Have any upcycling tricks for turning old garments into trendy statements?

I’ve been going to thrift stores and vintage clothing stores for years. I love that I can buy something, in many cases new, for very little cash. Plus, with my sewing skills I can easily take a garment that might not fit right and give it a custom fit. Or, change it up completely for a truly one-of-a-kind look. Back in the day we didn’t call it upcycling but well, I don’t know what we called it. It was just an enormous about of fun!

pretty in pink 2

My girlfriends and I would skip class, I mean after school we would head to our local thrift shop and raid the racks, fill our carts with all sorts of wonderful treasures. We’d hurry to one home or the other and then make up all sorts of grand creations.

pretty in pink 1

Speaking of thrift stores. Did you ever see the movie Pretty in Pink with Molly Ringwald? Well, I got to say what she did to that gorgeous pink vintage prom dress was truly a sewing travesty. I always thought the end result was tragic.

All she needed to do was remove the tulle from the front of the skirt, nip in the sides of the dress to make it more like a wiggle dress, get a fur wrap with some killer heels, and rhinestone bling and there you go.

Or, make the top sleeveless and make the neckline a ‘V’ or scoop, crop the top and keep the skirt full and pair it with elbow length custom dyed gloves, plus a vintage stole. I think my girlfriends and I had 72 different ways we would have made that dress crazy beautiful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of upcycling disasters where nothing was salvageable except to use as dust rags. All I’m saying is sometimes less is more.

Upcycling is also a great way to learn construction of ready-to-wear and it is great for all levels of seamstresses who love to experiment and build their wardrobe.Do you upcycle? Do you go to thrift stores? Have any delicious upcycling stories to tell? Let me know in the comments section below!

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About Jill

I am the Online Editor for Sew Daily and I am so incredibly excited to meet everyone here on this amazing sewing community!

My first passion is garment sewing, I love vintage sewing patterns and working with knits and silks. I also get very jazzed about sewing pants and love learning couture techniques. What about you? I can't wait to get started finding out more about you and what you like to sew.

3 thoughts on “Have any upcycling tricks for turning old garments into trendy statements?

  1. Really enjoyed this blog post. I love Pretty in Pink and have been an avid sewer since I was a child, though I have not sewn much in the last 30 years or so because I worked so much. I am now retired and starting back up again. I know what you mean about the pink sack they ended up with for her dress. I thought the same thing. I have seldom upcycled and have just started experimenting with that as well.

  2. I have raided thrift stores for textiles forever! Give me a big wool skirt and I will be inspired. If you would like to see how I transformed a wool blazer into a beautiful hat go to my May 31, 2014 post on my sewing blog