Recently, I did a spring clean in my closet, and I have a secret to admit. I had several clothes in my closet that no longer fitted anymore or just forgotten about. I have made steps in my life to be more sustainable from simple tasks like bringing my own bags to the supermarket, but I realised I need to focus on how I can be more sustainable in my fashion choices.

The first step was that I organised a clothes swap with a few friends and a few items went to loving homes. A few things still remained in my closet, and I wondered what I could do with them. I could have donated them to a second-hand store, but after some research, I found only a small amount given to these stores are actually repurchased. I really wanted to extend the life of these clothes as a considerable amount of energy and resources have gone into creating the original garment. This led me to explore the idea of upcycling clothes.

Upcycling clothes is a great way to reuse materials that may have ended up on the landfill to extend the usefulness of the materials. I was lucky enough to I spent a few hours altering some shirts for some examples for a Masterclass on upcycling I am running at the National Wool Museum on the 22nd of September.

Here are some amazing before and after images of some items that had been upcycled in a few hours. The top was too tight around the neck, so cutting down the front of the collar and quick hand sew to close the gaps has created a flat collar. The sleeves were too long so were cut to sit just above the elbows. It is incredible just changing two small aspects garment can change the whole look of the clothing. It also creates a one-off garment that no one else will have.

The top was too tight around the neck, so cutting down the front of the collar and quick hand sew to close the gaps has created a flat collar. The sleeves were too long so were cut to sit just above the elbows. It is incredible just changing two small aspects garment can change the whole look of the clothing. It also creates a one-off garment that no one else will have.

The blue checked shirt was a little bit more work as I did some significant alterations of the shirt general fit.

  1. Removed 15cm off the length.
  2. Cut 5cm off each side of the garment and resewn.
  3. Cut the sleeves into cap sleeve shape.

 

I could have done a few more alterations such as removing the collar and pockets, but I was happy with its current look. This top is now perfect for being worn as pictured or even with a pair of high waisted jeans.

I enjoyed altering and reworking these items into something that can be worn again.  I like to now think that my closet is just another fabric stash I can use to create something I will wear again. There are so many inspiring ideas online, and a simple google search can start you on the journey to give your clothes a new lease of life. It is time to look at these unwanted garments in the back of the closet and get sewing.

Have you upcycled items in your closet? Comment below – I would love to see your creations!

Find everything for your next crafty project at Lincraft.