Ten Thrifty Tips for Refashioning!

Posted on Updated on

As the new year is soon upon us, and I am continuing to keep to my promise to thrift as much of my clothing as possible and refashion where required I thought I would include some thrifty refashioning tips.


  1. Have a good basic sewing machine.  You don’t necessarily need a serger or a fancy machine to do refashioning.  Just a machine that does straight stitch and zigzag.  A buttonhole option is nice if you need it, but I never have.  I avoid doing button holes when ever possible, they are my nemesis right along with zippers.imageimage
  2. Keep a selection of many colours of thread.  You can even buy thread at thrift stores.  Having an assortment of bobbins filled with the threads already to go is hugely helpful for lightening fast refashions.image
  3. Keep a selection of a variety of gauges of sewing machine needles for lighter and more delicate fabrics as well as tougher ones like denim and leather.                                                              image
  4. Have an assortment of widths and weights of elastic as many refashions I have done has involved either replacing old tired elastics or putting elastic in to gather the waist a bit.image
  5. Keep your off cuts from refashions.  I have used pieces from one refashion to add strips at the shoulders of a dress to lengthen the bodice or widen the arm holes in slightly too small pieces.  Also I have added a strip of fabric inserted into a skirt to lengthen it, added pockets when none were there originally.  A stash of scrap fabric is an invaluable resource.                                        image
  6. Buy clothing pieces for the fabric not just the cut of the piece.  Shirts, skirts and dresses can be taken apart and the fabric used for other purposes.  I have a stash of thrifted clothes for just this purpose.
  7. Organize your fabric scrap stash and untouched clothing stash into separate piles where you can easily see and access it so when the mood hits to refashion, you will be ready to go. I have a dresser in my sewing room and a drawer is designated for each.                                             image
  8. Save all the buttons and even the strips off of shirts that have the button holes from your refashioning projects.  I have used these button hole strips on refashions before to great success.image
  9. Do not fear your refashion stash.  Some refashioners fear that pile, bin or drawer full of thrifted items which are in a holding pattern until inspiration strikes or time becomes available.  Think of this stash as more of a treasure trove of rediscoverable items you have forgotten you thrifted.
  10. Have fun with it.  The things you are starting with are thrifted; and if you were lucky; weren’t too expensive.  So if the refashion goes wrong for you, all is not lost.  Sometimes you can rework it to make it work, or you can donate it back.  If it is an expensive item, or rare or vintage and you are afraid your skills aren’t up to the task, find a great seamstress who can tackle your idea of how it should be for you.  Just be open to the idea that things may not go as planned, accept it, and then be totally stoked when they do turn out.  Cheers, Michele