DIY Fashion

Creatively complement your individuality by learning techniques of DIY fashion, or do-it-yourself fashion. You do not need to be a fashion expert to learn how to recycle old or used clothing into something dynamic and totally different to wear.

Adding sequins, embroidery, decorative buttons, fabric paint designs, iron-on patches and fringe, are all methods you can use that do not require an expert artistic ability.

Learning how to do alterations is not a difficult sewing technique either, and requires some basic supplies that can turn a shirt into a skirt or an old sweater into a vest. Some items you should have ready to use when creating a DIY fashion project include:

  • Scissors--sharp fabric scissors that are eight to ten inches long and smaller scissors for thread cutting
  • Pinking shears--these scissors have those zigzag blades that prevent fabric from fraying or unraveling
  • Safety pins--have small and large safety pins available to mark where adjustments need to be made
  • Seam rippers--these quickly rip fabric and facilitate making alterations
  • Sewing machine
  • Plastic see-through ruler
  • Tailor or sewing chalk
  • Straight pins with heads
  • Thimbles and needles
  • Iron and ironing board

How to Refashion Sweaters

Like most people, you probably have a sweater or two hanging in the closet that you don’t wear, because it just does not fit right. It is either too bulky, stretched out or creates bulges where none exist. However, using DIY fashion techniques, you can turn this unflattering sweater into something pretty and wearable.

Begin refashioning a sweater by turning it inside out and putting it on while standing in front of a mirror. Take in the extra material at the sides and pin it to show how much extra material you want to remove. Mark all other spots where you want the sweater to fit your body in a more streamlined manner and pin those areas as well. When you are finished, take off the sweater, lay it on a flat surface and iron if necessary. For accuracy, it needs to be perfectly flat to baste those areas of extra material you marked.

After basting, put the sweater on once again and look at yourself in the mirror. If you do not like something, change it by unbasting and re-pinning that spot. Once you are happy with the sweater, begin sewing the basted stitches on your sewing machine. Now you can begin another aspect of this DIY fashion project, creating a new and different neckline.

Begin by measuring how low you want your neckline to reach. Make sure you are wearing the sweater when you do this. Otherwise, the result may be something you can only wear to bed! Take off the sweater and lay it flat again, this time measuring to make sure that pins equally distant from the two seams at the side of the sweater. Remember to measure to ensure that the right side matches the left and use pins to mark the shoulder seam.

Baste this refashioned neckline and then put the sweater on to check the measurements. If you like what you see, you can begin cutting the neckline. Since you do not want it to stretch or unravel, use your sewing machine to reinforce the basting stitches by sewing a straight stitch line.

Afterward, use a "zigzag" stitch to sew next to basting stitches, which will prevent the neckline from stretching out of shape. The last step involves cutting out the neckline about 1/10 of an inch away from where you stitched the line.

DIY fashion approaches allows you to refashion sweaters by adding lace, decorative trim or other decoration around the neckline, cuffs or hem of the sweater. Iron-on patches and embroidering your initials or full name on the front of the sweater adds personality as well.

Repurposing T-shirts

Learning about T-shirt refashion techniques is a great way to refurbish those worn-out t-shirts you love but can't wear anymore because they are too thin, too small or too big. Make old t-shirts into a variety of items, such as:

  • Pillowcases
  • Art (cut out the front design and stretch it over a canvas)
  • Quilt crafting
  • Throw rugs
  • Doggie shirts
  • Cloth napkins
  • Tote bags

With a little ingenuity and the right equipment, DIY fashion techniques can give your whole wardrobe a much-needed fashion emergency face-lift.

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