DIY ways to customize your clothing

DIY ways to customize your clothing

Williamsport Sun-Gazette | January 16, 2015


Sun-Gazette Correspondent

Do you have old clothing that’s still in good shape, but that just isn’t the style you want it to be or doesn’t fit you quite right? Do you feel like you can never find clothes in stores that you like?

Most people look at a piece of clothing as a finished product: someone designed it, someone else manufactured it, and now you’re buying and wearing it.

But this mindset is a limitation that, if overcome, can make a huge difference in both your wardrobe and your budget.

If you start looking at clothes not as they are, but as what they COULD BE, you’ll soon realize there are all sorts of ways to adapt them to your preferences.

Clothes are really a resource, and most importantly, a material. With the right know-how, supplies, and imagination, you’ll never have to settle for clothes that are not quite what you want again.

Some methods are more complicated and require more skill than others, but don’t be afraid to start small and learn more as you go along.



One of the most obvious ways to alter an article of clothing is with a needle and thread, regardless of whether you’re using your hands or a sewing machine.

Learning to sew requires time and patience, but if you get the hang of it, you can do almost anything to your clothes–and you can even market this skill to others.

To start with something simple, you could learn to hem, which allows you to shorten your pants or a skirt to the length you want them. Another basic sewing skill to learn is how to take in or let out garments–this will make them fit you like a glove.

From there, you can try all sorts of other projects. The more you learn, the more you can add details to clothes, change the fit, and even combine fabrics to make new pieces!



This one is simpler, but produces slightly rougher results than sewing. Sometimes, the problem with a piece of clothing can be easily solved with nothing more than a pair of scissors.

For example, T-shirts that you like but don’t like the fit can be cut into tanktops. crop tops, or all sorts of different styles, transforming them into totally different looks.

Pinterest is crawling with tutorials, and Buzzfeed even posted an article of 31 T-Shirt DIYs, loaded with tutorials that can change your old shirts or a plain thrift store find into stylish, custom-made tops

Apart from that, before getting rid of old jeans, always take a moment to consider whether or not they’d make good shorts. Cutoffs are very easy to make!

And remember, necklines are always negotiable–if you prefer scoopnecks. v-necks or off-the-shoulder necklines, go ahead and cut your shirts to your tastes.If you sew, you can finish the edges or just leave them rough.



Maybe the problem with a piece of clothing isn’t the cut or the fit–maybe it’s the color you’d really like to change.

Well, if you have some light-colored clothing, a big pot that you don’t use, and a sense of bravery, you can dye clothing right in your kitchen!

There’s a great tutorial on RookieMag that gives step-by-step instructions for using RIT Dye to color your clothes at home with minimum mess and maximum success:

You’ve probably seen RIT Dye in a store somewhere. It’s cheap, easy to find, and comes in a wide variety of colors. It’s also fairly easy to use to dye most things you can think of.

In a few hours, you can turn clothing and accessories from drab neutral colors into bright, custom-selected shades.


With a little practice, you’ll be able to transform any piece of clothing into the color, cut, and style you want. You can save money, and have fun in the process.


Original publication (click to view larger)

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