How do you reuse clothes that are too small? You can upcycle them them into something new like a pillow or you can refashion them to fit you! I’ve rounded up a fun list of refashion clothes tutorials to inspire you and teach you new skills, ready to make over your clothes so they look great and you feel great in them.
If you don’t have any clothes that need a new look, go out and dig around for some thrift shop challenges to makeover and update! It’s an inexpensive way to practice your sewing skills and exercise creativity. Let me know which of these 20+ ways to refashion clothes that are too small are your favorite, or if I missed any that you’ve used, in the comments!
Check out these posts too!
- 13+ modern books on refashioning clothing & upcycle sewing
- 10 refashioning tips for successful sewing
- Five Tips for Thrift Shopping to Upcycle & Refashion
- 24+ Men’s button down shirt refashion ideas
20+ ways to refashion clothes that are too small
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How to refashion shirts that are too small
I can’t get over how clever the black accents & shaping is on this dress refashion is, by @rethinktailoring! They have a brick & mortar sewing store where they do projects like this for customers, how cool is that?!
How to add fabric to a shirt to make it bigger – fast and easy refashion tutorial here on Swoodson Says! This is one of my most popular posts and it takes less than an afternoon to do, I get lots of compliments on the ‘after’ version of this shirt.
Open back t-shirt refashion from Sew Much Love, Mary – I haven’t tried an open back shirt yet, but this would give some great ventilation for summer I think! I can also see it working well for a yoga/exercise wardrobe.
If a top is too short for you, color block to make it longer! Easy refashion tutorial from Pearls and Scissors. I would’ve never guessed this ‘after’ didn’t come that way, it looks great.
I did this on kids pants but it would work on adult pants too – how to insert a knee panel here on Swoodson Says.
Another zipper side vent, this time on a shirt that needs some more room! You can find this tutorial at Thread Riding Hood. I love how this looks, even if you don’t need extra space in your waistband.
If your sleeves are too short or tight, try this bell sleeve refashion tutorial from Sew Much Love Mary, these would be cute on a kid’s dress too!
A romantic vibe with this lace and ruffle back refashion (an Anthropologie knockoff!) from Happy Together. This isn’t my style but I love how it looks with all the details.
If you have a too-short tshirt, chop it and turn it into a dress with this circle skirt refashion from A Beautiful Mess, this looks so easy to wear.
If you’re thinking, wait, she linked a different side zip tutorial up above! That’s right – mine is a little different! See how to sew an exposed zipper and give yourself more hip space here.
If your sweater is too tight, turn it into a cardigan and leave it open! Heather Handmade has a tutorial to help you out, click through to see the finished cardi.
If the neckline is too tight on a top, add some grommets with this diy lace up refashion tutorial at A Beautiful Mess, I think this would work at both hips too.
How to add fabric to bottom of shirts here at Swoodson Says- if you shrunk a shirt in the wash, this is an easy way to add some length.
How to make a t shirt bigger with a back panel with an easy tutorial here at Swoodson Says!
This is a refashion idea borne out of a rip but works to add ease to a shirt that is too small or tight to get over your head, with a diy button placket tutorial at Mckell Makes.
If you like boho vibes, add some crochet trim to the sides of your shirt, with this tutorial from Trash to Couture.
[Not pictured]If you live somewhere with temperate weather, turn a too tight sweater into an open back refashion with this quick hack tutorial from In Honor of Design.
How to refashion pants that are too small
If skinny jeans are too tight to pull on, add some simple zippers with this jeans refashion from Pearls and Scissors! I like how these look just in general.
See how to make the waistband in jeans bigger with this tutorial from Seasoned Homemaker, a contrast print or color would be cute too.
Refashion too tight shorts by adding a full panel in; she wrote a post with pictures if video isn’t your thing, see it here.
How to refashion dresses that are too small
If you have a dress that’s too tight, turn it into a lightweight peplum cardigan instead, with a tutorial from Trish Stitched, this ‘after’ is so cute.
Another visual for making a dress longer, on Youtube.
Another version of adding length, see how to add a ruffle to the bottom of a dress and its sleeves, with this tutorial from Heather Handmade.
If a dress is too short, instead of making it longer, turn it into a peplum top with this tutorial from Pearls and Scissors, I am so impressed she got sleeves out of it too.
How to refashion skirts that are too small
If your gathered skirt waistband is too tight, or you just like to be comfortable like me, use this tutorial for swapping in an elastic waist from Thriftanista In The City.
Another too small skirt refashion idea, adding a slit and swapping a zipper for ties, with a tutorial over at Thriftanista In The City, this ‘after’ looks so much better even though the changes are subtle!
- A truly innovative way to make a too-small dress work, with an open back, by RETHINK Tailoring & Mending.
- Adding snap track pants to jeans to make them bigger from Blueprint DIY
Have you refashioned anything bigger? Let me know how!