fashion DIY

Fashion DIY

Fashion DIY Inspiration, Quick Fixes, eco-friendly ideas to upcycle fashion.

Fashion DIY where to get inspiration

Page last updated 9 June 2019

If you want to stand out in the crowd, put your own look together by making a few DIY pieces is a perfect way. After all, who is going to have the exact same look if you came up with the idea yourself? If you don’t want to look too ‘weird and wonderful’ then try making a few adjustments to current trends. It is possible someone else will have a similar look. If your friends copy you then take it as a compliment and think up something new. If you get really good at it, then consider starting up your own blog and sharing your looks with others. Be adventurous, a great source in the past would be old magazines these days you’ll readily find photos online on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumbler!

Fashion DIY inspiration.

Fashions go around in circles one style inspires another. Designers often blend different looks and themes. Occasionally inventing a totally new look but most have some sort of a historical relevance. Whether it’s a relaunch of a sixties style mini skirt, hot pants or a new take on a regency style frock coat. We’ve got some beautiful period design books and pattern guides that are great when thinking up something new and a nice stash of British Vogue magazines that are always full of inspiration. If you prefer something you can touch then visit vintage stores, they often have departments that upcycle clothes so you can find unique items there too. Shop around for pieces to mix up.

More places for fashion DIY inspiration.

We’ve listed a few vintage stores on our Vintage page have a look.  Also, some great fashion books on the book page (we will search for some of the older books and add the links too). Plus don’t forget the great resources at museums the Victoria and Albert Museum (The world’s leading museum of art and design) Cromwell Road, London SW7. The V & A proudly houses the ‘largest and most comprehensive collection of dress in the world’ they offer free admission but also have various tours and special shows throughout the year. Check ahead what’s on that you can purchase tickets for. Definitely, a place to visit for all fashion lovers. Check online for others near you.

Fashion DIY Basic stitch techniques by hand

For getting started here’s how to apply some basic hand stitching. The first three straight stitches, running stitch, backstitch and prick stitch. Followed by three useful hemming stitches, slip stitch, catch stitch and blind stitch.

Straight Stiches fashion diy by hand

Running Stitch fashion diy by hand,

Running stitch is a simple sewing stitch. Used for several sewing techniques including use with or instead of pinning fabric together to join fabric quickly together by tacking/basting.  For example, it can be used for straight or slightly curved seams. Also used in darning, embroidery techniques and in quilting. Push the threaded needle into the fabric you wish to join, gathering the fabric as you push the needle over and under small amounts of fabric with regular spacing in between stitches to form a straight or curved sewing line. It is a temporary fix and can be easily unpicked.

Back Stitch fashion diy by hand.

Back stitch is a strong adaptable stitch by hand it is also used to secure the start and finish of stitching lines without the need for a sometimes bulky or awkward knot. It is named backstitch as the needle and thread does what it says and goes back into the fabric behind the previous stitch one stitch forward one stitch back - gradually moving forwards half a stitch at a time with a very secure stitched seam. Useful for hard to reach areas where it will look like machine stitching on the outside and overlapping stitches on the inside.

Prick Stitch fashion diy by hand.

Prick stitch/pick stitch is a variation of backstitch. It can be used neatly as decorative top stitching or where you need to stitch a zip by hand take care to use a thread matching the fabric being sewn. Prick stitch is where the stitch line is a line of neat very small pricks on the right side of fabric.

Hemming Stitches fashion diy by hand.

Blind Stitch fashion diy by hand.

Blindstitch is a hemming stitch  the stitch thread is invisible, or nearly invisible. Similar to catch stitch, the stitch also stops the top of the hem from making an ugly ridge on the right side of the fabric. Use right to left motion pointing the needle to the left, roll the hem, edge inside and make small horizontal stitches between the two parts. Keep the stitches on the right side small and take care not to pull the fabric or it will pucker.

Slip Stitch fashion diy by hand.

