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Transform Your Old Clothes Into a Brand New Wardrobe With These DIYs

Fall is here and that means cozy sweaters and everything denim. As college students, we’re all on a budget, so keeping up with the latest trends can cost big bucks! Try out these three tricks to transform your old pieces into an updated wardrobe so you’re warm and trendy this season.

1. Denim Jacket

Denim jackets are huge right now, but some can cost up to $200! I checked out a local thrift store and found a men’s large denim shirt for under $10 and thought it would be perfect as a cute oversized jacket. I added rips, bows, and iron-on patches to give this jacket a custom look. Everything is optional, so customize it to your liking! Here’s what I used:

  • Iron on stars and American flag

  • Black ribbon

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

Step 1: Tie in bows

Cut two vertical slits side-by-side on the back of each sleeve about two inches apart. Next, feed the black ribbon through the two slits, tie into a bow and you’re done!

Step 2: Iron on your patches

I used iron-on stars and an American flag (seen in the picture above) to give a unique and personalized feel to the jacket. You can find them at a local craft store, usually for under $3 a piece. Peel the patches off the backing, place them on your jacket wherever you’d like, and iron for about 20 seconds. I placed a star on the front pocket, one near the collar, and the flag on the back of my neck. So cute!

Step 3: Add some rips

I cut the bottom of my jacket since I thought it was a little too long. A trick to getting an even line is to use a ruler and white crayon. Cut to a length of your choosing!

To give the jacket a more worn feel, add some rips! Cut two horizontal strips, one above the other. Depending on how big you want the rip to be is how far apart you should cut the lines. Begin pulling out the blue strings with tweezers. Add as many or as little rips as you want and your jacket is complete!

2. Elbow-patch Sweater

The next clothing item I upcycled was an old sweater. (It had holes in both elbows, so you can probably tell how old it really is). To fix this holey situation, I added elbow patches using a piece of faux leather. Sew if you have the ability, and if not, fabric glue works just the same! Here’s what I used:

  • Sweater

  • Faux leather

  • Thread and needle or fabric glue

Step 1: Cut out your patches

Using a piece of fabric — I used faux leather, which cost under $5 at a craft store — cut out two ovals. My ovals were three inches by five inches. Next, using fabric glue or a thread and needle, attach the ovals to the elbows of the sweater. Your sweater is now unique and looks brand new!

3. Ripped Jeans

Jeans with the pockets cut out are all over Instagram, and I thought this would be so much cheaper to do on my own with an old pair of jeans. Let me tell you, it was SO EASY!

Here’s what you need:

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers

Step 1: Make some cut-outs 

Cut out the section of the jeans right above the pocket. (You can keep the actual pockets — they’re still usable).

Step 2: Add your rips

Just like how we did on the denim jacket, the rips on the jeans are the same idea. The only difference is I cut a third slit since this rip was longer to make it easier to pull the strings out. Create as many rips as you want, and your new distressed jeans are ready to wear!

Images courtesy of the author.

Madison Bethune

U Mass Amherst '21

Madison is a sophomore at Umass Amherst majoring in Nutrition and Journalism. Some of her interests include health and wellness, art and photography, and she loves going to the beach and spending time with friends. Feel free to follow her Instagram @maddybethune_
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