12 Ways to Upcycle Old, Forgotten Clothes Into Stuff You'll Actually Wear Again

If you're like us, your closet is likely littered with clothes that no longer fit, items that just aren't your style anymore, or things you simply forgot you had. But before you Marie Kondo the place and throw everything out, stop and ask yourself: Can I upcycle this? We bet the answer is yes — here are a few fun ways to get started.

1. Dressed-Up Denim

Real talk: denim can be a finicky fabric to work with. But these machine embroidery techniques will make you a master of the medium as you revamp old jeans into the coolest fashion statement.

Katrina begins class with an overview of denim, including general design tips and challenges for machine embroidering this universally beloved fabric. Then she helps you choose the best design density and color palettes for the included design.

2. A Top That's Sheer Genius

Cut off the back and stitch on some gorgeous sheer fabric — yep, it's that easy! This flowy top is sure to keep you cool and stylish all season.

You know that old T-shirt that's tucked away in the back of your closet? The one you never wear, but for some reason can't get rid of? Grab it and shake off those moth balls — it's time to give it new life! In this upcycle, you'll transform that plain T into a fabulous summer top by adding a sheer back panel. (You could also use a colored fabric that contrasts well with your shirt). Best part: You'll be done in three (count 'em — three!) easy steps.

3. Mini Magic

Take that maxi dress and turn it into a fab mini skirt. If you've got a bold print, you can cut out your favorite parts and make the skirt of your dreams (leaving all the parts you're not vibing in the scrap pile).

What to do with a crazy mismatched polyester skort maxi? Make it festival-ready with super cute puffed sleeves, pom pom trim and more.

4. A Statement Necklace

Simple cutting, gluing and wrapping is all that stands between you and a favorite statement necklace. The best part? You can make it in under an hour!

Everybody's got that drawer full of old T-shirts that never see the light of day. But we found a fun and fashionable way to give them new life! Here's how we turned a boring old T-shirt into a show-stopping statement necklace.

5. The Thriftiest Cap

This hat actually repurposes two garments — a wool skirt and dress shirt. It's twice as thrifty and twice as fun!

Using a wool skirt or men's wool suit on the outside and a dress shirt as the lining, create this sassy beret, a perfect accessory for fall. You will create a custom pattern to fit your head exactly, then follow the step-by-step instructions to sew the pieces together.

6. A DIY Dye

When you think about dyeing cloth, your mind may go straight to summer camp. But think beyond tie dye and learn to turn plain clothes into gorgeous garments with these tips for dyeing the best patterns .

Jane teaches the principles of color mixing and chemistry of fiber-reactive dyes. You'll learn how to mix and test your dyes and which components are non-negotiable.

7. A Quilt From Clothes

What's more fun than making a quilt for cheap? Turning your favorite T-shirts into one-of-a-kind blocks and stitching it all together. And yep, it's a great project for saving all your kiddo's favorite T-shirts once they're outgrown!

Sara Snuggerud begins class by helping you figure out the number of T-shirts you need for your memory quilt and how to select ones that complement each other. Then, learn to use a rotary cutter for efficient shirt preparation.

8. An Off-the-Cuff Wallet

A wallet made from shirt cuffs? Awesome! Pro tip: Before you start stitching, measure a dollar bill against the cuffs to make sure your wallet will be the right size.

How clever is this wallet? It's made from the cuffs of two dress shirts. The wallet has a pocket to hold the dollar bills you will save by upcycling, and several slots for credit cards, all secured with a Velcro closing and embellished with buttons.

9. Stitched-Up Style

Give clothes new life with a simple needle, hoop and floss. All you gotta do is brush up on basic hand embroidery stitches to create a one-of-a-kind piece.

Jessica hand embroiders a flower design onto a T-shirt, and takes you step-by-step through the process!

10. A Color-Blocked Top

We love a simple T-shirt revamp! Not only does it completely take an old piece of clothing to a new level, but it also happens to be a great hack for getting rid of pesky tears or stains down by the hem.

It happens: Sometimes your favorite T-shirt gets a hole near the hem. But that doesn't mean you have to throw it away! This project takes care of that pesky tear while giving your garment a fresh new look.

11. The Most Fashion-Forward Apron

Your new, stylish apron is only a few steps (and a closet raid) away. Grab an oversized shirt and start cutting — you'll be done so fast!

Before breaking out your wallet to buy a new apron, take a peek inside your closet — we bet there's an old, oversized shirt in there that's just begging to be transformed. And with this quick and speedy tutorial, you'll be back in the kitchen making delicious dinners and decorating cakes in no time.

12. The Coolest Cowl

This cowl is cool. Like, really cool, because there's no knitting required! Just cut out the pattern and get ready to transform an old sweater into a fall-ready accessory.

August 20, 2019
More to Explore
Now Reading
12 Ways to Upcycle Old, Forgotten Clothes Into Stuff You'll Actually Wear Again