DIY: Upcycled Kids’ Clothes

Kids outgrow their clothes faster than you can keep up with. But rather than stocking up on brand-new outfits that they'll grow out of in a few months, why not upcycle? Here are our top ten tips and tutorials to help you repurpose and renew.

Autor*in Anna Rees, 01.24.13

1. Sew an upcycled striped T-shirt dress

A beautifully simple idea with great results, this upcycled striped dress project comes from  I am momma hear me roar. Click the link to find a step-by-step tutorial. All you need is T-shirts of assorted colors, fabric paints, markers and a sewing machine.

2. Make a dress from a man’s shirt

This DIY project was just way too cool to not be shared. While you have to have some sewing skills to take up this project, if you’ve got the time and patience you’re sure to be pleased with the results. Want a smart way of turning your a man’s workshirt into a beautiful dress for your little girl?

Check out the details and instructions on

3. Get your kids to paint their own fabric – then turn it into a skirt or shorts!

Do you have any plain white cloth lying around? Don’t cut it up into rags. Instead, grab some markers and fabric paints, and ask the kids to have some fun doodling. Once it’s done, hang it out to dry and then sew it up into skirts, dresses or shorts. They’ll love wearing their own creations. Check out the project right here.

4. Use felt appliques to upcycle drab clothes

Buy some vibrant colored felt, use some cute patterns, and add some instant oomph to those old clothes that haven’t the light of day for weeks! If you’ve never made appliques before, this link will help.

5. Turn a bunch of fabric scraps into patchwork shorts

Have a bunch of fabric scraps lying around from your last sewing project? Then gather them up, add a sewing machine and a whole lot of patience and love, and you’ll soon have a super cute new pair of shorts. Quite a lot of sewing skill is needed for this project, but you can find a detailed how-to here.

6. Quickly whip up a no-sew bandana dress

And if you’re like me and aren’t too great at sewing, grab yourself two vibrant bandanas, and you can still whip this beautiful pillowcase dress in an instant. Find out how here

7. Make a child’s skirt from a T-shirt

Possibly one of the cutest sewing projects out there: you need is a knit T-shirt, elastic and your trusted sewing machine. Follow the steps here on how to make your own elastic skirt with matching bow.

8. Make a dress from a man’s shirt (Part 2)

Yet another way to make use of old men’s shirts – make more dresses! A new pattern this time, with an elasticated waistband. Check out the project here.

9. Create a tote bag from a T-shirt

If you try to avoid using plastic bags for shopping, why not try this very cool idea of making fun shopping totes from knit T-shirts? Make sure you use a heavy weight knit for this. (You don’t want a stretched out bag after the first use!)

Theres a detailed instruction PDF on instructables. Find it right here.

10. Turn an adult sweater into a kid’s sweater dress

Winter’s coming, but why shell out for a new set of pullovers? Repurpose one of your old sweaters, turning into into a wonderful sweater dress. Add some applique or a brooch for extra style points. Find out how on makeit-love-it.

So get crafty, start a new project today, and upcycle your way to a fresh new look.

Author: Poonam for Mommygyan, A Parenting Blog in India. Reposted with permission.

Animal Leather Minus the Animal

Animal lovers, vegetarians, vegans, environmentalists: take a look. This company has just received an investment injection to commercialise their animal-free animal leather. Yes, animal-leather without the need of the animal – how's that possible? And could this mean a more humane and less resource-intensive animal breeding industry? Read on.

From Soiled Nappies to Just Plain Soil

Used baby nappies. Anyone dealing with them most likely just wants to get rid of them – the sooner the better. What a waste! What if the piles garbage each baby creates per year could be turned into 1000 kilograms of healthy soil instead? The team behind the Dycle project is looking to make this a reality.

Voilà! And Fruit Becomes a Bag

Using ancient culinary traditions as their inspiration and with the issue of food waste firmly on their minds, a group of design students from Rotterdam is working on a leather product made using fruit waste.

All Give, No Take: Ethical Gift Ideas

Still haven't found that perfect present? Don't want to buy something that will just end up gathering dust? Here's our pick of the best ethical, eco-friendly and meaningful gifts around.

Find Sustainable Fashion Brands: Eco and Organic Clothing in India

As consumers, our purchasing power is strong. The more money that is spent on clothing that has been sustainably produced, the more the fashion industry will be forced to shift its production practices. The question remains, where can you find these alternatives?

Give Old Clothes New Life

In many parts of the world, second-hand or “vintage“ clothing is a style unto itself. Besides the fashion factor, recycling unwanted clothes has obvious benefits for the environment and there are a wide variety  of uses for secondhand garments.