So…you know how you have clothes that have mysterious shrunk in the washer?

Oh, just me?

Well, you could give them to charity (always a good idea) or save money on buying clothes for your  youngster and change them up (also a good idea)!

There are a few different ways you can approach upcycling garments. You can either use it as straight “fabric” where you aren’t using any existing seams or finishing or you can try to use some of the existing garment.

This is tutorial is for using the existing garments finished seams.

First of all you need to figure out what seams you are going to keep, and if they will fit your child. My girl is 8, so the necklines usually will work for her. I can also use sleeves if they aren’t too roomy, as well. Using the ends of the sleeves (from the wrist up) works because I cut the arm pattern before it gets too wide at the adult top near the shoulder.

In upcycling pants, I usually keep the outer seams, but if there is a fly zipper you can utilize that, too.

Here are two articles of clothes that don’t really fit me.  The dress is too big and the pants are too short, so I decided to combine them into a comfy outfit for the girl child.


Now, this doesn’t necessarily save a ton of time, but sometimes it does.  I did utilize the neckline and shoulder seams of the top.  That time saving was soaked up by picking out the waistline of the pants so I could reuse the ribbing.

Win some, lose some!


First off, I cut the side seams of the top and laid out my pattern.  I didn’t take into account the seam allowance on the shoulders when cutting that out, since I intended to use those already sewn.  Next I cut out my arm pieces.  As this was a short-sleeved dress I didn’t have enough room to cut a full sleeve.  I had to patch them up, but I used the rolled hem as the edging on the sleeve.




Now, I had to fix up the neck line, so it would not be gaping.  I sewed it up to where she could still get it over her head.  Then, I changed out the plain buttons to ones that had more “personality”.


Lastly, another rhinestone appliqué.



On this one, I kept the side seams and cut the inside seam.  Then I cut it off the waist, but saving the

ribbing from getting cut.  Later, I picked off the knit from the ribbing.



I laid the pieces out and cut them out.  Next, I sewed up the crotch seam and then the inseam.  Once I had the ribbing free of the knit (lots of seam ripper usage), I cut it in the back to a length that would fit her.  I sewed that back up and then inserted elastic in that would fit her waist.  Lastly, I attached the waist to the bottom.  My serger was not happy, but we got through it.  Barely.

The finishing touch is the horseshoes, of course.20130824-DSC_0007


All done and quite cute!



Now I need to get the girl to try on a bunch of other clothes that I made for her.  It gets harder and harder to try to get her to “model” for me.  I’m not asking much right??

One of the other outfits I made for her is another upcycle.  I used a silk sweater vest to make into part of a shirt.  Now I need to dig through my bin of “upcycles to be” to find more to do!