Conversion is the new upcycling

9th December, 2018   |   How To...Guides

Introducing ‘conversion’ into the fashion lexicon…We’re no longer upcycling, we’re converting. I’ve been converting my clothes to add style, create the perfect fit and get more wear out my wardrobe for years. It’s the exciting, sustainable way to create your own stylish fashion and I’m here to show you how to do it.


CONVERT (eco verb)
To change the form, character or fit of an item of clothing to create a unique, bespoke garment.

Converting enables each of us to become our own sustainable fashion designer and create fabulous ‘new’ clothes out of the ones we’re not wearing. It’s about maximising the wearability of all our clothes and, as most of us only wear 20% of our wardrobes, that leaves A LOT of clothes flatlining behind the doors, just waiting for the conversion treatment.  

Perhaps you’ve got an evening dress you never wear, a skirt that’s too small, a top that feels too exposing or just ‘wrong’ in some way?  These can all be converted into fabulous ‘new’ garments you’ll want to wear again and again.

Do I have to be able to sew?

No! Anyone can convert their clothes. If you can’t sew, just take your clothes to a tailor or machinist at your local dry cleaners. It’s super-satisfying, super-economic and you’ll have a unique garment that’s made to fit you perfectly.  It’ll flatter your body and fan your personality.  Isn’t that the feeling we’re all after?

Which clothes can I convert?

You would be AMAZED.  Basically, anything.  Clothes can easily be made bigger, smaller, shorter or longer with a little know-how. If you find something you love but it isn’t quite right, you can alter it to suit your style and flatter your figure.  Perhaps the sleeves are too long, the waist too tight or the hemline too short?  That’s your first conversion right there.

How do I convert?

That’s what I’m here for! You’ll find regular conversion ideas and inspiration here on my website, on instagram, youtube and facebook to help you get creative and convert your clothes. And you can email me directly for help if you’re struggling with inspo – sometimes it just takes another view to nail all the options.  You’ll get the hang of it so quickly.

Conversion is first and foremost about creating style. The trick is to understand your body shape and convert to flatter and enhance your best assets. Some garments might need a dramatic overhaul but often they only need a small tweak to make the world of difference – a couple of darts can turn a shapeless dress into one that fits you perfectly and flatters your figure. 

Here are a few alteration ideas to help you think creatively about your clothing conversions:

  • Create a skirt and top or even a jumpsuit out of a dress
  • Convert a coat into a jacket or a gilet
  • Turn an evening dress into a day dress or a top and skirt
  • Add or remove sleeves (swap from one top to another!)
  • Insert panels of fabric into clothes that are too small for you
  • Turn trousers into coullottes or shorts
  • Change the neckline to suit your figure
  • Embellish knitwear (or anything actually!) to add interest
  • Add darts to remove unwanted bagginess
  • Re-shape the collar of a shirt or dress

Is conversion sustainable?

INCREDIBLY SO.   Converting is the ultra-cool, sustainable way to work your wardrobe to the max. Instead of throwing away your neglected clothes and buying new, you can turn what you’ve already got into incredible ‘new’ outfits that fit and flatter you perfectly. There are so many wonderful clothes already in existence on the planet, just aching for a conversion.

Why should we convert?

When I discovered the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of the planet after oil I was horrified. The industry is unsustainable and our shopping habits are out of control – we’re buying too much, too often and sending too much to landfill.

My sustainable fashion heroes (check out my Little Green Book- coming soon) are busy creating a seismic shift within the industry but, as consumers, the ultimate power is ours. There are actions we can all take RIGHT NOW to help bring about a more sustainable fashion world and converting our clothes is one of them. Converting means:

  • We get more wear out of our existing clothes
  • We don’t buy as many new items
  • We save clothes from Destination Landfill
  • We look amazing in our bespoke outfits
  • The planet can take a load off.

Let’s get fashion conscious; let’s get CONVERTING!

Converting my coat into a jacket

I bought this coat in an Orla Kiely sample sale as I loved the colour and it was a crazy bargain but I realised fairly soon that I wasn’t actually ever going to wear it the way it was – the bargain had got the better of me.  However, never one to miss a conversion opportunity, I decided to turn it into a jacket. The back already had gorgeous gathering along the empire line so I hacked a load of fabric off the bottom (a local machinist did it properly for me!)  and used the excess fabric to create long, gathered cuffs to match the back. I then changed the neckline from a round neck to a V-neck to give the jacket a more flattering and less boxy shape (I did this myself by just turning the corners in!). I finished it off with some vintage buttons I found on eBay et voila… A jacket that’s far more wearable and that I actually now LOVE.

Keep up to date

Sign up (below) and be the first to know when I release my latest How To… Guides full of creative conversion ideas.

Follow Converted Closet on YouTube for videos full of inspiration and ideas on how to convert your clothes.

Do you convert already? Would you give it a go? Have you got any questions? Leave me a message below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep up to date with Converted Closet