10 Up-cycled ideas for Sustainable Clothing

Up-cycling clothing and fabrics can be super sustainable. In this age of slow fashion it has become a massive influx of thrifting, resale to repairing, renting and recycling used clothing. Every effort we take towards slowing the manufacturing of clothing saves the resources our planet has to offer the future generations. 

In this blog I will share 10 of my favorite upcycled designs made from clothing I bought from local thrift stores and redesigned into unique ONE OF A KIND designs. Pieces original that no one else on the earth could be wearing. A fun and ethical journey into Fashion Sustainability.

#10 Jeans Jeans Jeans

Jeans, jeans and more I have taken two to three pairs of jeans and opened the bottom sides of one pair. Cut out two triangles of another pair that had a cool design and then used scraps and pockets from a few others to create this pair of exceptional unique and sexy bell bottoms. See my blog on how to make bell bottoms

#9 Let the fabrics Flow

Creating this  flowy top from a restructured Indian tunic and discarded linen fabric was easy. Just cut off the bottom of an old tunic and sew some lightweight fabrics from curtains or linens on to the bottom all the way across to the end of the sleeves and leave it open like a poncho. TIP: Checking out the drapes, linens and bedding for added fabric at your local thrift is a never ending supply of magic!

#8 Zero Waste Jewe

NEVER THROW AWAY YOUR SCRAPS!!! This gorgeous choker is made from the hem of a pair of jeans. I create my own copper closures but you can see a longer tie all

around and tie it in the back. Add additional gems, beads and more to embellish for the perfect look! All of this was hand sewn. I personally love a hand made look and allow my work to be less than perfect for a free style character. 


teeshirt, skirts and scraps..oh my!!!

Once again you can see my love for jeans...This amazing tunic was made from a one world tunic top, two flowy skirts for the bell sleeves and pieces of selvedge jeans. As you can see I added some patches and up-cycled buttons for detailing. 

# 6 Tie dye and Dynamite

One of my favorite things to do with T- shirts is to cut off all the hemming and make it look more grunge. I LIVE  FOR ROLLED MATERIAL! After I cut off the hemlines I always give my material a tug to get that rolled edge. Here I have taken an old black teeshirt reversed dyed it in a bleach/water solution with a shabori fold and paired it with a grungy used crochet top I cut, dyed in a blue eco dye and sewed  the bottom half to the top. TIP: don’t be afraid to allow things to unravel and look used. There is a zen wild feel to the decay of fabrics that is simple and beautiful! 

#5 Always use both tops and bottoms for two designs


Oh my do I love dusty rose and mauves in my clothing. Again I just found two tops at the thrift that I cut the tops from the bottoms and paired them together. The piece needed a little color pick me up and strangely placing it in bleach water for about 10 min gave it a gorgeous burnout feel and brought the colors out in other areas were the fabric was dirty and dull looking. Proceed with caution when trying this method...I prefer a washed out look for some things but not all ;)

# 4 From skirt to Gauchos

How about that old skirt you just never wear anymore? Here I used some thrifted shorts (cut of jeans will work too...remember to save the rest of the jeans for another project) and then I cut the waist band off the skirt and then cut the skirt in half! Voila sew the two new skirt legs together and then add to the shorts and these comfortable gauchos will be the result.

# 3 Fairy hoodies for those summer eves

 Old sweatshirts and hoodies are amazing for that forest fairy feel and cool summer or fall evenings. I like to use 4 to 5 sweatshirts for the color variation on the skirts and the arms when creating these designs. If you are interested in making something fun like this check out Katwise on Etsy and she is the creator of the most wonderful pixie hoodies. There you can purchase one of her sewing guides on how to create one of your very own!

# 2 Bring it back with color

If you really want to have a little fun with some clothing up-cycles why not jump on the tie dye wagon. I found these great Tee shirts which were 100% cotton (extremely important when dyeing fabric. Use nothing less then 80% natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, rayon, hemp or silk to get the best colors) made by Abercrombie & Fitch in white and used Dharma dyes to achieve this beautiful mandala. With a little practice and help from endless Facebook groups and YouTube videos you can create out of this world designs that may even make you a little cash on the side. Wink wink... Below I used some men’s Hanes Tees to create almost little summer dresses that can be worn over a tube too or bathing suits. Super cute ideas for saving and reviving unused and boring clothing.


I can never get enough bell bottom jeans. I decided these would be #1 because after all your projects you’re gonna have scraps galore! And what better way to create a zero waste project then putting all your scraps together to create something AWESOME! For these inserts I used a piece of iron on fusing and laid all my pieces on the sticky side. Once I had the pieces down the way I want the design to be I pressed and reinforced by machine sewing in a free style manner to lock everything in place. Then I added the triangle insert to a pair of thrifted jeans for gorgeous, colorful bell bottoms that truly capture attention when worn! 

for more tips and tricks you can follow me on YouTube. 

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