35+ Refashioning Projects for Refashionistas
Learn how to turn something old into something new with these upcycled clothing ideas.
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Is your closet looking drab? Do you want to buy new clothes but just don't have the money right now? Here are some easy ideas for refashioning clothes that will keep dollars in your pocket while keeping your wardrobe trendy!
As a sewist, you're already a creative individual. But have you ever thought of yourself as a refashionista? You can start by taking some old, worn pieces from your closet and upcycling clothes into something new. The boho look is in right now, and that's exactly what you'll get when you try these upcycled clothing ideas. Reuse old t-shirts, skirts, jeans, sweaters, ties, scarves, and more to create a style that's all your own.
With these 35+ Refashioning Projects for Refashionistas, you can upgrade your look from shabby to shabby chic. Discover our easy sewing patterns for DIY outfits, accessories, and even home decor!
Refashioned Clothes for Adults
Save your old sweaters, shirts, and jeans from the trash by being a refashionista. You can repurpose almost any material to make something new. Give new life to an old T-shirt by turning it into a skirt. Or add some interest to your favorite blazer with a bit of lace. No matter what your fashion preference is, there's always a way to revamp your wardrobe by upcycling clothes. Check out the ideas below to get started!
- Summer Dress
Need a new use for an old plaid shirt? This simple summery dress is perfect for you! No need to leave the house or head to the mall—all you need to learn how to sew a dress is your sewing machine and a shirt you can steal from your man.
- Peggy Carter-Inspired Upcycled Skirt
Styled after the classic skirt shapes of the 1940s, this vintage-inspired project is the perfect excuse to hit your local thrift store. You can complete this flirty look with a secretary blouse, or bring your skirt into the 21st century with a slim-fitting top.
- DIY Crop Top Refashion
With high rise jeans and skirts back in fashion, you'll want to try out this refashioning sewing tutorial. Wear your new DIY top with a high-waisted skirt, jeans, or shorts for a super chic DIY fashion statement.
- The Birth Of The Scarf Tee
Step back in time with this totally trendy top! This tutorial does more than add to your wardrobe; it inspires you to refashion retro items into brand-new pieces.
- Jogging Pants Refashion Pattern
Use this tutorial to upcycle and repurpose old, baggy sweatpants into something you can work (or work out) with! With this free sewing pattern, you won't have to dash out the door to an expensive athletics store next time you want to add a workout staple to your wardrobe.
- Elizabeth Taylor's Favorite Lace Skirt
This is undoubtedly a project you'll want to try. For those who want evergreen fashion without the cost, this beautiful bottom is just what you're after.
- Ladylike Lace Upcycled Jeans
Don't throw out old jeans with tears and holes. Instead, recycle them into something utterly fabulous with this tutorial. Simply choose your favorite pair of old jeans and add a touch of pretty lace with this fun recycled fabric idea.
- Sleeveless Shirt Refashion
Found a super-cute shirt at the thrift store that's just way too big for you? Buy it anyway and refashion it into a top that fits! Start this project with any buttoned sleeveless shirt that's at least two sizes too big.
- DIY Little Black Dress
When you next prepare for an evening out, you'll be glad you took the time to sew together this LBD. Featuring a dark underlay covered with elegant black lace, this DIY dress will play a vital part in your social outings going forward.
- 15 Minute Lacy Blazer
Jazz up your plain blazer in a few easy steps. It's the perfect way to update your wardrobe without spending a lot of money. You'll love showing off this stylish blazer in casual and formal environments.
- Skirt to Dress Refashion
What could be easier than this? Learn how to make your own clothes by upcycling an old item into a new, fashionable article of clothing. All you need to make one of these free dress patterns is an old, too-big skirt and a few hours.
- Surprisingly Simple Sweater Dress
Learn how to sew an easy dress from a men's sweater with this dress pattern tutorial. Save big bucks by sewing a dress in three easy steps that will become a go-to article for chilly days.
- Flattering Upcycled DIY Skirt
If you’ve gone through your wardrobe recently and noticed many of your skirts are no longer in fashion, perhaps you should use one to make this. This skirt’s waistline is simply adorable, so you might want to consider tucking your shirt in so you can show it off.
- Sweet and Simple Vintage Pillowcase Dress
Revive the thrifty practice of transforming everyday household items into clothing. This is a great way to clean out the clutter in your closet and put your old pillowcases to good use. You will not believe how easy and cheap it is to create this adorable little dress.
- 10 Minute Sweater to Cardigan Transformation
This tutorial will teach you how to turn a sweater into a cardigan, so you can have as many cardigans as you want without breaking the bank. Your unworn or thrift shop sweaters will magically become lightweight, stylish cardigans in just a few simple steps.
- The Great Gathered Cowl V-Neck
This free shirt sewing pattern includes instructions on how to sew a gathered cowl onto a V-neck. Even if you don't have a V-neck shirt readily available, you can still easily learn how to alter a shirt with this tutorial.
- Incredibly Simple Refashioned Sweater Skirt
This is going to become one of your favorite winter staples! As warm and comfy as your best-loved sweater, this skirt fits like a glove and feels like a hug, perfect for those winter workdays when all you want to do is stay wrapped in blankets at home.
- DIY Basketweave Hoodie Tutorial
It's easy to give an old hoodie a brand new look. Check out this tutorial to learn how! Because you'll reuse clothes when you make this hoodie, the project is friendly for the environment.
