Recycle Clothes

Reuse, Redesign and Rewear Your Clothes

Remember that awful shirt you got for your birthday a couple years ago? Or that shirt that went out of style the second you bought it? Or that shirt that shrunk or you grew out of? If you haven’t already disposed of the piece of clothing that does not appeal to you anymore, hold onto it and simply revamp it.

Revamping an old article of clothing may be the extra push or last technique you need to hold onto it. The technique of “recycling clothes” is also trending in the fashion world amongst many fashion designers.

For example, according to, fashion designer Gary Harvey can take a pair of jeans, a trench coat, an army jacket, wedding dresses or even newspapers and turn them into stylish vintage ball-gowns.

Luckily there are many tips and techniques out there for a person to utilize when trying to redesign an old article of clothing. For starters, the supplies you will need to complete these transformations are: crafting scissors, basic sewing kit, and accessories (buttons, sequins, beads, etc.). Scissors will either become your best friend or worst enemy when dealing with cutting old clothes. When starting off, I would recommend re-designing the oldest articles of clothing for practice purposes.

A basic sewing kit will include a variety of needles and string for stitching/sewing small projects. This can be purchased at stores such as Target, CVS and Walgreens. Accessories can be purchased if you’re feeling ambitious and creative.

Applying accessories can be difficult, but they can be that extra pizzazz for a dull article of clothing. Craft stores such as JoAnne Fabric’s and AC Moore offer a wide variety of accessories that can be applied on articles of clothing. Some of the most popularized applications are sequins, buttons and fabric pieces.

Now that you have the basic supplies needed to revamp your old clothing, it’s time for some ways of redesigning.

Cutting up an article of clothing is typically the quickest, easiest way to make a simple to drastic change.

Sophomore Hope Fischer said, “I always cut my shirts. It’s an easy way to make an old shirt look new.”

Some recommendations of cutting techniques from include cutting a neckline of a shirt, creating stylish rips in old jeans and cutting the sides or back of a shirt into different designs. When cutting a neckline of a shirt, V-neck, scoop neck and off-the-shoulder designs are simple to transform into. Take the scissors and cut the design you feel would best accentuate your features.

An old pair of jeans is another article of clothing that can be revamped with just a couple of snips. That accidental tear can be the inspiration of your newly revamped ripped jeans! Ripped jeans are a funky way to express yourself while being fashionable.

Sophomore Elisabeth Medino, a sophomore, said, “I have so many clothes I have grown out of and I don’t know what to do with them all.”

Growing out of an article of clothing is natural; we grow in height and width. Luckily there are ways to save an article of clothing after out-growing it.

The quick tip of saving these outgrown clothing articles is cutting or hemming them to be shorter to make them appear that they are meant to be that shape and size.

For example, a pair of pants that no longer fits can be cut into a pair of shorts or capris by cutting off a couple extra inches at the bottom. A long-sleeved shirt can also be cut into a tank top or short-sleeved shirt by cutting a couple inches off the sleeve. A shirt can also be transformed into a crop top by either hemming or cutting the bottom. These tips, along with many others regarding shortening clothes, can be found at

Now time for the fun part; applying fabrics or accessories to an old clothing item. This requires more practice than the other techniques, but it is a creative way for redesigning clothes.

Arts and crafts stores are notorious for their array of accessories stocked on their shelves. From patterns of fabric to pieces of faux fur, these stores can be your saving grace when dealing with an old piece of clothing. There are many examples of applying accessories to a piece of clothing and ideas can be found at

One example of redesigning an article of clothing is either stitching or sewing another piece of fabric on top or underneath. This could mean stitching a piece of fabric underneath a pair of ripped jeans. The options with accessorizing clothing are truly endless!

For further directions on how to cut up clothes into a new style, D.I.Y. (do it yourself) articles can be found at For a visual step-by-step guide, offers many D.I.Y. tips in the forums of instructional videos.

Redesigning clothing may be your last chance to hold onto some of your old pieces of clothing. It’s also a fun way to express yourself and an opportunity to be creative.