Something I have fallen in love with lately is upcycling old clothes and just generally sewing. It was one of the things I wanted to improve on in lockdown and I finally feel like I’m starting to get to grips with it. Although I am still very much a beginner, I wanted to share some of the best tips for upcycling clothes, that I have found. Hopefully, this can inspire some of you to give it a go yourself!
SEEK INSPO FROM TIK TOK, YOUTUBE AND INSTAGRAM
We all love Tiktok especially and I am now following so many people on there who not only love shopping second hand, but also love to upcycle their clothes. Some of my favourite accounts are @isabelchristine, #kustomsclothing, @streetwrk and @handmade.byissy, just to name a few. But seriously, seek inspiration from any social media platform. Even if they aren’t upcycling clothes, if they are just sewing garments or styling pieces, it can really just show you all the different ideas you can run with. Especially on Youtube, I have found just great general sewing tips and tricks on there which I really needed in the beginning. From fitting a zip to the different stitches to use. It can be really useful to just have places to seek inspiration, ideas and tips from.
KNOW WHAT STITCHES WORK WITH WHICH FABRICS
I definitely needed Youtube to help me out with this one. As well as lots of trial and error. But the stitches you use are essential for ensuring that your upcycled clothes, last and look neat. When I first started out, I was doing a basic straight stick on everything and I soon realised that certain fabrics would fray, or break the thread and that I needed to change something I was doing. After watching lots of videos and doing some weird google searches, I found that it was probably just the stitch I was doing wrong, and wow… does it make a difference. I would say, just start educating yourself from the start. Learning fabrics and what stitches work best as you go along.
USE THE MEASUREMENTS FOR THE CLOTHES YOU ALREADY HAVE
This is so useful and quite frankly the easiest way to make new clothes to fit you. Obviously consider stretch in the fabric and don’t forget about seam allowance, I’ve been there. But apart from that, use clothes that you know fit well and use them to help you upcycle. Even if it just for reference as to how cropped you want to crop a top or a pair of jeans. It is so useful to always have a guide!
WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD SOME ELASTIC
One of my favourite tips for upcycling clothes, and that is to just literally add elastic. It makes it so much easier to fit, so flattering always and so versatile too. Add elastic around the bottom of a crop top, or elastic straps or even just to add some ruching detail, it can honestly look so cute and like you spent ages on it. Plus threading through and sewing elastic can be so satisfying.
KEEP ALL SCRAP FABRICS
I try to keep as much excess fabric as possible, you never know when you might need it. Spare elastic, little scraps of fabric, bits of tread. Even if you just use if for practicing, you’re still repurposing something and making it reusable. Especially when it comes to bigger pieces of scrap fabric, definitely keep them and get creative. Which bring me onto my next point…
PATCHWORK IS ALWAYS A GREAT IDEA
ALWAYS a great idea. Those bigger pieces of fabric, arrange them into a large piece of fabric, sew all together and it is like you have a whole new fabric to play and create with. I love patchwork pieces as they are so detailed and give such a vintage feel. Plus they are so on trend right now that I just think everyone needs to get onto upcycling. You can get super creative with colour combinations and prints, something that is totally unique to you!
Let me know if you liked this post on tips for upcycling clothes. I definitely want to speak more about my sewing journey, especially with upcycling clothes. So if you ever have any questions, please leave them in the comments!
Lots of love,