Slipstitch is a good choice for sewing gaps from the outside. Such as a lined garment that has been stitched together as much as possible on the inside before turning. Also, for finishing waistbands, cuffs, used with a clean finish or folded edge. First hide your knot inside the fold of the hem, then near where you started on the outer side pull the needle back through towards you just catching a few strands to be barely visible. Continue sewing from right to left holding the folded edge in left hand. Continue to bring the needle up through the fold the thread will stay hidden as you continue to sew down into the fold. Stitching through a few strands of fabric each time pulling the hem together, closing the seam.

fashion DIY Catch Stitch by hand

Catch Stitch fashion diy by hand.

Catchstitch is perfect for when you need to hem knitted and stretch fabrics together. Formed by using a zig-zag sewing motion which can be sewn over raw edges to keep them from fraying. The catch stitch is worked from left to right creating a row of overlapping stitches on the wrong side of the fabric.

Fashion DIY with buttons.

fashipon DIY Coat Button makeover

Fashion diy Coat button makeover.

Upcycling high street men's navy coat and gave it a more expensive look by adding similarly sized brass buttons. All you need is some strong black or navy cotton. Use some wax to strengthen the cotton if necessary. Also, a seam ripper and small scissors will also be useful. We checked the buttonhole size with a button gauge to measure if the brass buttons would fit, but if you already have the buttons just see if they fit through the hole! Or remove one of the buttons, when you go button shopping to see if the same size. Count how many you need, get a spare too, always handy and sew inside on the side label.

So now you’re equipped to remove the old buttons, leave a tiny bit of cotton in its place as a marker. Ready for where you sew the new button in place or remove each button as you sew the new one on. Taking care not to make any tears. You will find a seam ripper is useful here, or make a snip through the cotton and then use a toothpick to help unravel the stitching.

If you find buttons you love and they’re slightly bigger you can adjust the button holes (again the seam ripper will be handy).  To enlarge the button holes, unpick the ends of the buttonhole stitching and see if the new button fits through. If you need a little more room then very carefully position the seam ripper into the end of the buttonhole and push to make a slightly larger hole. Be warned it’s easy to rip too big a gap and then you’ll be repairing that before you can go any further.

Sew several times through the buttonhole and fabric. Then wrap around the cotton around the base of the button a few times too. Before securing cotton with a knot and moving on to the next one. The more time you spend fixing each button in place the less likely they will fall off!

Useful fashion DIY Tools for buttons and buttonholes.

fashion DIY Button and Buttonhole tools

Fashion DIY useful tools for buttons and buttonholes

Wax to stregthen cotton, buttonhole gauge useful for measuring and a seamripper great for unpicking, cutting into fabric, slicing/snipping through fabric and snipping thread. (A must-have tool)

Fashion DIY Jacket makeover upcycle a plain faux leather jacket by manually adding studs.

fashion DIY faux leather jacket upcycle with studs

Studded faux leather jacket

We played around with a bold orange faux leather biker jacket that we picked up for a steal in a high street shop.

Fashion diy Adding studs to faux leather jacket

Fancied adding some studs so played around with placement, then poked them through the faux leather, as the jacket was already lined, we made sure to split the pin on the inside without pushing through the lining, it was fairly easy as the fabric was soft and there was plenty of room to grasp both ends of the split stud and still open without being able to see it from the inside.

Fashion DIY a tribute to David Bowie

Then decided to make it a little bit Rock n' Roll and a tribute to David Bowie by adding one of his famous quotes 'I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I Know It Won't Be Boring' using a permanent marker pen in black. We made a font size test first to make sure what would fit and get a general idea of the look. The last image just shows removing the label, because after all, it's an original now, couldn't find the seam ripper so used a skewer a toothpick will do the same job too.

Fix an unwanted rip in a pair of jeans

Easy guide to fix a rip in your jeans with simple over stitch. Ripped denim/tear shown here alongside back pocket. Be fashion savvy giving them a longer life. All you need is a needle and we used a navy cotton, you could use black, white or light blue it won’t matter too much. To strengthen the cotton, you could pull it through some dressmakers wax (a tea light candle will work).


First, turn your jeans inside out.


Next, pin the jeans back together, ready for stitching.


Now, start sewing at the top with little catch stitches. Keep stitches as flat and smooth as possible.


Stitch together using small stitches through both pieces of denim pulling in together. There is not enough room for a seam, so keep it tight. Remember this is just a quick DIY fix but it should hold together for a bit.


