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10 Creative Ways to Upcycle Clothing

If there’s one thing that this pandemic taught us, it’s the importance of self-care. As we spend more days at home, reflecting on how we’re living our lives so far, we’ve become more appreciative of our worth.

We started spending more on our wellness, from food to our skincare. Every action has become an opportunity to flaunt our confidence, including how we dress and present ourselves to society.

People have now invested more in fashion. New clothes are bought even without special occasions. This, however, led to fast fashion.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good. But, the thing with fast fashion is that as clothing sells at quicker rates and lower prices, a consumerist culture emerges. Consequently, more clothes end up in landfills. 

In 2020, around 305 000 tons of unwanted textiles ended up in NSW landfills as people yearn for “trendy” clothes. How wasteful, right?


Fortunately, there’s now an effective way to combat fast fashion—upcycling. Upcycling pertains to the creative transformation of discarded materials into something with a higher value than their original form. 

Apart from reducing textile wastes ending up in landfills, upcycling also drives our creative bone to work by developing ways to create something from what we already have.

Start your upcycling journey now with these 10 creative ways to upcycle your unwanted clothes.

1. Cutting

It’s really frustrating when the t-shirts or pants we buy are several sizes too large or too small. But don’t give up just yet and fight the urge to go shopping again. All it needs is good old cutting from your trusty pair of scissors.  

You can turn it into a trendy crop top with just a few snips, cut the sleeves off, or cinch it with a belt to emphasise your figure. The things you can do with oversized clothes is simply limitless. 

If cutting is too risky for you, you can sew parts of your shirts to create ruffles or improve their fittings.

2. Skirt

If you’re uncomfortable cutting or sewing clothes, maybe folding and knotting will work for you. This is particularly applicable to those moth-eaten long-sleeve shirts you’ve kept for a while now. Simply wear the shirt like a skirt and tie the sleeves around the waist. Voila! A fabulous wrap skirt. 

3. Embroidery

One way to make our clothes trendy and unique is through embroidery. Just imagine all the designs you could make with just a needle, thread, and an embroidery loop. 

Whenever you look at that embroidered flower, you’ll remember all the painful pricking you had to go through to bring it to life. It can even be a perfect gift for your loved ones—one that will hold memories of a lifetime.

4. Painting

If you want something more carefree than embroidery, you can also work with paints! Just think of your clothes as a wearable canvas and paint the images from your imagination.

Painting is also a great way to cover up dreaded stains on your textile.

5. Winter hats

Outgrew your favourite sweater?

You can still use its fabric and stylish buttons to make a winter hat. Hence, even if your sweater’s no longer fit to warm your body during winter nights, it can still provide your head warmth.

6. Hair accessories

Don’t just throw residual fabrics from cutting your clothes. Instead, turn them into matching hairpieces like scrunchies, a hairband, or a hairpin decoration.

7. Plant hanger

Have you recently become a plant parent?

Then you might be planning to decorate your garden too. How about an artsy plant hanger? There’s no need to spend a lot to make this one. All you need to do is take an old shirt, cut it into strips, and tightly tie the tips together.

8. Tote bag

With upcycling clothes, you can do a lot more than just save landfill space. You can also reduce plastic use by using tote bags from your old clothes. Apart from an old shirt or dress, all you need are a pair of scissors, a needle, thread, fabric glue, and a fabulous tote bag design in mind.

9. Pillowcase

A pillowcase bought from the mall usually uses thin fabrics, making it uncomfortable to lie on. Hence, crafting one from your old thick sweaters would be a promising idea. 

Or you could also make a comfy romper for your toddler from a vintage pillowcase. So cute!

10. Blankets

Since we’re already talking about a pillowcase, why not match it with a blanket made of old shirts sewn together?

What are you waiting for?

Give yourself well-deserved care with these fashionable upcycling products while playing a part in environmental conservation.

If you ever need a hand with your upcycling ideas and rubbish removal, call us at Paul’s. We care for the environment as much as you do. 

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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