Sustainability | Social

Ways To Upcycle Used Clothes At Home

Apr 10, 2022 | Namami Sharma

The Fast Fashion industry appears to be all glamour and glory when viewed as an outsider. There's always a new trend to hop on every day, which means store shelves are constantly being restocked with new looks. Unfortunately, it's not so shiny behind the scenes. By keeping an eye on what to wear and the environment, we can showcase our style and keep up with the latest trends without hurting nature. Designers and brands have been tempted by responsible fashion. This shift has seen both influential and value brands creating designs that embrace a more sustainable approach to end products through upcycling.

What is Upcycling? 

Upcycling is the creative evolution of a consumed product into something that can be of value again. And if you're looking to upcycle clothes, you probably already know it's an ideal way to combat something called fast fashion.

                                                                     Fig1:  Image courtesy Unsplash 

Attempting to be more eco-conscious about what and how much to buy is good and the need of the hour, only purchasing sustainable cloth is even better. However, one thing that should not overlook but often is "the clothes that are already sitting in the closet, gathering dust." While online shopping is on the rise, it also leads to overstuffed closets, only for them to get out of fashion or get too loose to wear. Impulsive shopping often leads to unnecessary clothes ending up in the closets, only never to see the daylight again. While buying less certainly benefits the carbon footprint, it encourages everyone to go one step further and repurpose the old clothing to bring back the spark of joy it once brought to their life.

Read on to discover creative techniques for upcycling clothes:

                                    Fig 2: Creative techniques for upcycling clothing 

1. Embroidery 

The art of doing embroidery is easy to pick up, which is a great creative outlet for people around the globe. With just a needle, thread, and wooden hoop, embroidery can be done of any design onto an article of old clothing―a flower on a pair of jeans, an environmentally friendly slogan on a hoodie, the silhouette of a cute cat on an old bucket hat, etc.

Adding embroidery to the clothes lends them a personal touch and uniqueness. It also transforms an unworn piece into something you’ll be excited to start including in your outfits again.

2. Applique 

Appliqué is like a fabric stencil placed on a garment. Following are the steps that should take for applying this technique:

  1. Take the artwork and trace it onto fabric.
  2. Then cut that shape out of fabric.
  3. Sew the artwork onto the garment. 
  4. Beautiful repeating patterns will be cropped or masked by the shape of your artwork resulting in original and highly unique artwork.

It is a needlework technique where different pieces of fabric are sewed to a background fabric for creating pictures or patterns. It can be done by hand, machine, or both. 

3. Patchwork

Try out some of the skills like patchwork quilting; there are a few techniques and tips to learn patchwork quilting like: 

a) Cutting

Place the fabric on a cutting mat, then place a square quilting ruler on the fabric.
b) Placing 

After all the pieces are cut out, place them together and “sew” them together.
c) Pressing

After piecing two shapes together, press them to add more finishing to the whole look.
d) Square it up

Squaring means trimming the tiny strips of excess fabric that extend past the desired size of the block. 

4. Swapping 

Sharing is caring! Always ensure that the clothes have a second life. Cloth Swapping is a fun way to give your clothes a second life - invite friends and family to bring whatever they can spare from their closets. It’s not only a super sustainable tip for upcycling, but it’ll bring a smile to everyone’s faces as sharing, swapping, and exchanging always brings joy to people’s lives.

5. Painting 

Painting is a creative outlet for showcasing emotions. Unleash the artistic side by painting personalized graphics and designs onto the old clothes. Like embroidery, this allows personalizing the clothes creatively and repurposing them.

It is also a great way to cover clumsy mistakes like old spills and stains while brightening things up by adding a pop of color to your wardrobe. This works best when using acrylic paint on the clothing of a thicker material, such as denim or canvas. 

Follow RuralHandmade for more interesting ways to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

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