DIY: reuse old clothing

By Ashley Beam

The concept of “Do It Yourself” (or DIY) styling, sewing and reconstruction of clothing is quite reputable. It is a great money saver as well as a means of self-expression.  Destroying, shredding and adding splashes of color are all ways to edit pieces in order to represent your personality.


Over the last two years, I have developed a keen eye for fashion as well as the ability to find great clothing at thrift shops. The trick to a fashion forward wardrobe is to be nonchalant.  Due to the ideal “lazy,” and “casual,” style of today’s youth, maintaining an effortlessly cute look may seem unattainable.

My first tip targets those of you who cannot afford the standard Urban Outfitters or American Apparel price range. Imagine all the items in your closet that are waiting to be worn again. Sort through everything — newer items of clothing to one side, the old to the other. Now that the piles are organized, begin to look for forgotten t-shirts and/or tank tops. Once the articles of clothing are chosen, you are ready to begin reconstruction.

Reconstruction and DIY work starts with a pair of fabric scissors, a pen or marker and a ruler. Assess the garments for sizing purposes before getting ready to cut the sleeves and/or neck of the shirt. Trace a line at which you’d like the sleeves to be cut and with your fabric scissors, you can transform the shirt into a trendy muscle t-shirt.

As for bottoms, the not-so-secret trend of high-waist jean shorts and pants continues. With past experiences, I have found the best quality jean shorts at local thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and Savers (all common thrift stores of the surrounding Amherst area). Dig through the racks of jeans and jean shorts until a pair seems suitable for your body type. Once a pair is found, there are many options to choose from for DIY reconstruction. You may cut the cuff of the shorts to be shorter, then wash and dry them for a fringed look. You may bleach the legs of the shorts and “dip-dye” them white or you can continue a step further by making the dip-dye a different color using fabric dye. To avoid any confusion, I strongly suggest looking up tutorials on YouTube on how to dip-dye and/or cut clothing.

Combined, or set apart, the DIY trend is a way of turning vintage into chic, creating new looks from recycled clothes. Thrifting and reconstructing clothes is not only an attraction for fashionistas, it is also considered a massive money saver. By following the general ideas of the DIY styling method, the clothes you may have forgotten about are now revisited, thus multiplying your wardrobe. With the new-found tips and hints regarding DIY, don’t feel limited as there is no such thing with the DIY trend. It is meant to be an individualized reconstruction technique for your wardrobe. Let your creative instinct take over and have a blast.

Ashley Beam can be reached at [email protected]