5 Ways to Upcycle Old Clothes into Fashion
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 5 min read


  1. Transform old T-shirts into tote bags
  2. Turn outdated jeans into stylish shorts
  3. Create fun patches from unused clothes
  4. Make scarves from old sweaters
  5. Repurpose old socks into cute animals

Ever looked into your closet and felt an overwhelming sense of "meh"? Those old T-shirts, outdated jeans, or unused clothes just don't excite you anymore. But wait, don't toss them out! With a little creativity, you can breathe new life into your old threads and create some truly amazing upcycled fashion designs. Here are five simple, yet stunning, ways to transform your old clothes into something new — and stylish.

Transform Old T-Shirts into Tote Bags

First on our list is the transformation of your old t-shirts into practical yet stylish tote bags. These upcycled fashion designs are not only a testament to your creativity but also a step towards sustainable living. So, let's dive right in!

Materials Needed

  • An old T-shirt (the larger, the better)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler


  1. Cut off the sleeves of your T-shirt. You've just created the handles of your new tote bag.
  2. Then, cut out the neckline in a U-shape. This will form the opening of your tote bag.
  3. Next, flip the T-shirt inside out and cut slits about 1 inch apart and 3 inches deep along the bottom hem. You're creating a sort of fringe.
  4. Now, tie each pair of fringe pieces together into tight knots. This seals off the bottom of your bag.
  5. Finally, flip the T-shirt right side out again. Voila! You have an upcycled tote bag.

And there you have it! You've taken a simple, old T-shirt and turned it into a unique, upcycled fashion design. Not only are you reducing waste, but you're also creating a functional and stylish accessory. The next time you're out shopping, consider forgoing the plastic bags and use your own homemade tote bag instead. It's a small step towards sustainability and a big leap in upcycled fashion.

Turn Outdated Jeans into Stylish Shorts

Next, let's tackle that pile of old jeans. They might be outdated or worn out, but with a little bit of magic, they can become your new favorite pair of shorts. Let's transform those old denims into an upcycled fashion design masterpiece.

Materials Needed

  • A pair of old jeans
  • Scissors
  • A marker
  • A ruler


  1. Put on your old jeans and decide how short you want your shorts to be. Mark this spot with a marker.
  2. Next, remove the jeans and lay them out flat on a table. Using your ruler, draw a straight line across both legs at the marked spot.
  3. Then, cut across this line with your scissors. Be sure to cut both legs evenly.
  4. At this point, you have a basic pair of shorts. But why stop there? You can customize your shorts by adding patches, embroidery, or fraying the edges.

And just like that, you've transformed your old, worn-out jeans into a stylish pair of shorts. These are the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe and another great example of upcycled fashion design. Now, every time you put on these shorts, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you created them yourself. Plus, you've given a second life to something that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill. Now, that's what we call fashion-forward thinking!

Create Fun Patches from Unused Clothes

Moving on, we'll dive into the world of patches. Patches aren't just for covering holes in your clothes — they can be a striking design feature in their own right! Using unused clothes, you can create unique patches that add a fun, personal touch to your outfits.

Materials Needed

  • Unused clothes with interesting patterns or colors
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Paper and pencil

Creating Your Patches

  1. First, sketch the design you want for your patch on a piece of paper. It could be a simple shape like a heart or star, or something more complex like a cartoon character or logo.
  2. Next, cut out your design and place it over the part of the unused clothes that you want to use for the patch. Trace around the design with a pencil.
  3. Then, cut out the design from the clothes. Make sure to stay as close to your pencil lines as possible to keep the design intact.
  4. Finally, sew your patch onto the clothing item of your choice. You can place it anywhere you like — on the chest of a T-shirt, on the back of a jacket, or on the front of a pair of jeans.

Voila! You've just added a splash of personality to your clothing item with a patch you made yourself. This is what upcycled fashion design is all about — making the old new again and adding your unique touch. So, which of your clothes will you be giving a makeover next?

Make Scarves from Old Sweaters

Ever wondered what to do with those old sweaters in the back of your closet? Well, here's an idea: why not turn them into cozy, fashionable scarves? It's another great example of how upcycled fashion design can give new life to forgotten items of clothing.

Gather Your Materials

  • An old sweater
  • Scissors
  • A ruler or measuring tape
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread

Steps to Create Your Scarf

  1. Measure and Cut: Using your ruler or measuring tape, decide on the width and length of your scarf. As a guide, most scarves are around 10 inches wide and 60 inches long. Mark these measurements on your sweater and carefully cut along the lines.
  2. Sew the Edges: Once you've cut out your scarf, it's time to tidy up the edges. Using your sewing machine or needle and thread, sew a simple hem around all four sides of the scarf.

There you have it! A stylish scarf made from an old sweater. Not only have you created a unique accessory, but you've also engaged in sustainable fashion. Upcycled fashion design doesn't just look good — it feels good too. So, what's next on your upcycling agenda? An old pair of socks, perhaps?

Repurpose Old Socks into Cute Animals

Do you have a collection of single socks without a pair? Don't toss them; instead, transform them into adorable stuffed animals. This fun project is the perfect activity for a rainy day and a charming example of upcycled fashion design that the kids are sure to love too.

What You'll Need

  • A lonely sock
  • Scissors
  • Stuffing material (like cotton wool or fabric scraps)
  • Thread and needle
  • Fabric markers

Turning Socks into Stuffed Animals

  1. Choose Your Animal: The shape of your sock can help determine what kind of animal you can make. An ankle sock might be perfect for a cute bear, while a longer sock could become a slinky snake.
  2. Stuff Your Sock: Fill your sock with your chosen stuffing material. Make sure not to overstuff; your sock needs to maintain its shape.
  3. Sew and Decorate: Once stuffed, sew the opening of the sock closed. Now the fun part: use your fabric markers to create a face and other features for your creature. You could even cut out additional pieces from other socks to create ears, tails, or wings.

And voila! You've just turned an old sock into a delightful stuffed animal. Through this process, you're not just crafting a toy but also creating a unique piece of upcycled fashion design. Your journey into sustainable fashion doesn't have to stop here. Why not see what other treasures you can create from your wardrobe?

If you enjoyed learning about upcycling old clothes, you might be interested in exploring the world of digital fashion. Check out the workshop 'What is Digital Fashion?' by Beata Wilczek. This workshop will provide you with insights into the innovative and sustainable future of fashion, giving you even more ideas on how to repurpose and reinvent your wardrobe.