5 Tips for Upcycling Your Old Clothing


Are you feeling guilty about the stacks of old clothes you never wear but that aren’t charity shop worthy? It’s time to get creative and turn your trash into a brand new treasure for yourself!

Parting with old clothes can be really hard, but when you reach the point that you’re barely able to close the doors of your wardrobe anymore and you only actually wear a tiny fraction of what’s in it – you know it’s time for a clear out.

First, try to sell any designer gear you might have to see if you can turn those threads into cash. Then take your wearables that are still in decent nick down to your local charity shop (although be sure you don’t end up leaving with more items than you went in with, remember the aim of this exercise!).

But if there are items in there that you’re attached to or that you can’t imagine a charity shop being able to sell on then always upcycle!

The beauty of upcycling is that your options are endless – and the more creative you can be, the better. Also, as you’ll put time and effort into re-styling your piece, you’ll find you come to love even more than you did previously.

Here are a few ideas we have for upcycling your clothes into something new.

Turn Your Favourite T-shirt Into a Cushion

It’s such a shame when you’ve been collecting tour t-shirts from some of your best gigs or festivals over the years, only for them to end up being used as pyjamas. You could be holding on to some seriously ragged jumpers and t-shirts that you never wear anymore but that have a real sentimental value.

Either way, a great way to avoid throwing these out and bring them into the limelight instead is to sew them into simple cushion covers. Have a think about your colour scheme before you start chopping them up though!

Give Your Jeans a New Look

When your favourite denims have seen better days and the summer is just around the corner, all you need to do to create a whole new look is to take a pair of fabric scissors and chop those bad boys up! Jeans can of course be cut into shorts, or even a denim mini skirt with a few snips and stitches.

For shorts, be sure to mark out where you want them to be cut too before you start so there are no surprises when you put them on after! You don’t want them cut unevenly or to be so high that they’re rendered unwearable.

If you do accidentally cut them too short, sew the legs up and turn your denims into a tote bag, complete with handy side pockets!


Spray Paint Anything Plain

Now here’s a chance to really get creative.  You could use a stencil for a more defined look, or to produce prints or lettering.  Alternatively, you could just buy in the colours you love and just go nuts!

Make sure you’re wearing gloves before you begin, fabric paint doesn’t come off easy! To begin, slide a piece of cardboard inside the clothing where you will be spraying, to give yourself a nice flat surface to work with.  Smooth out the clothing to make sure there are no lumps or folds and fold away any parts of the clothing that you don’t want sprayed.

Be sure to spray on a clear finish and let it dry before using the spray paint colours to prevent the colours from soaking into the clothing.

Prepping done, you’re ready! Paint what you like, use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process, then stand back and survey your masterpiece!

Transform XXL into XXLovely

You know the giant XXL men’s t-shirts that are always lying around in Primark sale bins for 50p? Stock up on a few and start experimenting with different ways to upcycle them. With all that extra material to play around with, you can go wild!

If they’re extra big tops, they can double up as jersey dresses for ladies, which are perfect for days at the beach to just throw over your bikini.


Jewellery Upcycling

Jewellery upcycling can be so much fun, and can be good for the environment if you’re using materials that are normally difficult to recycle.

A broken pair of earrings or a ring that’s lost its pendant can be embezzled with anything you like. Bottle top earrings are a good example and there is also a designer who makes her entire jewellery collection out of the different coloured Nespresso coffee capsules (which are notoriously tough to recycle).

Let’s save the planet, one outfit at a time!

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