Recycled Clothing Ideas | Upcycle old clothes into something fabulous and new!

Upcycling clothes and finding recycled clothing ideas is becoming increasingly popular. In these hard economical times, the trend to buy old vintage clothes and reuse and upcycle makes sense. With so many eco-friendly fashion designers parading upcycled fashions across the ‘green’ catwalks, and vintage stores, charity shops and flea markets selling a wide selection of vintage fabrics, old curtains, retro sewing patterns, and good quality old clothes, why buy new when you can buy old and reconstruct into something new?

All you need is a sewing machine (or needle and thread), a plethora of fabrics and patterns, lace, beads, elastic, the list goes on, and with a little imagination you can upcycle old clothes into your own customized new creations.

Bristol St Vintage, the one of a kind vintage online shop based in Bristol selling affordable traditional English vintage with a folk/indie twist, recently made their first attempt to upcycle something old.

Read on to see how Bristol St Vintage made an old man’s discarded shirt into a pretty shirt-dress with a lace collar.

You will need

  • A discarded man’s shirt (mine is a GAP XL)
  • A panel of lace long enough to cover a collar
  • A metre of thin elastic
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pins
Up-cycled shirt
Customize with a lace collar

First of all I pinned a lace panel in place around the collar of the shirt. Then I used my sewing machine to sew it into place (sewing around the top and at the front).

Up-cycled shirt
Crop the sleeves to suit your style

I then chopped off the sleeves of the shirt, close to the seam, folded them over and sewed around. I then took the sides of the shirt in – as this shirt is a Men’s XL I took them in by 2/3 inches, to make this about a woman’s size 12.

Up-cycled shirt
Adapt the waistline with elastic to suit your figure

I then opened up the shirt and laying it down on the floor drew a line where I wanted the waist. I then pinned the end of a metre of some thin elastic to one end of the line, put under the sewing machine and as I sewed, I pulled the elastic so it stretched as much as possible. When I reached the other side, I sewed back and forth to seal the end. I then cut any excess of the elastic.

Up-cycled shirt
Up-cycled shirt with lace collar

And there it is – an upcycled shirt-dress with lace collar!


For more great upcycling craft ideas, why not read Upcycled Accessories?

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