Upcycle Clothing: 25 Simple Ideas

simple upcycle clothing ideas for mamas, babies, and home

We have been working on getting our master closet in order – finally!  Last year, we had a custom closet system designed and installed that has made use of the space in amazing ways!  And now we have almost too much room for stuff.  Couple that with my constant need to purge our home of things we don’t need and/or use and I have a PILE of old clothes that we need to get rid of.  I have had some ideas of what to do with some of the unwanted clothing we have, but I wanted to start thinking about more ways to upcycle clothing in fun and useful ways.  So, I made a list.  And the list got longer and longer.  And now it is SO long, I think I am going to have to share it with you because I will never get around to all these projects!

Let me say from the outset that these upcycle projects are SUPER SIMPLE!  The reason for that is I am not a seamstress, I am not even, technically a crafter.  These projects have to be simple enough for a person without craft experience and know-how to feel comfortable trying.  And these projects are all made of things WE have lying around the house.   We consider ourselves kind of basic, so the materials used in these projects use just the basics. Without further ado, here’s the list of AWESOME UPCYCLE ideas for old clothes.

Upcycled Clothing Hats and Accessories

upcycled clothing - accessorieshats

Have a stretchy tank top, t-shirt, or even a dress?  Add a baby or a toddler to the mix and you can quickly whip up these adorable Baby Turbans.  I can see how this could get addicting.  I would say that it might be good to figure out a way to stitch it in place, so you don’t have to twist it every time you put it on.  And I could see these as perfect additions to a baby shower gift.

The little man in your life (or a big man, too!) would look so handsome in this amazing and versatile hat!  I love that it includes so many different patterned fabrics.  And the addition of some embellishments can make this super cute.  I am thinking adding some small patches would be super cute!

One more adorable project for the heads of those sweet little ones.  And this one is quite possibly the simplest one!  Check out this super cute pixie hat for baby!  Um…perfect for baby’s first photo shoot!  Right?

Looking for a bunch of really cool hair accessories but don’t want to spend the money?   Raid your supply of old, worn out t-shirts and get to making your own!  This tutorial has lots of neat options that aren’t intimidating to newbies like me.

I have had this t-shirt scarf on my Pinterest board almost since I joined Pinterest. You could have someone make one for you, or you could grab that collection of t-shirts you have that show your undying love for whatever sports team you fancy and get to making this adorable scarf.

I LOVE a scarf (my husband once told me that I look good in a scarf, so I wear them often).  And this one is so fab and so simple! I love the braided situation that gives it lots of character, but it doesn’t really look difficult to do!  Can’t you just see the possibilities with all your old t-shirts?  Even a floral one would be interesting!

Need something a little less cozy to drape around your neck?  How about these fun (and a little funky) t-shirt necklaces? I can see these being even more interesting by using a couple of different colored shirts to make a more unique necklace.

A little something to drape around the neck of your little ones, that serves a dual purpose – fashion and function.  How about these adorable and easy bandana bibs?

We don’t get a lot of use out of sweaters here in the desert of Southern California, but I still have a few hanging around here, for some reason.  I think I will pick a couple of them to use for projects.  I love this simple laptop bag made from a sweater!

If that simple sewing project is too much for you, but you have favorite old t-shirt lying around, try this NO SEW t-shirt tote bag.  Seriously this is SO easy and clever!


Upcycle Clothing into NEW Clothes

upcycled clothing - new clothing options from old clothes

I found this amazing (and silly) tutorial for making swants and thought you may enjoy the concept.  But honestly this project didn’t strike me as simple.  In fact, it was a little intimidating with the use of the word “baste.”  I mean I know how to do that in the kitchen, but have no idea how to do it in making clothes.

We have two seasons here in the desert – summer and not summer.  So I get more use out of tank tops than long-sleeved shirts, for sure.  This is an ultra-simple way to turn and old t-shirt (long sleeve or otherwise) into a tank top for summer.

Another way to stay cool (and stylish) out here in the heat would be to make one of these no-sew halter tops.  Typically, the words halter top do not go with my modest sensibilities, but this one looks really modest, too!

Sometimes I think it would be nice to speak a foreign language fluently.  Especially when I find a tutorial online for something awesome and that translate button is just not doing it for me.  That said, this is such an awesome upcycle idea for a chic summer dress with very clear pictures that it doesn’t matter that I don’t speak whatever Cyrillic language it is written in.

All I can think when I see the pictures in this tutorial is, “WOW.” So I am calling this t-shirt: WOW! I think you should be able to tell why as soon as you see it.  I mean, “Hello, date night!”  But can’t you just see it in a mini version for the sweet little girl in your life?

Speaking of those little grommets, how about this adorbs kids t-shirt dress?  I love how she made each of the t-shirts even more unique and interesting before she put together the dress.

So you might be thinking that there is no way you can make something work appropriate from the scraps of your closet.  Think again, sister! This super chic lined shirt made from a sweater (!) is perfect for long days at the office.

Want a cute skirt for days and weekends, but that tutorial was just too much work for you?  Check out this 8 second skirt.  I mean really!  It doesn’t get much simpler.  You could even slip this on before taking the kids to the school drop-off in the morning!  Way cuter than PJ pants, right?

If I take a look at my closet, I am reminded again and again that I prefer certain colors.  I prefer them so much that I purchase them frequently.  So my racks tend to look like an ombre collection.  Why not take the old ones and make an ombre maxi-dress.  Seriously!  You heard me!  I could even make a sleeveless one – you should see the amount of tanks in my closet right now – a little embarrassing!

Want that, “I just threw this on, but I look awesome” look?  You should snag one of your hubby’s old t-shirts and make this super sweet dolman top.  Hey, you could even pair it with your 8 second skirt or your swants.

Upcycle Clothing into Decor

upcycled clothing - home decor project ides from old clothing

As you get into these projects, you will find that many of them utilize t-shirt yarn.  You might wonder how best to make t-shirt yarn. I have found this tutorial the easiest one to use to get LONG strands of the “yarn” perfect for these type of projects.

If you get really good at creating these t-shirt yarn coasters, you may want to make sets for all your girlfriends.  I mean, who doesn’t need a coaster every once in a while?  And the store-bought ones are just not as cute!

I fancy that I could learn how to crochet really easily, if I ever had time to sit down and learn.  If you already know how to crochet, you are so ready for this crochet yarn bowl made from t-shirt yarn!  Yet another great gift for a friend!

The macrame situation is BACK! Check out this fun tutorial for making a macrame wall hanging using that t-shirt yarn you have lying around after finishing your coasters and your bowl.

I am kind of obsessed with the texture of this fun hula hoop t-shirt yarn rug! I mean, they made it using a hula hoop, that ups the fun factor forever!  This project requires that you learn how to finger knit with the t-shirt yarn.  I taught myself how to do this a little while back and let me say this, “If I can do it, you can, too!”  I am contemplating this project for a rug for our master closet when we finally get the flooring situation worked out.  Which would bring me full circle.  All the clothes were culled out of the closet and then transformed into something wonderful for the closet!


Do you have a ton of old clothing that could definitely benefit from the use that comes as a result of these upcycle ideas?  Which one are you going to try first?

simple upcycle clothing ideas for mamas, babies, and home


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