- 20 Minute Shirt to Skirt
The designer of this project calls it the "easiest skirt to make in the entire world." We like the sound of that! In just 20 minutes you can transform an over-sized shirt into a wearable skirt.
- High Waisted Skirt From Vintage Sweater
If you have a vintage sweater, you can create this stylish skirt. It's a rather hipster look you can recreate yourself by following the simple instructions. This free skirt pattern will show you exactly how to make a skirt that looks straight from the racks of the hottest local, high-end boutique.
- Sweatshirt Liposuction
If you want the warm snuggly-ness of a big sweatshirt but the style of a fitted sweater, this tutorial is for you! This refashioning tutorial will teach you how to make a too-big sweatshirt fit just right—and look amazing.
How to Reuse Old T-Shirts
It's easy to accumulate a lot of random T-shirts when you're an adult—from concerts, sporting events, booster clubs, and more. Some shirts may even have sentimental value, and it can be difficult to part with well-worn items. Or, sometimes you just don't want to throw away a tee that is slightly worn or simply too big or too small! Instead of tossing your favorite shirt, why not use it to make something new? Check out the unique ideas below, as well as our free 9 Ways to Transform Old T Shirts eBook, to get ideas on how to reuse old T-shirts.
- The Cabo Dress T-Shirt Refashion
It's amazing what you can do with a large cotton shirt! This gorgeous dress tutorial is the perfect free sewing pattern to take on your next warm and tropical vacation. It looks great all on its own, but if you are in serious need of a DIY bathing suit cover-up, this idea is the perfect solution.
- Reusable T-Shirt Bag
These instructions on how to make a shoulder bag out of a thrifted t-shirt will lead to zero wasted space on paper and plastic bags all over your home. Getting eco-friendlier in less than an hour will save you a ton of room.
- Plain Jane T-Shirt Refashion
Now your old pieces can undergo a Cinderella-style makeover to become one of the most fashionable articles in your closet. Take off the knit band at the neck and replace it with attention-grabbing lace for a chic, mature, and customized look.
- Ruffle T shirt
Take a few old t-shirts and turn them into a stylish ruffled tee using this sewing tutorial, which also features free sewing craft patterns to make fabric flowers to embellish your t-shirt!
- Easy T Shirt Aprons
Everyone has an excess of old T-shirts hanging around. Here's a good beginner sewing project that refashions your old rags into easy t-shirt aprons.
- Draped Color Block Tee
This simple shirt pattern is a quick fix for any seamstress. You'll be surprised that you can whip up this wardrobe staple in less than an hour. Refashion a shirt that makes you feel and look great without taking tons of time to do it.
Upcycled DIY Accessories
Don't limit yourself as a sewist. Instead of only making clothes, break out of the mold and refashion your old shirts and worn-out jeans to create these gorgeous DIY accessories. With the free sewing patterns below, you can keep money in your wallet while making something cute and completely original. You won't see anyone else with exactly the same accessory walking down the street.
- Table Runner DIY Clutch
This incredibly fun and budget-friendly refashioning project teaches you how to create a stylish clutch from a thrift store table runner. This envelope clutch is large enough to hold everything you need while still being lightweight and easy to carry.
- Denim Fabric Basket Tutorial
Learn how to make a fabric basket which you can use to organize almost anything! It's a great upcycling project that's incredibly useful.
- Easily Maintained Market Totes
This tutorial teaches you how to sew bags for the market out of old bed sheets. These DIY bags are reusable, meaning that you won't have to compromise with excessive paper or plastic bags in your home after your trip to the store.
- Fast Easy Baby Bib
If you've never thought to make a baby bib from denim, explore this idea! This bib is made from old jeans, so you probably already have everything you need to make this cute and simple sewing project.
- Upcycled Sweater Pillowcase
This DIY project will show you how to take your old cozy sweater and transform it into a unique pillowcase. Decorate your living space with these super-comfy pillows and make any place you lay your head a relaxing one.
- Men's Shirt Apron
Transform an old men's dress shirt into a collared apron with this apron sewing tutorial. This is one wardrobe refashioning project that will look good on men or women!
- How to Make Slippers From Jeans
If you're looking for a great homemade gift idea, this homemade slipper pattern will do the trick. Easily created from an old pair of jeans, this upcycled sewing idea is as easy to make as it is clever.
- Sever Ties Scissor Holder
Don't use up your fabric on a project like this when your hubby probably has outdated neckties in his closet that are ready to be used. Sever ties with those ties and sew a spot for your scissors!
- Sweater Leg Warmers
Keep your legs happy with these adorable leg warmers! This free sewing pattern is fun and functional. Give them as a gift or keep them for yourself!
- Necktie Refashion Into Necklace or Wallet
Give your old neckties a second chance at life. Wear or use these cute pieces every day this fall and winter!
- No Sew DIY Ironing Board
Tired of dragging your bulky ironing board into your sewing room just to press a few seams? Say hello to this mini DIY ironing board that is made from upcycled furniture. Instead of selling an old, unused table at a garage sale, you can staple fabric to it and be ready to iron in a matter of minutes.
- Sweater Into Infinity Scarf Tutorial
Take a sweater you no longer wear and turn it into your new favorite accessory. Learn how to make an infinity scarf that looks just as cozy and cool as the scarves you buy in the store.
When it comes to being thrifty and stylish, what better way than to refashion something? Take something you already have on hand and use it to create something new. Don't miss these easy wardrobe refashions! 30 Wardrobe Refashion Projects + 14 Ideas for the Whole Family
What are your favorite types of refashioning projects? Let us know below in the comments!
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