I’m so excited to get started on this series! This series is about the very basics of upcycling and how it can benefit you. Upcycling is to cut up and reuse items of clothing to create an item that will be valued more than the original. It’s a quick way to make clothing with professional-looking details.
The next two weeks will be full of shirts, shorts, accessories, baby clothes, and free patterns. We used a whole bunch of free patterns to show different ways of upcycling which you can use on any similar pattern. I can’t wait to share all the fun projects!
Clothing to Use for Upcycling
Shopping Your Closet
Sometimes you purchase an item of clothing only to let it hang in your closet. Never worn. You liked the item at one time so instead of letting it take up physical and emotional space in your closet, then upcycle it for your children. You will save money by not purchasing at fabric, and you’ll feel refreshed by cleaning out. Search through your closet, your husband’s closet, and even older children’s closet. You’ll be surprised at what you might find.
Tell your friend and family
They might have some items to get rid of and might willingly give it to you. My mom always checks with me before she donates something in case I want to use it. Sometimes it’s easier for people to donate items if they know it’s going to help someone. They might rather give it to a friend instead of donating it somewhere.
Thrift shopping tips
After you’ve gone through all the closets in your house and you have gone through everything that’s been donated to you, the next stop is the thrift store. You might have to dig a little, but you can find some wonderfully unique items. Some common items found in thrift stores are men’s button up shirts, tee shirts, pants, sweaters, and cardigans, pillowcases and sheets, and skirts and dresses. All of these are great items to upcycle because they have great details to utilize. Depending on the thrift store near you, figure out what savings your thrift store can offer you.
- Deal of the day: Look for a discount on clothes or housewares once a month. For example, 50% off all jeans. Stock up on items when they’re discounted.
- Favorite/Frequent Shopper: You might be able to sign up as a favorite shopper to get extra discounts or to get a punch card for free money.
- 50% off certain color tags: Everyday of the week a different colored tag is 50% off. (This is my favorite!)
Another tip for thrifting and upcycling, if you have somethign special in mind bring the cut out pattern with you to the thrift store. You’ll be able to line up the pattern with items to see if they even work.
When looking through racks of clothing, don’t look at every single item of clothing. Skim the racks and look only at the fabric. Look for prints that catch your eye and for fabric that looks new. Find colors you love. Only pull out the items that you’re really attracted to. Don’t look for brands, look for colors and patterns you love. As I thrift more and more I find that better quality brands actually stand out because of the quality. If you like it, ask yourself these questions before purchasing them.
- Check the closures. Does the zipper work? Do the snaps work? Are there buttons missing, and if there are, are they easy to replace? Are there belt loops missing? Has the elastic lost it’s elasticity? Are any of these closures going to be used in the upcycling?
- Do you like everything but one part like a tag or a pocket? Can that part be easily removed or designed around?
- Check the cleaning instructions. Is it very delicate or dry clean only? Is it worth it to pay for dry cleaning or put in the time to take care of the delicate fabric? Especially for kids?
- Do you love this item enough to think about it for the next couple of days?
- Are you getting it because you need it or you want it? Or are you getting it because it’s a dollar? Don’t get it because it’s on sale, only get it if you love it.
If you ever break a zipper here’s how to fix a zipper if the pull came off. This sewing trick works for invisible zippers, separating zippers, and regular zippers. You can also learn how to sew a zipper.