Seven Easy Ways to Upcycle Your Old Clothes

We hear about upcycling all the time; and that’s a good thing! As we become more aware of how our wasteful habits affect us and the planet, reusing, recycling and upcycling are growing trends. Want to get involved in this movement? Here are seven easy ways to work with vintage upcycled clothing.

1.  Patch it up

We are not talking about patching holes in clothing. We are talking about taking those old jean jackets that have sat in the closet since high school and adding sew-on or iron on patches. Create your own, have someone customize one for you from a place like Etsy, buy them at craft stores – the possibilities are vast!

2.  Make summer clothes from formals

Remember that stunning dress from prom? The wedding dress taking up space in the closet? That beautiful bridesmaid dress you haven’t worn since your friend’s wedding? Formal dresses can easily be tailored into summer clothes. This style of vintage upcycled clothing is created by simply removing some embellishments, flounces and volume to create a paired down dress or skirt.

3.  The gentleman’s formals

Vintage upcycled clothing from prom dresses isn’t just an idea for the ladies. Gentlemen, your ruffled tuxedo, mandarin collar dress shirts and other outdated clothes can be turned into fashionable pocket squares for your modern suit.

4.  Cushion the blow

Grandma’s special dress is falling apart in storage, but you can’t bear to part with it. Grandpa’s army jacket is fading but it’s a keepsake. Repurpose items like these into something functional. The fabric can be used to make cushions, giving you a way to “hug” the special people in your life even though they have passed on.

5.  Simply… wear it

Vintage upcycled clothing does not always have to be changed or altered to be fashionable again. This is the age of self expression where people dress in everything from the neon flashy styles of the 80s to the stately glamour of the Edwardian era. If you have vintage clothing you love and it is in good shape, simply wear it and show off your unique style.

6.  Frame it

Framing a piece of clothing, especially if it has historic significance or importance to your family, makes for stunning artwork and a great conversation starter. To create vintage upcycled clothing that goes from wearable to wall art, speak with a professional framer. They need to use special glass and mounting to preserve the item and keep it from falling inside the frame, or from fading in the sun.

7.  Donate it

Your local theatre group or even school theatre department would probably love to have your old clothing, if it is in good shape. A great way create vintage upcycled clothing is to give distinctive pieces a second life. On the stage, everyone gets to enjoy the beautiful garments.

Clothing is more than just something we wear. It holds memories and ties us to people and places we love. In addition to being more eco-friendly, vintage upcycled clothing allows us to keep memories alive while doing something good for the planet. Click here to see how we upcycle clothing, and to learn more.