I’m so excited to get started on this series! This series is about the very basics of upcycling and how it can benefit you. Upcycling is to cut up and reuse items of clothing to create an item that will be valued more than the original. It’s a quick way to make clothing with professional-looking details.

The next two weeks will be full of shirts, shorts, accessories, baby clothes, and free patterns. We used a whole bunch of free patterns to show different ways of upcycling which you can use on any similar pattern. I can’t wait to share all the fun projects!

Clothing to Use for Upcycling

Shopping Your Closet

Sometimes you purchase an item of clothing only to let it hang in your closet. Never worn. You liked the item at one time so instead of letting it take up physical and emotional space in your closet, then upcycle it for your children. You will save money by not purchasing at fabric, and you’ll feel refreshed by cleaning out. Search through your closet, your husband’s closet, and even older children’s closet. You’ll be surprised at what you might find. 

How to Upcycle: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe

Tell your friend and family

They might have some items to get rid of and might willingly give it to you. My mom always checks with me before she donates something in case I want to use it. Sometimes it’s easier for people to donate items if they know it’s going to help someone. They might rather give it to a friend instead of donating it somewhere.

Thrift shopping tips

After you’ve gone through all the closets in your house and you have gone through everything that’s been donated to you, the next stop is the thrift store. You might have to dig a little, but you can find some wonderfully unique items. Some common items found in thrift stores are men’s button up shirts, tee shirts, pants, sweaters, and cardigans, pillowcases and sheets, and skirts and dresses. All of these are great items to upcycle because they have great details to utilize. Depending on the thrift store near you, figure out what savings your thrift store can offer you.

  • Deal of the day: Look for a discount on clothes or housewares once a month. For example, 50% off all jeans. Stock up on items when they’re discounted.
  • Favorite/Frequent Shopper: You might be able to sign up as a favorite shopper to get extra discounts or to get a punch card for free money.
  • 50% off certain color tags: Everyday of the week a different colored tag is 50% off. (This is my favorite!)
How to Upcycle: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe

Another tip for thrifting and upcycling, if you have somethign special in mind bring the cut out pattern with you to the thrift store. You’ll be able to line up the pattern with items to see if they even work.

When looking through racks of clothing, don’t look at every single item of clothing. Skim the racks and look only at the fabric. Look for prints that catch your eye and for fabric that looks new. Find colors you love. Only pull out the items that you’re really attracted to. Don’t look for brands, look for colors and patterns you love. As I thrift more and more I find that better quality brands actually stand out because of the quality. If you like it, ask yourself these questions before purchasing them.

  • Check the closures. Does the zipper work? Do the snaps work? Are there buttons missing, and if there are, are they easy to replace? Are there belt loops missing? Has the elastic lost it’s elasticity? Are any of these closures going to be used in the upcycling?
  • Do you like everything but one part like a tag or a pocket? Can that part be easily removed or designed around?
  • Check the cleaning instructions. Is it very delicate or dry clean only? Is it worth it to pay for dry cleaning or put in the time to take care of the delicate fabric? Especially for kids?
  • Do you love this item enough to think about it for the next couple of days?
  • Are you getting it because you need it or you want it? Or are you getting it because it’s a dollar? Don’t get it because it’s on sale, only get it if you love it.

Learn about upcycling benefits and what it saves over at Sew Thrifty today! If you have any projects inspired by this series, feel free to use the tag #upcycledkid to share. We’d love to see what you’re making and share your projects with our readers!
Find the big list of all the upcycling tutorials I’ve created! And share any upcycle inspired projects for your children with the hashtag #upcycledkid!
How to Upcycle: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe

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Author: Heather Handmade

I'm a seamstress and mother. I sew, blog, thrift, upcycle, design fabric, and teach sewing classes. I'm also a self-proclaimed fabric fondler.

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3 thoughts on “Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid’s Wardrobe

  1. My mom, sister and aunt always check with me before they donate anything. I have a full wardrobe just for my upcycles. sometimes I think it's too much and that I need to get rid of everything, but it's funny how sometimes a piece that has been hanging in there for so long, suddenly becomes the right piece for that right project.

    Posted on June 25, 2015 at 7:22 pm
  2. What a fun series! I'm excited to follow along 🙂

    Posted on June 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm
  3. My sister always checks with me when she gets rid of her undershirts. Usually the hems are great just have a pit stain or something at the top center. I use them to make an already hemmed bottom for color blocked shirts for my girls. I have also used turtle necks. They work great because people usually hate turtleneck shirts, but the bottom is already hemmed so perfect color blocked shirt. And you could always use the turtleneck part for a fun reverse applique on the front of a shirt.
    I like this list of thrifting suggestions. They also work well at yard sales, but you have to think faster at a yard sale. I picked up a long sleeve v neck shirt that was great fabric and a too short sleeveless sundress because I loved the print. I looked at both of them for a week trying to figure out what to do with them. Even went shopping at a boutique and figured out how I wanted to make those two things into something I would wear and love. They cost me $.75 and ended up in an adorable shirt and I got two compliments the first time I wore it out of the house!
    Upcycling is a great way to keep your wardrobe current and your kids stocked in tshirts without breaking the bank! I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

    Posted on June 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm