4 Books to Help You Refashion and Upcycle Your Wardrobe

Bored with your wardrobe and don’t want to spend a lot of money on new clothes? It may be time to work on your sewing skills and transform your old clothes into something new.

I’m looking at this because my oldest daughter wants to learn to sew anyhow, and old clothes seem like a good place to start. I have a gorgeous old Bernina sewing machine and some basic sewing skills, so we’re ready to start.

Keep in mind that you won’t like every project suggested in these books. They may not be your style, but you can still pick up ideas and techniques.

Sweater Surgery: How to Make New Things with Old Sweaters
Got old sweaters? Find out how to make them into something new that you’ll be happy to wear. The book includes 15 free patterns to get you started. Some readers find the projects a bit challenging, so you may prefer to go with projects geared more toward beginners.

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials
This one isn’t entirely about refashioning – many projects suggest buying new fabrics to go with the what you already have. But it has some great ideas for projects you can do with old clothes too.

What’s really great is that the book discusses how to handle the fabrics and has information about eco-innovators. It’s not just a craft book, it’s something to read when you have a little time on your hands.

Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More
This book is a great help if you want to learn how to make patters to fit you. It gives you an introduction into how to measure, cut and assemble pattern pieces. She also gives a lot of ideas so you can customize each outfit to your own style.

The one weak point is that some patterns in the book require a lot of fabric, so you may not be able to create them by refashioning older clothes. If you would prefer to do work that is more refashioning than cutting used clothes into flat pieces to start nearly fresh with them, it may not be the book for you.

ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs
Want to learn how to take those thrift store finds that weren’t quite right for you and make them work? This could be the book for you. It proves nicely detailed instructions, including what you need to find for each project.