10 Ways to Make Your Old Clothes New Again

Real Style on 01.05.12

It is January, the ultimate time to clean out your closet. Whoa, hold the trash can! Some of those outdated clothes might have the potential to be part of your favorite outfit! Check out these simple ways you can extend the life of your clothes and introduce some new apparel into your wardrobe.


1. Embellish Your Cardigans

white cardigan refashioned with black belt and wool roses
Photo: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

Grab that old sweater and pay attention! Kathleen, who writes the Grosgrain Fabulous blog, is the queen of updating clothing. She loves to scour thrift stores and give new life to sad tired clothing. After reading her Embellish Knit Month series, I learned enough to give some of my own sweaters a new lease on life

Pink Cardigan with Ruffles
Photo: Target/Mossimo and Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl


2. Re-Size Baggy Sweaters

Pinning and resizing a boxy striped sweaterPhoto: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

Grosgrain Fabulous also has a fantastic tutorial for re-sizing sweaters. I have already re-sized quite a few of my boxy sweaters to a more fitting (and flattering) size. Resizing is as simple as this: turn your sweater inside out; put it on; pin the excess; take it off; sew along the pins. 


3. Anthro-Style Your Shirt

white ruffled t-shirt on woman
Photo: Tater Tots and Jello

Jen from Tater Tots and Jello is the master magician when it comes to refashioning clothing. She took a plain white t-shirt and a dollar store towel, waved her magic wand and came up with this fabulous Anthropologie style ruffled shirt! Okay, so it wasn't really magic -- lucky for us, because you can read her tutorial to make your own ruffled shirt here.


4. Refashion Winter Coats

long wool overcoat refashioned with rufflesPhoto: Tater Tots and Jello

Tatertots and Jello also has a fabulous post on 14 Easy Ways to Refashion Winter coats -- the simple changes include adding ribbon, replacing the buttons, changing the length of the sleeves, and creating a colorful collar.


5. Renew Old Jeans

faded blue jeans dyed dark bluePhoto: Centsational Girl

We all have our favorite pair of jeans. You know — the ones that are too faded to be worn beyond the boundaries of your yard? Kate from Centsational Girl used RIT dye to renew her favorite pair. I followed her directions and took two pairs of my jeans to give them new life in a bucket of RIT dye! A good color combination is to use 2 parts Navy RIT dye to 1 part Black RIT dye.


6. Give Scarves New Color

Woman with black shirt and blue ombré scarf
Photo: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

How about your accessories? Do you have a scarf that is sort of blah, blah boring? Why not update it with an ombré dye technique? Ombré is the hottest trend in fashion right now. The gradation of colors on fabric can easily be achieved on clothing. This solid blue scarf never saw the light outside of my closet. I dunked it in a bucket of Teal RIT dye and now I have a beautiful ombré scarf that rarely sees much time in my closet because I wear it all the time!


7. Pizzazz for a Purse

orange and yellow flowers pinned to a brown wool pursePhoto: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

What girl doesn't want a new purse for every season? I gave this brown wool purse some fall pizzazz by adding a few hot glued fabric rosettes. No sewing required, simply roll a strip of fabric and hot glue it. Add a safety pin to the back and pin it to your purse or bag. You can change out the flowers depending on the season or the outfit you are wearing.

8. Revamp Shoes

pink shoes refashioned with blue fabric
Photo: Oops, I Craft My Pants

Did you know you could refashion shoes? Yup, they can handle some revamping too! Some simple mod podge and fabric was all it took for Oops, I Craft My Pants to turn these hideous pink shoes into adorably fashionable flats.


9. Miracle Stain Remover

powders and liquids being poured into water basin
Photo: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

What to do with your favorite shirt that "Eek" got a stain on it? It never fails, when I have a brand new shirt my first bite ends up landing on it and leaving a stain. Grrr! I also have two boys that tend to dribble all kinds of foods (mostly berries) on their shirts. (They come by it naturally from their mama.) Instead of throwing away a stained shirt, try this miracle stain remover recipe I learned from some laundry experienced moms!


10. Painting Clothes

woman with paint splattered shirt and torn jeansPhoto: Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl

And if you find some clothes that are beyond help — well, just delegate them to painting clothes.

Have fun updating your wardrobe and saving some dough in 2012!

Some other fashion tips you might enjoy:
10 simple style resolutions that will change your life
Stay skinny this holiday season (skinny jeans, that is)
12 celebrity mom styles you can copy at home