Upcycling and Remaking Clothes

Turn jeans into a skirt. (Photo courtesy MaryJanes & Galoshes)

Whether you need to remake clothes because your budget is slim or you want to upcycle clothes because it's less wasteful, the Internet is full of great ideas for doing so.

Personally, I find it easiest to remake women's and girl's clothes, but with some creativity it's possible to upcycle clothes for both genders. And just because a certain piece of clothing ends up on the fairer sex doesn't mean it had to originally start out as something for girls. Your husband's and son's clothes often make wonderful remakes for the ladies of the house. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

* Jeans or slacks too short? A no-sew fix is to roll up the ends, making cuffs for peddle pusher style pants. Or, cut the legs shorter and hem them (or let them fray, if you like) to make shorts.

Turn the holes in a little boy's pants into a monster face.
* Knees worn out of jeans or slacks? Turn them into a skirt. (Ideas and tutorials here, here, and here.) You can also turn jeans into a cute purse or shopping bag or hand bag or some shoes or slippers. Another idea is to turn the legs of old jeans into cute organizing totes. Or make a no-sew garden apron. For women or girls, learn to make pretty knee patches. If you have a little boy who loves cars and trucks, turn worn out jeans into a road for him to play with. My favorite idea for boys is to turn those torn knees into monster faces!

* Button up shirt has stains on the arms or along the hemline? Turn it into a girl's dress, or this toddler's dress, or a wide waisted girl's dress, or this cute dress.

* Sleeves stained on a long sleeved T? Turn it into this cute new shirt.

Patches can be cute! (Photo courtesy Make it Do.)
* T-shirt stained or torn? Turn it into a produce bag. Or make a cute girl's dress. Or just learn to cover up the strains creatively.

* Shirt too short? Turn it into a dress.

* Skirt too narrow? Cut it off at the hipline and add gathered, horizontal ruffles.

From The Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing, 1946.
*Dress too small? Add a vertical panel at center front.

* Man's shirt doesn't fit him anymore? Make it into a dress. (See this one, too.)

* Clothes hopelessly out of fashion? Try using them like fabric yardage to create an entirely new outfit. This works best if you're using adult clothing to make kid's clothing. (For this to be worthwhile the fabric must not be in good condition.)

* Waist too short on a dress? Rip the bodice away from the skirt and add a horizontal panel. This works for too-short skirts, too; add a horizontal panel at the hem or at the waistline.
Add length to bodices or skirts by adding horizontal panels. (From the Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book, 1961.)

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