What is upcycling?

What is upcycling? For me, the underlying idea behind upcycling is giving vintage clothing pieces a second chance at being loved! This includes making cute vintage clothing even more adorable as well as taking out of style vintage clothing and making it fashionable.

The following are the basic steps to upcycling vintage clothing:

1) Get inspired!
Before searching for vintage clothing items to upcycle, it’s a great idea to get inspired first. Getting inspired can be done with keeping up with fashion blogs, instagrams or creating an inspiration Pinterest board. Doing this will help put you in the creative mindset needed to recreate!

2) Search search search
The next step in the upcycling process involves searching for the vintage items to alter. Generally this requires of laughing while searching through vintage clothing at garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores. I’d highly suggest bringing a friend along for the fun and also checking for discount days!

3) Use your imagination
Pick out pieces that speak to you. Look for unique patterns, shapes and materials. Let your imagination run wild with what each item could become with some tweaking. Pull back sleeves, close your eyes and just get creative.

4) Deconstruct
The first part of the actual sewing process is to deconstruct. This includes removing sleeves, cutting new hemlines and necklines, creating darts for a better fit, taking out old elastic and more. During this step remember to measure before every cut! This is another time to just be creative, have fun, reimagine what the vintage clothing item could become. How can you make it more modern, more flattering, more unique?


5) Piece it back together
Pin together any new seams. Fit on your body or on a mannequin to make sure that the shapes work correctly. Adjust and add darts as needed. Leave room for a comfortable fit and movement. Remember, you can (almost) always make clothing smaller but it’s more difficult to make it larger again!


6) Finish
Iron over hemlines. Finish seams, necklines, sleeves, etc with bias tape or lining. Choose your finishes based on material. A professional finish takes practice so always learn from your mistakes and keep on trying!

For a first hand look at the step by step upcycling process, check out the blog!