One of my biggest aims in lockdown was to learn how to sew. Although this turned out to be much harder than I thought, I found a huge love for upcycling old clothes. I’m so passionate about transforming your old clothes into new and exciting pieces that you can still wear and love. It’s great for the environment and a perfect way to spice up your wardrobe. So in this post, I’m going to show you 10 upcycled clothing ideas and all the bits I have transformed in lockdown.
TIE FRONT TOP
Perhaps my favourite transformation of them all. But this tie front top was actually made from a mini bodycon dress that was just becoming way too worn out. The stretch in it wasn’t like new anymore but I loved the print, so I decided to try and upcycle it.
It was actually one of the first stretch fabrics I have tried to sew with, and I had to take quite a few breaks from it, but we got there in the end.
I am so pleased with how this one turned out though. These tie front tops are so on-trend right now and it was surprisingly quite easy to make. I know I am going to wear these loads in summer and I might even try to experiment with styling it in the colder months too.
SHOULDER PAD T-SHIRT
You all seemed to love this on my blog and Instagram, which makes me so so happy. When the shoulder pad t-shirt trend started coming about, I knew I wanted to buy and style one. However, I was trying to stop buying clothing I didn’t already need and given how many plain t-shirts I had in my collection, I thought I’d try and make my own shoulder pad t-shirt.
I did a blog post all about this upcycle and styling ideas so I will link that here. But it is still one of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe right now. I didn’t even use real shoulder pads for this upcycle, so it was really fun to get creative and try something new.
This piece is so well-loved in my collection now and it is a great trend piece that I know I’m still going to wear loads. It is definitely an upcycled clothing idea that I think so many people will love, and it’s so easy to do!
TIE DYE ELASTIC BACK CROP T-SHIRT
Tie Dye has been such a huge trend this summer and I finally jumped on the bandwagon. I had seen loads of different upcycled clothing ideas for tie dye, but didn’t find one that I was absolutely in love with, so I brainstormed some ideas.
I ended up, bleaching an overside men’s t-shirt, cropping it, and then adding some elastic around just the back of the t-shirt. It ended up being a super easy upcycle and it’s a piece I have already worn loads. With it being a crop tee, you can wear it with almost anything and I just think the elastic back gives it some extra details.
The most basic of all upcycled clothing ideas, but a crop t-shirt. It probably doesn’t deserve it’s own point, but I wanted to slide it in. For me, I love oversized t-shirts but sometimes you don’t want something that’s going to swallow you up. So by cropping the t-shirt, you still get that oversized feel but it stays flattering.
This is super easy to do, you could leave the crop tee with a raw edge if you wanted to. Or if you want it a little neater and you don’t mind sewing, the just do a little hem along the bottom. Then you’re finished.
Obviously, you could do so much more with an oversized t-shirt if you wanted to, but this clean and simple crop is a great basic to have.
SLEEVELESS POLO TOP
I have seen so many people wearing sleeveless tops this season and I really wanted one. When I was looking through my wardrobe, I found an old long sleeve polo that had a hole in the arms, so I thought I’d turn it into a sleeveless polo.
Yet again, another easy upcycled, but it worked a dream. Perhaps not my best piece of sewing, but I love this top. It’s so feminine and easy to wear. And I also know that I’m going to wear it so much more than the old long sleeve polo it used to be.
RUCHED FRONT CROPPED T-SHIRT
I love the whole ruched trend and have seen so many upcycled clothing ideas with it, that I had to give it a go. My approach was a little spontaneous but I actually love the result. It’s actually made from an old oversized men’s t-shirt and I love that you still get that oversized feel from the sleeves. I just think the ruched front gives it some detail and also makes it a flattering length.
Turns out this upcycle is pretty easy to do and is quite self explanatory, so I’d recommend it. I definitely think that this ruched trend is here to stay, so if you love it as much as I do, I think you should give this upcycle a go.
MINI TEA DRESS
I have had this dress sitting in my ‘needs to be upcycled’ pile for months and I just never got around to it. About six months ago, I picked up this dress in a kilo sale for a couple of pounds. It used to be a maxi dress in a size 14, but I loved the print so much and it looked like it would fit me, so I bought it. Turns out the dress was a perfect fit and I’m a size 10… never trust clothing sizes. But I did later discover that the bottom of the dress had a huge hole in it, as well as some missing buttons. So I thought I’d turn the maxi dress into a cute mini dress.
Once again, it’s a super easy upcycled clothing idea, but it gives you such a cute summer dress as a result. I find this so much more flattering than a maxi dress and I know I will wear it more. It’s also super cool to think that no one will have a dress like this.
Now this has to take the cake for the easiest upcycled. I’ve had this cardigan for ages and although I was going to get rid of it, I held on. I’m so glad I did now, because little cute cardis have become a huge trend. And although this one was cute, I wasn’t wearing it because it had no buttons. So that is exactly what I added.
So it may not count as an upcycled clothed idea, but technically, I added something to an old clothing piece to make it more wearable. So I’m calling it a win. Either way, it worked. I wear this all the time now and it’s so cute to wear as a layer, or on it’s own.
CROPPED PATCHWORK VEST
My most recent upcycle, which I’m so super proud of. This used to be a long sleeve bodysuit. I hated wearing it because it was so tight. But I loved the colour and the little slogan so much. I realised that in lockdown, I love wearing little cropped vests, so that is what I turned it into. To make it a little extra special though, I cut the fabric into squares and made it into a patchwork style top. It is little details like that you notice when you look up close. But overall, this was such a huge win.
I love that this piece is now so easy for me to wear and I already have so many new ways to style it. It was also so fun to challenge myself with a little extra sewing, and I loved the result!
CROPPED ELASTIC VEST
As I’ve said, I have found a love for cute little cropped vests. So I did it again, with a new fabric. This one had no stretch though, so I thought I’d do something a little different and add some elastic. I’ve seen these tops float around a lot this season and wanted to create one out of some scrap fabric. So this top is completely made from scrap which I think is kind of cool
It was pretty easy to make and I think the elastic just gives it a nice detail. The elastic also made it so much easier to fit and it is now super flattering to wear. I won’t lie, it wasn’t the initial outcome I anticipated, but nevertheless, it’s a cute crop that I know I will wear.
RUCHED SIDE CROPPED VEST
I am so obsessed with the ruched trend right now, and I plan to do loads more upcycling with it. But I started off with this vest. What I love about the ruched trend is how flattering it is. You can take something oversized and turn it into something that is slim fitting and gives you shape. They take a little more time to sew but the result is so worth it.
This used to be an oversized sleeveless dress that had no shape and wasn’t flattering. So I made it isn’t this, which is now something I am going to wear so much. I love a good basic grey top, it looks great with jeans and joggers. But I just think the ruched sides give it some detail and makes it more fitted.
I’d love to know what you think of this post! If you have anymore upcycled clothing ideas then please leave them in the comments!
Lots of love,