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13+ modern books on refashioning clothing & upcycle sewing

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Books on refashioning clothing & upcycle sewing

There are so many fun refashion tutorials on blogs, but sometimes I like flipping through a book! We just moved to a new area and I am ready to check out our library’s selection so I made a list of books on refashioning clothing. I’d love to hear any firsthand experience with these; I skimmed through the reviews and made notes too. 

You will want to check out these blog posts too!

You can pin this list of books on refashioning clothing with this link and collage:

Go old school and check out this list of Books on refashioning clothing! Upcycle sewing books too, this list will give you all sorts of inspiration for using recycled materials to sew clothes, gifts, and more. #sewing #refashioning #upcycle #books

Definitely see if your library has any of these, and/or your local book shop; but if you’re buying online, get a free trial Prime membership and ship the books to you in 2 days!

Books on refashioning clothing & upcycle sewing

The Refashion Handbook: Refit, Redesign, Remake for Every Body

Notes from the reviews:

  • The author wears the clothes – no professional models!
  • A few of the reviews made it sound like the steps and technical aspects are glossed over.
  • Several reviews mention that there aren’t any pants refashions.

DIY Wardrobe Makeovers: Alter, Refresh & Refashion Your Clothes – Step-by-Step Sewing Tutorials

Notes from the reviews:

  • A few reviews say that it focuses more on sewing instruction than refashion tutorials
  • Notes that there aren’t any “sloppy shortcuts” taken so if refashion tutorials with hem tapes drive you nuts, this might be a book for you!

The Chic Girl’s Guide to a One-of-a-Kind Wardrobe: Altering and Embellishing Hemlines, Sleeves, and More

Notes from the reviews:

  • A focus on modest, chic styles
  • Lots of notes about how thorough the tutorials are
  • Reviewers not that there aren’t any pants refashions and she only focuses on making clothes smaller (not larger)

ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs

Notes from the reviews:

  • Emphasizes ideas and angles for readers to tweak things to their own taste
  • A few comments that the finished garments look homemade (as opposed to handmade)
  • A mix of refashions & upcycles

101 Tees: Restyle + Refashion + Revamp

Notes from the reviews:

  • E

Stylish Remakes: Upcycle Your Old T’s, Sweats and Flannels into Trendy Street Fashion Pieces

Notes from the reviews:

  • It sounds like this focuses on embellishing, more than sewing

Cut-Up Couture: Edgy Upcycled Garments to Sew

Notes from the reviews:

  • Edgier fashions with a more modern look
  • Disagreement if there are any looks for plus-size sewists, in the reviews

ReFashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials

Notes from the reviews:

  • There are NO tutorials, just inspiration and interviews
  • Super high fashion, edgy designs

Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt

Notes from the reviews:

  • Lots of no sew projects
  • A ton of ideas & tutorials
  • After looking inside, I think this skews young as far as the clothes go

Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials Plus Tips & Resources for Earth-Friendly Stitching

Notes from the reviews:

  • Several good giftable projects
  • A diverse selection of tutorials that appeal to a wide audience

Little Green Dresses: 50 Original Patterns for Repurposed Dresses, Tops, Skirts, and More

Notes from the reviews:

  • Lots of focus on how to draft patterns before sewing
  • A complaint or two about the projects mainly being short dresses
  • Someone in a Facebook group said the drafting instructions didn’t work in her size, and that they seemed to be geared at a size 8 or smaller


Sweater Surgery: How to Make New Things with Old Sweaters

Notes from the reviews:

  • Overwhelmingly positive reviews
  • A wide range of tutorials with several good gift-ables

The Upcycled T-Shirt: 28 Easy-to-Make Projects That Save the Planet • Clothing, Accessories, Home Decor & Gifts

Notes from the reviews:

  • Mostly positive but unspecific reviews
  • A mix of project ideas

The Sweater Chop Shop: Sewing One-of-a-Kind Creations from Recycled Sweaters

Notes from the reviews:

  • All of the wool is felted, giving it a specific look that you may or may not like
  • Reviews note more emphasis on stuffed animals over clothes
  • Lots of positive reviews

Did I miss one of your favorite books on refashioning clothing? Please let me know in the comments!

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Friday 27th of January 2023

Great post! I've dabbled in a couple of the books you've mentioned, but will have to look into several others - thanks. As to blogs, in addition to yours I get a lot of good ideas from "Confessions of a Refashionista".

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Thursday 9th of February 2023

Yes, she had so many creative refashions, I was very sad to read of her passing away :(

Lisa // Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing & Crafting

Tuesday 24th of July 2018

Great selection, Stephanie! I have a couple of these books and it's always really inspiring to look through them to get the creative refashion juices flowing! :) Lisa

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