I got an email from a reader the other day with a question about how to get in to refashioning. She is a student and a new mom, so clothing money is tight, and her closet is feeling really boring and outdated. Now, I don’t pretend to know much about refashioning — I’ve done a grand total of maybe twenty refashions ever. But it was a good question and got me thinking.
How do you get into refashioning? How do you make things look professional and not homemade? How do you get the creative juices flowing?
Here are a few of the ideas I thought of and shared with her:
1. Learn to use your sewing machine. This is huge for me. Your clothing
will most likely look homemade if you are just tying knots, or gluing things on.
You only need to know the basics of sewing for most refashion projects,
but doing real seams will make a world of difference in making your clothing look professional.
2. Utilize Pinterest. There are so many amazing ideas on there,
but not just DIY projects. Most of the things I make or refashion come
from outfits I see models or other bloggers wearing. An idea is usually sparked when I see
a model wearing a shirt with a similar color or pattern to a shirt I
already own, and from there I can figure out how to manipulate my shirt to look like the models’.
3. Make a “repair box” and then go through your closet and put everything in there that you don’t wear. Going through your closet one piece at a time lets you know what you have to work with when refashioning. Then when you see a refashioning idea, you know exactly what you own and how you can use it to make a piece you love. Also, work on each piece in the repair box one at a time. Seeing each item individually can
help the task seem easier. Attacking your whole closet at once will get
overwhelming really fast. Some of my clothes have only needed a simple seam
for me to love them again (baggy sleeves are a big one for me…I’ve
taken in so many sleeves and suddenly the cardigan or shirt fits me like
a dream and makes me love it again).
4. Clean out your closet. I have a strict policy that I don’t keep
anything in my closet that I don’t like and won’t wear. I either get rid
of it or put it in the repair box. Having a big closet full of clothes
that I don’t like makes me unhappy. Who cares if you have a lot of clothes in your closet if you hate them all? It’s okay if your closet is small if
you love and will wear every single item in there.
5. Don’t be limited to your closet only. Utilize your husband’s (or boyfriend, or brother) old clothes, if he’s going to get rid of them. I did that with my polo refashion,
and it’s now one of my favorite tops. Also, there may be lots of potential in cheap thrifted items — taking in the sides or hemming the bottom can often make an awful piece into an amazing piece.
6. Accept the fact that some clothes are not fixable. I’ve sent
plenty of shirts to Goodwill, or thrown them away, because there is
nothing I can do with them (after I’ve tried). Don’t hang on to it forever, hoping that it will somehow get new life, or it will become a thorn in your side or a wet blanket for your creativity. Sometimes you just have to throw things away. It’s okay.
7. Learn how to layer. Pinterest is another great guide for this, as
are fashion blogs. Style is about putting pieces together in interesting
and creative ways. If you learn how to mix pieces, you have endless
outfit possibilities, even if you’re using the same pieces over and
over. Use belts, scarves, cardigans, and tights to mix and match your
clothing, and make it feel new and fresh. I’ve had some of the same
pieces in my closet for years that I’ve always worn the same way, and suddenly when I layer them together, new interesting
outfits are born.
8. Re-purpose. Put a shirt on over a dress, and turn that dress into a
skirt for a day. Or the opposite — put a skirt on over the dress and
turn it into a top. Use a thin scarf as a belt, or a headwrap. Wrap long
necklaces around your wrist to create the look of several bracelets.
When you start thinking outside of the box, style and creativity start
9. If you can, buy something new every once in a while. Having a new piece in your wardrobe can spark new ideas,
make a bunch of new outfits, and make you feel like your closet is staying current.
Okay, fellow bloggers, what else can you add to this list? Help me make this a nice even 10, cause that’s driving me crazy.