hat was a bit big for me. So maybe measure your head first just to check the hat will fit you! It wasn’t the end of the world though as I adjusted the seams to make it fit me. Plus I customised mine with some different coloured threads to make it extra cute and unique.
How could I dedicate a post to upcycling clothes without mentioning embroidery? With no cutting of fabric required, it’s a good option for those of you that don’t want to completely take apart a piece of clothing. All you need is some embroidery floss (the same you use to make friendship bracelets – John Lewis actually have some good, affordable ones) & a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the thread. I think I might embroider my bucket hat next (spoiler alert: I’m in the process of it)! The beauty is that you can easily undo embroidery stitches if you make a mistake or don’t like how it looks. So there’s really no reason not to give it a go. If you’ve never done it before, then I recommend checking out this page which has lots of good information to get you started.
Old men’s shirts into…
Old, large men’s shirts are surprisingly versatile. Your dad or brother probably have a fair few that they no longer wear or have forgotten about. If you search up “men’s shirt thrift flip” on youtube then you’ll find lots of different tutorials. So far I’ve successfully made a square-necked, puff-sleeved top and a halter neck top. Something I learnt from failing two pieces is to always leave even more seam allowance when cutting than you think you’ll need. If the final product is a big big or baggy, you can take it in easily. But if it’s too small, there’s not much you can do.
A few more ideas:
(that I have yet to try)
- Bleaching jeans to create a contrasting effect on the legs (I’m quite scared to work with bleach though)
- Using fabric paint to customise your clothes (especially jeans)
- Tie-dye (so in right now 😉)
- Your own face-mask (essential item!)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different style of blog post. Since I’m changing my focus a bit, you can expect more variety from now on. If you do give any of these projects a go then I’d love to see how they turn out!