Make-do-and-mend has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years. Fast throw-away fashion made the original make-do-and-mend culture virtually obsolete. Why get the sewing machine out to fix a hem when we could pop out to the shops and buy a new dress for the same price as a trip to the movies?

Now though a growing number of people are going back to basics and taking responsibility for their own style. Customising clothes and making new from the old is a great way to save money and get your creative juices flowing. Whether you get involved out of necessity to make your money go further, or because you are fed up of wearing the same thing as everyone else, there is a form of customisation of everyone.

You don’t even need a sewing machine; you can start with a basic sewing kit of needle, thread, scissors, ribbon and sequins. For a super easy way to jazz up a tired cardigan try replacing the buttons with colourful, mismatched alternatives. You can buy buttons very cheaply, or scavenge thrift stores for bags of buttons. Embellish a handbag without even touching a needle and thread by getting some ribbon and tying it round the handles. This is a great way to make your bag match your outfit by just changing the colour of the ribbon.

Customize Woman Clothes with Fabrics

Three easy projects to get you started:

Got some old jeans lying around? Perhaps they’re too tight on the legs or are stained on the knees? Then chop the legs off and make a pair of denim shorts! Not only have you then got some free shorts, but you are in control of the length, great news if you want to hide your legs. You can leave them as they are, or embellish them with sequins, buttons, beads or applique patches.

Bored of your sweaters? Give them a vintage inspired update by adding lace. Find some thick lace trim in a matching or contrasting colour and hand sew it around the hem or sleeves. Alternatively, cut a Peter Pan collar template and use it to add a Peter Pan lace collar to a lightweight sweater or cardigan.

Want to make something totally new? Try this rope belt. You will need a length of rope, double it up as many times as you like and measure it to fit your waist. Leave an extra six inches to tie a knot. Get two key rings and feed the rope through the eyes of the key rings, tying in a sailors knot. Tie one big knot in the middle of the belt, this will create the centre of the belt, and there you have it! A rustic belt for spring’s nautical trend.


Emma Waight is a freelance fashion writer for For fashion news and style advice follow clothes on twitter.