Do you have a closet full of clothes but still don’t know what to wear?
Or perhaps do you find yourself reaching for the same garments while the rest are languishing at the bottom of the pile?
You could donate your clothes and hit the stores, but why not upcycle them? It’s a great way to save some money. You don’t even have to upcycle your clothes to wear them again, there’s a lot of other things that can be done with old clothing. One of the most creative ideas for outgrown clothes is to consider making them into a custom t shirt quilt. This can be a lovely keepsake for people who might not want to throw away these clothes due to the memories they might hold. This is just one idea though, there are many more.
Upcycling is when you take your old things and, through design, transform them into something that is more usable. When you upcycle clothes, you could transform them into a garment that’s more wearable, or something that has a new use. Upcycling your clothes is also called refashioning.
Here are some tips on how to get started on your upcycling journey.
#1 Look in Your Wardrobe
That’s right, look through it and divide your clothes into 3 piles:
(a) don’t like and never worn
(b) like and never worn
(c) always wear.
Go through piles (a) and (b) and pop the garments that are worn out / have stains / torn into the recycling bin. For the remaining items in piles (a) and (b), you can upcycle them!
#2 Start Simple
Unless you want to end up demoralised at the start of your upcycling journey, start with a simple upcycling project. This is especially true if you don’t have any sewing skills.
Simple DIYs include converting a t-shirt into a bag, dyeing or using batik to colour a garment, or just cutting off those jeans into a pair of shorts.
#3 Get inspiration & Start!
You can find inspiration anywhere.
The internet has a wealth of information and DIY projects, but be wary of aimless surfing and not starting on a project – this has happened to me before, so I stick to window shopping or just look at what other people are wearing and thinking “hey, now how can I make that from my old clothes”! Pssst….when you look at people’s clothes, you might want to do it subtly!
#4 Plan Ahead
Envision what you want to make and make a sketch of it. It’s useful to have it there to guide you.
Get the tools you need and allocate an amount of time to transform your garment. I usually find that if I set aside some time, I can get the project done!
#5 Upcycle With Your Friends & Family
Get together with friends and family and make a party out of it. Share tips, techniques and more importantly, make upcycling fun!
#6 Have Patience & Don’t Give Up!
Sometimes projects take longer than expected or they might not have turned out the way you want it to – that’s okay. Figure out what went wrong; maybe the technique needs improving or perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. Upcycling is a journey, and I can tell you that it is a process of learning, making mistakes and eventually success!
Hello. My name is Agatha and I’m based in sunny Singapore. I love to transform old things into something that’s more useable, and I’m very passionate about sustainable fashion. I post my tutorials and upcycling journey on “Green Issues by Agy“, and I have just co-founded Connected Threads Asia to spread the importance of making sustainable fashion choices.
Thank you to Judith for having me guest post. It’s always lovely to work with like-minded and passionate people!
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