Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion

The simple ideas are endless when you UpCycle fashion! 
Men's Button Up Shirt turned tank dress - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com
Refashioning once-loved clothing is a great way to be sustainable with fashion. 

If it doesn’t spark joy don’t throw it out turn it into something else that does! Whether you want to call it a remake or an upcycle or refashioned fashion… Sustainability in fashion is a hot topic these days and many celebrities are practicing the No New Clothes movement. There are so many simple ideas to upcycle fashion.

What’s really happening every time you purchase something new or toss out an item of clothing.

Most of our old clothes could be reused or recycled but 85% of them end up in a landfill and that the average item of clothing is only worn 14 times before it gets tossed out into the garbage and eventually in a landfill.

Over the last 20 years, the amount of clothing that Americans throw out every year has almost doubled!

When it comes to the clothing industry, it accounts for about 20% of the world’s wastewater.  According to data from the World resources institute, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, that’s 713 gallons.

When you look at the fast-fashion, pieces there are made from synthetic fabrics and because they are made from petrochemicals, they can take 200+ years for the materials to decompose in a landfill.

Example of a Men’s XL Orange Sweatshirt turned trendy crop top! The sweatshirt was rescued from the landfill and given a new life with new style and personalised embroidery.

Men's XL Orange Sweatershirt - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

It’s important to understand the difference between fast fashion and slow fashion.

The fast fashion industry thrives on rapid social media trends, creating more and more cheap, lower-quality clothes – users feel pressure to keep up! They are disposable but they are not biodegradable.

Slow fashion is garments are more timeless than trendy, they take longer to make, or they are made to order. Slow fashion is based on the how the garment is being made being and is mindful of the process and resources needed to make it.

Slow fashion is a movement. Refashioning gently used garments from your closet or the thrift store can help!

Upcycled Denim Jeans turned backpack - JaneClauss.com

What types of things can people reuse and how can they give old clothes new life?

T-shirts, blouses, jeans, sweaters, almost anything you can find in a thrift store can be made into something else.

Secondhand items or One Loved garment can be “rescued” by adding new design elements and customization from painting, embellishments, embroidery, redesigned new look.

How does someone get started?
  • Raid your closet, yard sales, and thrift store for unique finds and unwanted treasures.
  • Get inspired by books, magazines, street fashion and let your imagination run free!
  • Remember there are no mistakes when you’re being creative.
Refashioning tips to remember:
  • Anyone can do it! If you can sew on a machine, hand stitch, glue, pin, fusible fabric.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut into the garment.
  • Use the shape: if you already have a basic shape use it… If there’s a waistband use that and build around it
  • Save your scraps!
Here are some examples of once loved garments you can reinvent!

Two pair of Men’s Denim Jeans  found at the thrift store were used to create this fashionable Wrap Skirt. You can add some embroidery to one of the panels to personalize the look.

Men's denim jeans turned into a fashionable wrap skirt - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

This hoodie was made from denim scraps! Essential the scraps had to be sewn together to create a piece of fabric and from there it was designed into a one of a kind hoodie. The hood was made from the back of a sweatshirt from the 1990s. The front of the sweatshirt from the 90’s was used to create a pillow!

Denim Scraps Turned Hoody - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

A bundle of old neckties were use to create a stunning ottoman and matching pillows. The pillows were crazy quilted together from the scraps left over from the ties used to make the ottoman.

Necktie Ottoman and necktie pillows - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

This once loved green St Patrick’s Day T-shirt was saved from the trash and turned into a blouse with the addition of flowy sleeves.

Green St Patrick's Day Tshirt turned into a blouse with the addition of flowy sleeves - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

Three shirts from the thrift store were used to create this one of a kind shirt. The opposite sides of the shirts were made into another shirt! Now that’s a simple way to upcycle fashion and not waste a thing!

three shirts refashioned into a one of a kind garment - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

Flannel Shirts are in every thrift store, yard sale, and closets across the country so why not give those flannels a new life and new look as a reversible bucket hat.  It’s a super easy project and part of Jane’s simple ideas to upcycle fashion, plus, the result is so fun!

Flannel Shirts turned into a reversible bucket hat - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

This Repurposed Denim Clutch Purse was  made the top of a pair of denim jeans. The legs were used in another project so the top was reinvented into a clutch purse! Just another simple idea to upcycle fashion.

Denim Jeans scraps turned into a clutch purse - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

This cozy Sweater Scarf is made of 2 worn out sweaters! The sweaters could live on to continue to keep you warm but just used in a different way! Thank you old sweaters.

Sweater Scarf - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

These trendy Wristbands were once discarded towels! Add a personalized embroidery design and you’ve created the newest fad in fashion. And the project one of many simple ideas to upcycle fashion.

Old towel personalized wristbands -JaneClauss.com

Jane always says, “save your scraps!” And in this case, the denim scraps were recreated into a woven placemat. This is a simple sewing project that anyone can do! And if you can’t sew, use fabric glue to secure the weave as you go!

Woven denim placemats - Simple Ideas to UpCycle Fashion - JaneClauss.com

This denim crossbody backpack with fringe was created from denim scraps, faux leather scraps and leftover upholstery fabric! This creative design is all part of the simple ideas to upcycle fashion.

Denim crossbody backpack - JaneClauss.com

Jane Clauss coined the term “UpCrafting” and is passionate about refashioning once loved garments. A lifelong sewist, Jane is also a television and radio host.

About Jane

Hi I’m Jane!
A television host by day and a creative maker my entire life. I spend most moments of the day thinking about what I am going to make next, whether it be in the craft room or kitchen, I always have the urge to create.

My favorite things include fitness, fashion and food and my goal is to spread love everywhere I go. Yellow is my signature color because it always makes you smile, and I love to turn the camera on you to showcase your creative genius!

At JaneClauss.com you will find projects that anyone can make from beginners to experts. I share step by step tutorials and videos to get your creative juices flowing! I am also peeling back the curtain on other creative makers to showcase what makes them tick!

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