Revamp your Wardrobe by Upcycling Secondhand Clothing


Vintage volunteer, Alice Langridge's advice for all your crafty folk...

'The past couple of months have definitely seen a surge in creativity. We have all witnessed our peers and loved ones looking for new hobbies and ways to get creative. It’s been fascinating seeing the continuous stream of videos and social media posts of people upcycling their clothing - and it is definitely giving a lot of us wardrobe envy!

 'Upcycling is a phenomenon that is paving the way for sustainable and slow fashion. Upcycling is the reusing of old materials (such as torn or stained items) and giving it a new lease of life by creating an entirely new and higher quality product.

 'Upcycling is so important in today’s global climate and to counteract the environmental ills of fast fashion. As repairing, reusing, and recycling reduces the amount of clothes that ends up in landfill, and uses resources that are already available rather than making them from scratch.

 'The possibilities are endless with upcycling - you’ll be surprised by the great creations you can make from old items of clothing in your wardrobe, as well as secondhand clothing!

'Now is definitely the best time to give your wardrobe a well needed revamp. Most of us have already given our wardrobe a good sort out during the first lockdown.

'So, if you are struggling to find inspiration, or don’t have the prints or fabric you are looking for you can browse for secondhand clothing online or pop into your local charity shop (when it is safe to do so). You’ll be amazed by all the great budget-friendly clothing you will find!


'One piece of advice before purchasing any secondhand clothing is to search Pinterest for ideas of how you can upcycle clothing and what items to look for to achieve your goal. You can also specifically search for upcycling ideas that don’t involve a sewing machine. Pinterest is great for making your own boards, so you can see all your desired looks in one place. Make sure you browse all sections whilst shopping - you’ll be surprised by the great pieces of clothing you can make from men’s shirts. They can make a range of fashionable upcycled looks such as an overall dress, blouses, a rouen dresses, a paper bag waist skirt - and much, much more!

'There can be the perception that secondhand clothing is full of ‘outdated’ clothing, well that’s where you have the creative license to refashion pieces into something you will love.

'You don’t have to make drastic alterations to give clothing a new look and make it work for you. Making minor tweaks such as altering the length of a dress/top, or cutting jeans to make a pair of shorts are easy ways to create an entirely new outfit.

'Whilst upcycling is a great trend - it is important that it is used as a way to reduce waste and make the most out of the material available. Don’t discard any leftover material - you can use this to create great accessories to supplement your sustainable creations. Try making reusable cotton face pads, hair scrunchies, or even a COVID-friendly face mask.

 'Amazing ‘Upcyclers’ for Creative Inspiration

 If you want to join in and start upcycling your clothing, but don’t know where to even start, below is a list of some great upcyclers:

  • Soonjoo is a fashion designer and her site is full of amazing upcycling ideas for beginners, as well as more advanced designs - she also has a great section for what you can do with leftover scraps of material.
  • Jess Dang has an array of clearly laid out upcycling tutorials on her Pinterest, so you can easily explore and see what you would like to recreate for yourself.
  • The Essentials Club is a great website for DIY upcycling ideas and other sustainable tips. You can also check out their YouTube channel for further DIY inspiration and easy-to-follow tutorials.
  • Matildah is a fashion wizard and her YouTube channel is filled with great DIY tips with a huge range of tutorials which will definitely help you in achieving a full revamped wardrobe!
  • Sarah's a local who loves making her own clothing with “unloved clothes & thrifted fabrics” - check out her Instagram to see her amazing designs!
  • Hannah Elliman is an avid charity shopper and slow fashion advocate - her Instagram is filled with an amazing range of charity shop transformations.

Time to Upcycle!

'If you want to stand out from the crowd with a unique and revamped wardrobe, join the slow fashion movement and start upcycling your clothes. Charity shops are a great and inexpensive place to purchase clothing, so you can begin your upcycling journey.

'If you have upcycled anything you have purchased from Dorothy House we’d love to see your creations - tag us on our social media channels and add the hashtag #UpcycledWithDorothyHouse. We can’t wait to see the one-of-a-kind pieces you have created!'

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