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Let’s face it, we’ve tried cropping, cutting, dyeing, and tying but these classic clothing customization methods are either growing tired or don’t always pan out as we expect them to. Regardless, and rightfully so, the drive for easy and affordable customization methods persists and I’ve compiled a list of not-as-common upcycling clothes ideas to consider.
If you haven’t seen Franken-tees yet, maybe TikToker Ricky McKenna hasn’t entered your FYP. One can spice up their wardrobes by merging two pieces into one right down the middle, or really, however else you like. Usually, McKenna uses t-shirts, but the possibilities keep going; Franken-dresses and Franken-jeans are also other options.
Though patchwork offers up a lot more opportunity than splicing two articles of clothing together for a fresh look. Sometimes, adding patchwork to your clothing items allows for the opportunity to bring more dimension, color, pattern, angst, etc. to a look and the customization opportunities are endless.
Despite requiring sewing, patchwork can be one of the easier sewing projects out there, and only requires a more basic understanding of sewing—and it is totally doable without a sewing machine! This method is also typically quick and doesn’t require too much more fabric to change up the style.
This clothing customization option is probably my favorite and is the most open-ended option. With building a collection on a clothing article, the opportunities range in intensity from collecting buttons on a denim jacket to becoming Harper from Wizards of Waverly Place, so there’s lots of room to find one’s level of comfort and style.
Fashion is often thought of as a visual representation of one’s personality or interests. Oftentimes, collections can do the same—so why not form a collection on a clothing item to make it a little more you? Sure, some collections might not work out as well as others (I wouldn’t suggest attaching heavy objects or ones that wouldn’t preserve or attach well), but some might be perfect. For example, signatures on a night out on these jeans like in this viral TikTok, or collecting bottle caps for buttons or wine corks for earrings if you’re a beer or wine lover. The possibilities, if you’re creative, are endless!
Although, it isn’t necessary that what you’re collecting be representative of your personality, interests, or style. In fact, another fun idea is to collect items you would normally throw away and save them for reuse. Once you have enough of what you are collecting, you can integrate the collection into your clothing customization. Here, we see a dress made out of old CDs, or this purse made from can pop tops. Again, endless possibilities.
When we’re talking options, the world of embroidery opens endless doors for clothing customization. With the opportunity to create pretty much any design your heart desires, embroidery is an excellent go-to for adding that “you factor” to your clothes. Some simple options like these flowers on converse are effective but probably won’t take hours and hours to complete.
However, projects like these jeans might take slightly longer. And while this jacket is probably just a glowing example of master embroidery, it also shows how adding embroidery to some of your clothing items helps succeed in upgrading the badassery level of your wardrobe.
Bleach is one of the most versatile tools that can help you add a little flair to your clothes, and the cleanup tends to be easier than similar methods, such as dye and paint. One idea for using bleach to change up your clothes is to use it like tie-dye but on darker clothing items.
Additionally, bleach can be used to create more controlled designs, like using paint. By dipping a paintbrush brush into bleach, you can create whatever bleached-out designs you want on your clothing!
Oftentimes, dealing with painting fabric can be a pain in the butt—with the cracking and the long drying times and the lack of opacity, and all. However, in the right situations, paint can add some of the best personal touches to one’s wardrobe.
How your results turn out seems dependent mostly on ensuring you are using the right type of paint for the material you are painting on. Fabric paint on fabrics that need washing, acrylic paint on canvas fabric that won’t get washed frequently, etc. Doing your own research about your fabric of choice and paint of choice can make the difference between ruining your masterpiece within the first wear or not.
I’ve also found that items that seem more “worth it” to paint are often the items you will be washing less than your other clothes. Shoes are always a prime choice when it comes to painting, but I also feel like stiff denim is a popular option.
A pro tip for making sure painted shoes stay fresh is to spray waterproofing spray on them once you have finished painting.
Which of these upcycling clothes ideas do you think you’ll try? Let us know how it goes in the comments!