This post is something I originally wrote a while back for the lovely Itzi and her blog Organising Chaos. I recommend going over there and checking her blog out right after you finish reading this here!
I was inspired to re-share this guest post after my Jeans-to-Bag Refashion recently. I’m really into recycling clothing right now and this post is all about getting that little bit more out of clothing nearing it’s end-of-life!
It happens to us all, we open our wardrobes, pick out something to wear and think, oh dear, that’s not going to last much longer. Or that won’t fit soon! Or we even still have those items hanging around that have gotten a bit holey or too big / small but we can’t throw them away. We could still use them somehow, right?
Right! If something isn’t working in my wardrobe, I’m all about trying to figure out how I can change it to make it work. Sometimes I even go out shopping in charity shops to find crazy cheap clothes ripe for re-purposing! (just for fun). I’ve rounded up some of my absolute favourites from the over the internet and here on my blog to share with you all.
I figure when you are dealing with old clothes you have three main options:
1. Change it a little.
2. Change it a lot.
3. Complete function overhaul.
Change it up a little:
Nothing lasts forever, but if we tweak our clothes just a bit, we might be able to make them last just a little longer. To eke the last bit of life out with a few small changes you could:
– Cut an old T-shirt into a workout / lazyday tank.
This is one of my favourite things to do! When t-shirts get a bit worn out (or if it’s a bit boring) I lop off the arms and the neck, tie the back straps together and voila, a chilled out tank top for working (or lazing!) out. You can find a break down of how I go about this right here.
– Turn too-short trousers into shorts with a cute cuff
This is a great one for kids because they grow so fast. I don’t have any, but I know I’ll be remembering this trick if I ever do! There’s no reason why it also wouldn’t look awesome on an adult too. Jeans are expensive, let’s make the absolute most of them. I love this tutorial that explains exactly how to do this very easily! Next time I have a pair of jeans on the outs, I’m going to try this.
– Add a strip of lace to the bottom of too-small shirts
I love this life-hack. I have this amazing female superhero shirt that I haven’t worn in over a year because it’s just too short. I don’t like the way it sits but I love the shirt, what to do?
Easy peasy, grab yourself a strip of long lace (from any good haberdashery if you’re not weird enough like me to have lace just lying around) position it along inside of the hem stitching around the bottom of your shirt and stitch along the hem again in the same place as the original hem. The stitches will blend in with the original ones and you’ve added a bit of adorable to your shirt. I did this with my favourite Femme Power t-shirt and now it’s one of my top wardrobe items again, plus now it’s even cuter!
Change it up a lot:
If you’re fancying getting a bit more adventurous, you could try to change your item into another type of clothing. With a bit of jigging around and a needle and thread, your old clothes can have a new lease of life as a totally different garment.
– Turn a shirt to a pencil skirt
I found this tutorial online recently about re-purposing a men’s shirt into an awesome pencil skirt. I’m subtly looking through The Boy’s clothing to find an appropriate shirt to attempt this with. I don’t yet own a pencil skirt, and I think this is something I must immediately change!
– Make a cardigan out of a jumper or shirt
This has to be one of the easier changes-in-clothes I’ve seen. Your jumper’s getting a bit on the small side you say? I say cut down the centre of it. You can buy wundaweb or other iron-on hemming tape from numerous shops. Just fold over the cut sides of your jumper to the back, placing some hemming web between the layers and iron over according to manufacturer’s instructions. You can stop right there and have a cute little thing to wear open over a shirt on a colder day, or you can sew yourself on some buttons down one side to complete the cardigan effect. For a breakdown of the steps to do this you can visit this great page here.
– Jeans become a skirt
If you, like me, have bits of fabric maybe lying around, here’s a great use for them and an old pair of non-fitting jeans. This blog shares a great idea to open up the inside seam of a pair of jeans and slip in a contrasting section of fabric, creating a lovely embellished denim skirt. The one featured in this instance is for a child – again a great idea for reusing your kids’ clothes when they inevitably outgrow them – but there’s no reason you can’t do this with an old pair of your jeans too!
Complete function overhaul:
I love this type of re-purposing possibly the best, because you get to exercise complete creativity. I guess it’s just one step down from cutting up my garment and harvesting it for fabric for my stash, but I prefer to have an idea of what it will be before I start hacking up an item of clothing!
– Sleeves of a jumper into finger-less mitten gloves
This is on the list of things to try next winter! Take an old jumper and turn the sleeves into finger-less mittens, a la this excellent tutorial from the renegade seamstress.
– Jeans pockets into unique bunting
This is something I did a while ago with a bunch of jeans back-pockets I’d been collecting (it does sound strange when you say it like that). I love recycling denim for projects so anytime we get an old pair of jeans need chucking, I harvest them for all possible reusible parts! The big chunks of denim go in my stash to be used for lovely little bits like the ears on my stuffed elephant mascot and the pockets go in a little drawer waiting until I had enough to do something awesome like this with them. Alternatively, try a refashion like the one I shared last week and turn your old jeans into a trendy new denim bag!
– Old shirt to a headband
This last one is so easy. I’ve shared an eHow tutorial video below that shows you how to cut up your shirts and tie them into a celtic knot to make a cool headband. I am all about the headwear. I just need a nice-coloured top to try it with. If you don’t want to / can’t glue the ends together like the tutorial features, you can also sew them!
I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to think a little about throwing out or donating your old clothing the minute it becomes unwearable in it’s current format. Not only is changing it up a bit thrifty and sensible, but also really fun! Which of these ideas was your favourite? The next one I think I’ll try is that last headband one – very simple and instantly wearable – sounds great. Oh and don’t forget to go check out Organising Chaos with Itzi!