Revamp your Closet and Limit Textile Waste by Upcycling

‘Reduce, reuse and recycle’ has been a mantra used to describe the process of disposing of garbage in an environmentally conscious way, but what if you were told that the same process applies to clothing? 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, textile waste accounts for a little over 5% of landfill space. Upcycling, or the process of transforming an old item that would otherwise end up in a landfill into something new is the perfect way to revamp outdated clothing into a brand new, fashionable piece all while keeping textile waste out of our communities. Here’s how to do it.

Source the Clothing

Old clothing that is already in your closet is the best way to go due to not having to buy anything, but with the modern thrifting craze, upcycling vintage pieces is the next best move. With a few dollars in your pocket, you can go to your local secondhand shop and pick out some. 

How to Upcycle

Upcycling can be done however you like, as long as the end result differs from the initial product. Painting, cutting, sewing, and dyeing are all ways to transform a drab piece of clothing with a bit of creativity.

Easy Upcycling Ideas for the Summertime

Depending on the item you’re working with, you can create something truly special. Take an old skirt with a wild print and cut it into the shape of a pocket. Then hem the freshly cut fabric and sew it to a t-shirt to turn a plain, solid-colored shirt into something so much cooler. 

To prepare for summer, crop tops are in and so is DIY. Take an oversized top and a trusty pair of fabric scissors and cut the top clean in half – or, cut higher or lower depending on your personal comfort level. If you like the look of a raw hem that’s been freshly cut, then go for it! However, if you’d prefer a more polished look, then feel free to head to the sewing machine and hem the bottom of the shirt. 

Distressing jeans is a great way to de-stress – I mean, who doesn’t like cutting up fabric? Lay out an old pair of jeans flat on a sturdy surface. With a box cutter, rotary cutter or even just a pair of fabric scissors, cut diagonal lines in them evenly starting with the knee area and go higher or lower depending on the desired look. Once finished, put the jeans in the washing machine and then the dryer. Once you pull them out, they’ll look amazing.


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Written by Maya James

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