upcycle your clothes

Upcycle Your Clothes: 8 Brilliant Ideas

Every week we see a new trend and fast fashion works hard to keep up. But it’s hard to keep up with all the new looks, and it’s not always affordable and feasible. Beyond that, our clothing and shoes end up in landfills which further harm the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, clothing makes up a large part of the municipal solid waste stream. But you don’t have to throw it in the trash. Instead, you could creatively upcycle your clothes to get a fresh new look, while helping the environment and your local community. When you’re ready to upgrade your closet, check out these 8 unique ideas to upcycle your clothes.

1. Give Your Vintage Jacket a Facelift

There’s multiple ways to upcycle those vintage jackets and blazers hanging in your closet or on sale at your favorite thrift store. Here are some of our favorite ways to do this.

  1. Buy studs and patches from a hobby store and add detailing all over. I love this look on blazers to give them an edgier look.
  2. Sew on or use fabric glue to add an interesting pattern to the back of your jacket or to the sleeves and cuffs.
  3. Utilize a stencil and fabric paint for a facelift to the jacket that’s completely unique to you.

2. Turn Your Shirts and Sweaters Into Crop Tops

This is probably the easiest upcycle hack out there. All you need is a pair of scissors to get started. Crop tops have been in for a few years, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. To give your t-shirt or sweater a crop, first try on and then make a mark for where you want to cut. It’s best to cut a little bit off at a time because that way you can always take off more later.

3. Embroider A Plain Tee

We all have a ton of basic tees, and before you know it you have too many of one color. Upcycle any t-shirt with a simple embroidery job. You can get this done at a local shop or DIY. If you’re not too skilled with a needle, don’t panic! Many craft stores have How-To kits and even iron on patches to help you get the job done!

4. Recycle your clothes for your kids

During the winter months, isn’t it great to be under a nice quilt? Well, you could take your t-shirts, old jeans, and of course, flannels, and make a quilt out of them. (There are plenty of how-to’s on the internet!). Think about it; get your favorite pieces of clothing together and sew them together to make a one-of-a-kind quilt blanket! So, when you recycle your clothes, there’s no need to get rid of your favorite jeans or t-shirts. Repurpose them for something new to keep you warm and toasty. Or to level up this idea, make a quilt chair! Turn chairs from your house or from Facebook Marketplace into something unique and new.

5. Do a clothing swap with friends and family

Everyone likes a party. So, consider a clothing swap event. All you have to do is ask your family and friends to empty their closets of the clothing they no longer wear or need. Everyone’s got something! Then, pick a date on the calendar and ask everyone who attends the event to bring the clothes to your get-together. You’ll have a lot of fun with upcycling your clothes as people try them on to get “new” items for their closets. It’s a win-win for everyone!

6. Turn rainboots and other items into planters

Now this trend has been around for ages. Repurposing those old boots you no longer wear, thrifted cups, kettles, and even shoes into plant holders is a sustainable way to reuse them without having to trash them. The key here is to ensure proper drainage so there’s no root rot. The easiest way to do that is to place large rocks, then smaller rocks on the bottom before you place in your soil and plant. The rocks help to keep unused water away from the roots so there’s no overwatering. Upcycled planters are the cheapest way to get a unique look without the price tag!

7. Make a pom-pom sweater

You can easily give your sweater or sweatshirt an upgrade with DIY pom-pom art. You can do this by using yarn, embroidery thread or even buying pre-made pom-poms from the craft store. The great thing about this is that you can make unique patterns, add multiple colors or even making giant pom-poms for depth. Turn that plain old sweater into a fun new piece you’ll love wearing all winter long!

8. Upcycle and repurpose your clothes with a charity

Do you want to upcycle your clothes for a charity but don’t know how? Well, we’ve got you covered. You could make a big difference by donating your clothing to one of the following charities: Arms of Hope, The National Children’s Cancer Society, or AMVETS National Service Foundation. They have collection bins and pick-ups available all over the southeast. When you give your clothing through a donation program, these organizations sell your merchandise to raise funds for their causes.

In conclusion, there’s no need to add to the waste in our landfills and harm the environment. Use any or all of these brilliant upcycling ideas to give your clothes a new life!


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