Sophia Miller -- March 12th, 2022
Do you have old clothes you never wear in the back of your closet?
With this brief guide, I will tell you the basics of refashioning, reusing, or upcycling unused clothes. By creating new clothes from those that would otherwise end up in a landfill (unless you donate them), you can help your world and your wallet!
Let's Get Started
First Step: Find a sewing machine!
Time to search for your machine! Look in thrift stores, eBay, your grandparent's attic, etc. Or, if you have the resources, buy a new one online. I first started with a cheap Brother machine online for less than $100. Personally, I recommend you start with a cheap machine or free machine that only does straight stitch and maybe zig-zag. The fancy stitch options may sound useful, but I fell into a similar trap two years ago. You will most likely never use them.
OK, what's next?
Craft store trip! Grab some spools of thread. All-purpose is a good place to start. You might also want some needles for your machine. Different types of needles are used for different fabrics (as well as threads, but we will get to that later). It is best to start with universal needles and ballpoint. Ballpoint needles are especially sharp and shaped for stretchy fabrics -- like T-shirts, leggings, and jersey fabrics.
Now for the fabric.
Use old clothing or fabric you do not care about for your first attempt at sewing. Don't expect yourself to have perfect stitches your first time. With the help of your machine's instruction book or YouTube, learn how to wind your bobbins and thread your machine. This process differs slightly for every machine. Then it is time to get creative!
Where to find inspiration!
There are many options one has to redesign their own clothes. You could use sewing patterns from places like Mood Sewciety, Etsy, or good old-fashioned paper patterns from McCalls, Vouge, etc. Personally, I recommend Etsy because the patterns online tend to be cheaper. Mood Sewciety has their patterns for free, although there is less selection than Etsy. You could also do simple alterations to clothing, like cropping, hemming, and waist shaping. There are endless opportunities!