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9 Basic Alterations You Can Do To Revamp Your Old Clothes

You don't even need a sewing machine.

I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that your closet is full of clothes that you haven't worn for at least a year.

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But instead of throwing them away or donating them to charity, why not get a little crafty with them? Even if you've never touched a sewing machine, there are a few easy things you can do to breathe life into your old clothes. And hey, even if you totally stuff it up it's no real loss if you weren't wearing it anyway.

1. Shorten the hems on dresses, skirts, or pants.

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It's an easy fix if you have a dress, skirt, or pants that just aren't the right length on you, or you want to update to suit ~current trends~ . If you can, get someone to help you pin it to the length you want. Then turn it inside out, measure to make sure it's equal and use a hot iron to press along the new fold. Then use a needle and thread (or a sewing machine) and follow around the new hem you've created. Here's a video that can take you through it step by step. (In fact, this whole video has some really great alteration basics in it to inspire you.)

2. Change buttons on clothes, or add more for decoration.

The easiest way to change up an old item of clothing is replacing the buttons. You can either go to a craft or button shop, or check out a thrift store in case you find anything you can switch buttons with. Make sure you use thick thread to make it super secure. Here's a super easy video on how to sew a button.
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The easiest way to change up an old item of clothing is replacing the buttons. You can either go to a craft or button shop, or check out a thrift store in case you find anything you can switch buttons with. Make sure you use thick thread to make it super secure. Here's a super easy video on how to sew a button.

3. Take in jeans that are too big for you.

It's the absolute worst when you have a pair of jeans you love, but they get too loose on you. It's relatively easy to make them a little tighter: it won't be a perfect fit but it's better than them falling down every two seconds. Just measure how much you want to take them in by, and divide that by two. Make two folds that exact length on the back of your jeans, above each pocket. Pin in a diagonal line down to the top of the pocket, flip inside out and sew. This creates a "dart". This video shows you how to do it neatly.
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It's the absolute worst when you have a pair of jeans you love, but they get too loose on you. It's relatively easy to make them a little tighter: it won't be a perfect fit but it's better than them falling down every two seconds. Just measure how much you want to take them in by, and divide that by two. Make two folds that exact length on the back of your jeans, above each pocket. Pin in a diagonal line down to the top of the pocket, flip inside out and sew. This creates a "dart". This video shows you how to do it neatly.

4. Add a slit to a maxi dress or skirt you don't wear.

This is the perfect way to revamp an old dress you're not a fan of anymore. Use a washable marker to trace where you want the slit to be, then lay it flat and use sewing scissors to cut as high as you'd like. Turn inside out and fold the fabric in about half a centimetre, twice. Pin and sew! If its a jersey or stretchy material skirt, you might not even have to sew a hemline. This video is a DIY for the whole skirt, but it'll show you how to hem your slit.

This is the perfect way to revamp an old dress you're not a fan of anymore. Use a washable marker to trace where you want the slit to be, then lay it flat and use sewing scissors to cut as high as you'd like. Turn inside out and fold the fabric in about half a centimetre, twice. Pin and sew! If its a jersey or stretchy material skirt, you might not even have to sew a hemline. This video is a DIY for the whole skirt, but it'll show you how to hem your slit.

5. Turn a crew-neck tee into a v-neck.

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If you've got an old t-shirt with a neckline that you're not a fan of, it's pretty easy to transform it into a V-neck. Just use a seam ripper to remove the front of the neckband, up to the shoulder seams. Fold the shirt in half lengthways, and measure NO MORE than 3cm down from the original neckline. Cut on a diagonal using really sharp scissors, then cut the neckband in half. Stretch out the two halves, pin back onto the shirt, and sew together.

6. Turn the bottom of a t-shirt into a headband.

If you've ever cut a normal t-shirt into a crop top, I'm sure you've just thrown out the random band of fabric that's left over, because what else could you do with it? Well, it's pretty easy to turn that into a material headband. Cut off the hem and neaten the edges. Lay the band of fabric on the floor, make it into an "8" shape, then fold it over and in on itself to become a headband. Sounds confusing but this video makes it look hella easy. And if you want a more intricate design that also uses the sleeves of a shirt, this video will show you how.
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If you've ever cut a normal t-shirt into a crop top, I'm sure you've just thrown out the random band of fabric that's left over, because what else could you do with it? Well, it's pretty easy to turn that into a material headband. Cut off the hem and neaten the edges. Lay the band of fabric on the floor, make it into an "8" shape, then fold it over and in on itself to become a headband. Sounds confusing but this video makes it look hella easy. And if you want a more intricate design that also uses the sleeves of a shirt, this video will show you how.

7. Turn a t-shirt into a strappy singlet.

This involves cutting off the bottom band of the tshirt, then cutting off the top part and the sleeves. Cut the fabric from the bottom into straps, which you can sew to the top (or use fabric glue). This video lays out the steps in order.

8. Or cut a t-shirt into an off-the-shoulder top.

If you hate the neckline of a shirt but don't want to let it go, you can lop it off and turn it into a cute off-the-shoulder crop. Just cut off the bottom to the length you want it, and cut off the top part just underneath the sleeves. Add two seams along the side if you want it tighter, and use the excess fabric to make sleeves, which you can attach by sewing to the main body. This video lays it all out really easily.
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If you hate the neckline of a shirt but don't want to let it go, you can lop it off and turn it into a cute off-the-shoulder crop. Just cut off the bottom to the length you want it, and cut off the top part just underneath the sleeves. Add two seams along the side if you want it tighter, and use the excess fabric to make sleeves, which you can attach by sewing to the main body. This video lays it all out really easily.

9. Add a zipper to a plain shirt you're bored of.

This one is so easy I don't know how I didn't think of it before. It'll work best on a turtleneck to get that ~zipper~ effect. Get a cute-looking zipper from a craft store, then cut a line down the middle of your shirt the same length. Use fabric glue to stick the zipper on, and voila! Here's a video to follow along.
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This one is so easy I don't know how I didn't think of it before. It'll work best on a turtleneck to get that ~zipper~ effect. Get a cute-looking zipper from a craft store, then cut a line down the middle of your shirt the same length. Use fabric glue to stick the zipper on, and voila! Here's a video to follow along.

It's As/Is week at BuzzFeed Oz! We're focusing on Aussie style and beauty posts for a whole week, click here to check out more.
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It's As/Is week at BuzzFeed Oz! We're focusing on Aussie style and beauty posts for a whole week, click here to check out more.

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