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12+ Upcycle Projects To Give Old Clothes A New Lease On Life

Brittany Rae 23 Jan 2020

With fast fashion quickly falling in popularity, more and more people are looking for sustainable clothing options.

It is time to upcycle some of the clothes buried at the back of your closet, guys. There's so much fun to be had.

1. Take your scarf indoors.

Paper and Stitch

If you have a scarf that you're ready to retire from its outdoor use, hold off on throwing it away. This cute hack will give it new life — as a café apron!

This no-sew hack only requires a scarf, ribbon, scissors, and fusible bonding web.

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2. Don't be afraid of fabric paint.

YouTube | JENerationDIY

Would you believe that this tube top started out as a kid's t-shirt?

Using scissors will net you your tube top, but the fun addition here is the stars! You can create a stamp with an eraser and an x-acto knife, then stamp stars on your fabric with fabric paint.

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3. Make a bomber jacket out of an old dress shirt.

YouTube | The Sorry Girls

Over at The Sorry Girls on YouTube, Kelsey and Becky repurposed a thrifted dress shirt into a bomber jacket that is... well, bomb.

You're going to need some sewing skills for this one, but look at that result! It's worth learning just to have a jacket that cool.

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4. Change your dress length with a belt.

YouTube | MissAlex

If you're looking to do something a little different with one of your favorite dresses, try this simple hack from YouTuber MissAlex. Fold or pull your dress at the waist until you get your desired length or cut, then secure those folds with a belt.

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5. Turn a sweater into a two-piece set.

YouTube | Tia McIntosh

This thrifted sweater cost a whopping $10, but became something so much cuter.

Using a sewing machine and a lot of creativity, YouTuber Tia McIntosh made a cropped sweater and shorts set from a men's sweater!

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6. You have to see @jusbtv's work.

Click through to see all of her Adidas upcycles! She's so talented that she caught the eye of rapper Saweetie, who had her do a custom piece. Seriously, this creativity is next level.

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7. Don't shy away from unusual fabrics.

Can you believe it? This cute set used to be just one skirt that was thrifted for a whole $1.

Seriously, matching sets are such a big thing right now, and it's a totally achievable project to do!

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8. Take embellishing to the next level.

This isn't just rhinestones and metal — it's wearable art.

@hausofpook on Instagram upcycled a thrifted jacket for a local astrologist, and the results are out of this world.

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9. Skip the knot tying.

YouTube | MissAlex

If you want to knot your oversized shirt, but don't have enough material, this simple hack from MissAlex will solve all your problems. Simply pull the fabric into a bun and wrap a hair tie around it.

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10. Old jeans can become so much more

YouTube | BlueprintDIY

If you have a pair of jeans that are totally donezo, hang on to them — they're about to become a cool accessory.

Using a sewing machine, a zipper, and some ingenuity, you can create a totally unique makeup bag!

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11. Don't be afraid to alter sizing.

Found a pair of jeans you love, but are just too big? Be like @thriftntell and alter them, darling!

She took these size 18 jeans and turned them into a size 14!

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12. Turn a button-up shirt into an off-the-shoulder top

YouTube | JENerationDIY

This cute, boho-inspired top started out life as a men's button-up top.

A sewing machine and elastic is key to making this cropped, off-the-shoulder moment happen. It's perfect for festival season, in my opinion.

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13. Put extra fabric to good use.

So you have a lot of extra fabric lying around but do you know what you really have? A billowed sleeve jacket in the making.

This is the epitome of, "weird denim, but make it fashion."

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14. Embellish your collar

Follow Fashion

Listen, this hack is going to take some work. But look how cool the end result is! Holo and iridescent light is totally in right now, so head on over to Follow Fashion and check out the whole tutorial.

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15. Feeling brave? It's sharpie time.

Now, before you ask: @lindseyanne1708 clarified that it takes a very long time for sharpie to start to fade on denim. And when it does, you can legit just go back over it!

Now go raid your closet and get drawing.

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16. Embroider your butt off.

YouTube | JENerationDIY

Or simply just embroider your butt. JENerationDIY on YouTube wanted to upcycle some of her clothing, so she chose to try out embroidery for the first time. She added some stars and moons to her jeans, and it came out really cute!

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17. Create a bow on your t-shirt

Creating Laura

At Creating Laura, this bow top came to life without a single stitch!

All you need for this cute, backless look is some scissors, e6000 glue, and an old shirt.

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18. Give an old t-shirt new life.

JSOnline

This is a two-for-one hack, tbh. If you want to crop a shirt and have some fabric left over, why not follow this tutorial on how to turn that fabric into a cute headband?

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19. It's bleach time.

Tie-dye is super back, and so is acid washing. So, it checks out that bleach dyeing is having a major moment, too.

The watercolor nature of the bleach appeals to a ton of DIY-ers. Try it out for yourself, if you dare!

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20. Combine a few pieces.

One big thing happening right now involves using scraps to create statement designs on thrifted clothes.

For this look, @flood_clothing combined three sweaters, five t-shirts, and a pair of leggings! That's so cool.

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21. Turn a loud thrifted skirt into a chic miniskirt.

YouTube | The Sorry Girls

Whether we like it or not, animal print is back in a big way.

Turn tackier items into chic, upcycled ones by sewing them into more modern silhouettes. This long skirt became a mini and went from dated to fashionable nostalgia in no time!

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22. Add some lace.

Mr. Kate

You can't go wrong with Mr. Kate! In this easy, no-sew hack, you can turn any t-shirt into a statement piece with a bit of lace and some hem tape.

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