How to Upcycle Clothes

How to Upcycle Clothes

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Every year, millions of tons of clothes are thrown away, ending up in landfills or incinerators. This waste has a devastating impact on the environment…but there is a way to reduce your impact on the planet and save money at the same time: upcycling clothes.


Upcycling is the process of transforming old materials into new products of higher quality or environmental value. In the context of clothes, upcycling means taking an old garment that is no longer wearable and giving it new life. This can be done in a variety of ways, from simple repairs to more creative refashioning.

There are many benefits to upcycling clothes. It is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and express your creativity. It can also be a lot of fun!

If you are interested in upcycling clothes, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Repair holes and tears. This is a simple way to extend the life of a garment. You can use a needle and thread, fabric glue, or even duct tape to make repairs.
  • Add embellishments. This is a great way to give an old garment a new look. You can use buttons, beads, lace, or even paint to add embellishments.
  • Refashion the garment. This is a more creative way to upcycle clothes. You can cut, sew, or dye a garment to create a new look.
  • Turn the garment into something else. If the garment is too far gone to be wearable, you can turn it into something else. For example, you could turn a shirt into a tote bag, a pair of jeans into shorts, or a dress into a skirt.


There are many resources available to help you get started with upcycling clothes. There are books, websites, and even YouTube channels dedicated to upcycling. You can also find inspiration from other people's upcycling projects. My favorite textile artist, maker and designer is Natalie Chanin, who practices sustainability and slow-sewing, and has great workshops, tutorials, books and inspiration with sewing techniques inspired by American quilting. Check her out by clicking here!

Natalie Chanin Designer American Quilts

Additional Tips:


  • Start with clothes that you no longer wear. This will help you avoid wasting time and resources on clothes that you are not likely to use.
  • Be creative and have fun! There are no rules when it comes to upcycling clothes. So let your imagination run wild.
  • Use the internet for inspiration. There are many websites and blogs that feature upcycling projects. This is a great way to get ideas for your own projects.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment. Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. So don't be afraid to experiment with different techniques.

Upcycling clothes is a great way to reduce waste, save money, and express your creativity. So why not give it a try? You might be surprised at what you can create.


Follow MildaMade on social media for inspiration and updates on the latest upcycling projects:


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