Turn jeans to see how they are looking, as you can see there’s not much fabric to play with so nice tight stitches will hold them together for a while.


Turn jeans inside out again, continue with small over stitching, alongside the pocket, removing the pins as you reach them.


Catch the edge of the denim pocket to give the torn fabric something strong to grab onto.


Here’s the end result – not stitch perfect but they get a bit more mileage and there wasn’t much to work with.


Close up view. You could also put a small patch of fabric across the inside. Or catch some bias binding into the stitching to add some strength and give you something else to sew into.


What Sewing Machine to buy

We just discovered a great new (but with an abundance of amazing crafting history check the about page! wow) online shop.  They have a perfect selection of quality sewing machines for beginners to the more accomplished machine user. They sell Brother and Janome with good information on their website. So we signed up as affiliates it’s always hard shopping for DIY online and we love what this company have to offer. Search the links for what you need. We also did a quick price-check and their most inexpensive machine beat the price on Amazon (at time of posting). Who we also work with, so we hope we’ve introduced you to another great place to shop online.

A good starting point check out this website shop with a full range of machines and products including haberdashery and specialist materials via Sewing Machine Shop

Janome Overlocker Start-Up

Fashion DIY Overlocker

SHOP HERE Janome 9300DX Overlocker £329

Overlocker for starting out uses 3 or 4 thread. Janome 9300DX shop here for information via Amazon

Time Saving Brother Machine

Brother -Is-55 Sewing Machine

SHOP HERE Brother various via Amazon

This Brother models are always a good shout, check out various models available via Amazon they have starter models and models for the more experienced with all the extras Shop via Amazon

First Love Brother Machine

Fashion DIY Brother Sewing Machine

SHOP HERE Amazon - Brother AE1700 Sewing Machine £119

Good first choice 17 stitch sewing machine, drop-in bobbin LED Lighting, 4 stitch button-hole. Complete with instructional DVD. Shop via Amazon

High-Speed Singer Sewing Machine

Fashion DIY

SHOP HERE Amazon - Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Sewing Machine £239

Singer sewing machine metal framed with stainless steel bed-plate. High-speed sewing 1100 stitches per minute. Eleven stitch patterns. Has 4-step buttonhole and three needle positions. Drop feed for free-hand embroidery and darning. Plus drop-in bobbin. Stitch length and width can be adjusted. Complete with accessories including additional presser feet, needles, bobbins, guide, seam ripper and a dust cover. Singer is a popular brand and one you can always find accessories for. It states heavy duty but you will need to really invest in a machine capable of sewing through leather and other strong fabrics.

When to consider a more expensive sewing machine

If you want quality you may have to pay a little more. So read the recommendations for your needs rather than just looking at the price. It also depends on your ambition and experience. Some of the more difficult things with sewing is threading the machine and getting the thread tension right. Lots of the newer machines do this for you. A home machine is more technical, and does so much more now. You can really get started in design and learn the ropes. 

Fashion diy inspiration Tailoring Dummy

Dressmaking Tailoring Dummy

Dressmaking/Tailoring Dummy from £105.25

A great way to take your design and sewing skills to the next level. A tailoring dummy in adjustable size (plus available in small or medium). Design by draping fabric and get a feel for how it flows or make more tailored designs. Using the dummy to get a perfect fit without pinning it to yourself or the client. Also, rather nice to show your favourite design on or for work in progress. If you love dressmaking you'll not regret buying one of these. If you have a keen eye for fashion design and want to design and make your own pieces why not have a go. 

Get Your Fashion DIY Designs Patterned Up

Dot and Cross Marking/Pattern Paper by the roll from £43.95

If you have big plans and pattern skills to put to paper you can purchase different widths and lengths from £43.95 here

DIY Customized Watches and Original Stylish Ones Too

Check out the image below we love their gorgeous Italian watches (Shipping Worldwide.) Added here as they have a fun PIMP MY WATCH option. Get your own design uploaded pefect for complete fashion DIY looks. Go To Customize.

You’ve reached the end of our fashion DIY page (for now) why not get more inspiration back to HOME

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