Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How to Make a Whole New Wardrobe by Recycling Your Clothes

Getting tired of wearing the same old thing or looking like everyone else? You don't have to spend a ton of money or shop for hours to get a whole new wardrobe. Instead of getting new clothes or throwing out your old ones, why not try recycling them?


1. Plan Set aside some time to go through your closet or dresser and pull out anything you are tired of, hate, or never wear. Put these clothes into a pile (or a box if you are super neat).

2. Organize Pick one item at a time to recycle (or re-vamp) and find one thing you like about it. Maybe it has super fabric, a great print, or the style is awesome. If you can't find anything good about it, put it aside for now and choose something else.

3. Think Creatively Decide if you can embellish it in some way to spice it up (paint, beads, extra fabric, trim, lengthen it, etc.) or if you can deconstruct it into something else (take off sleeves, shorten it, slash it for peek-a-boo effect with or without fabric underneath, iron on a transfer that you printed from your computer, etc). Maybe you can dye it a different color (or colors).

4. Find Inspiration Search the Internet and in magazines for inspiration and how-to's. Some terms to do searches on are "deconstructed clothing" and "D.I.Y." (do-it-yourself). Great sites are listed below, too, but don't forget to look on your own - there are lots of ideas and how-to's out there!

5. Branch Out Learn to sew, but if you're really bad with crafty things, don't despair! Try alternative methods like using safety pins instead of sewing, for example. You can probably get help from a friend or a relative who sews if you ask.

6. Have fun! Make something that is uniquely yours and that you just love. Then when someone gives you a compliment, or asks you where you got that amazing shirt/dress/etc., proudly say "I made it myself!"

7. Accept "Defeat" Sell or give away the items that you absolutely can't find anything you like about them or think of anything to do with them. Or find a local, second-hand consignment clothing store, and take them there. Usually these stores give you the option of receiving cash or in-store credit for your items that sell. You will receive more in credit than you would in cash, and then when you come back to the store in a month or two, you can use your credit to get clothes you do like. If you bring in clothes to consign every time you visit the store, you will most likely have credit the next time you come in, and can establish a monthly or bi-monthly wardrobe rotation without spending any money.

· Focusing on one item at a time helps you to actually complete what you start and doesn't make you feel overwhelmed.

· Can't think of what to do? Invite all of your friends over for a night, and tell them to bring clothes they are tired of and swap!

· Don't do too much to an item. Less is usually more for embellishment and making things too short or with too many holes is not in good taste.

· If you are not sure you will like the result, practice on something else so you don't regret it.

· You can get fabric cheap in remnant bins at places like department stores or fabric stores and also from other clothes you either have around or get from thrift stores or garage/yard/rummage/car boot sales.

· If you don't like what you did or think it isn't good enough, first check to make sure you aren't being too hard on yourself and then try to figure out what you could have done differently to make it better. If you still don't like it, maybe you can fix it or even recycle it further.

· Try to tailor things before recycling them. You are more likely to wear something when it fits.

· Before you start, sketch what you want. Then look for pieces you have which can be used for the item you want. Then go to a craft or fabric store to buy embellishments if you need them.

· Use what is in stores or what celebrities wear as inspiration for an item.

· Start out with easy projects and work your way up to more complex ones if you are not confident at first.