Three Original Ideas for Turning Thrift Finds Into Awesome Outfits

4 Materials
20 Minutes

If you’ve ever seen any of my videos, you know how much I love thrifting. Almost as much as I love a good upcycle. I really enjoy going to a thrift store and specifically finding things that don’t work for me and figuring out how to make them work—it’s super satisfying. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through three different upcycles I did with thrift store finds. The most I spent was $4. Ready...set...THRIFT FLIP!

Tools and Materials:

  • Thrifted clothes
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger
Thrift clothes refashion
Large maxi to fitted midi

The first outfit I thrift flipped was this maxi animal print skirt I got for $4. The moment I saw it I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I’d seen these silk midi skirts I was interested in, and when I saw this skirt, I thought it would be the perfect item to refashion into one of those.


Refashion thrift clothes
Pin the skirt

First, I put the shirt on inside out and placed three safety pins on either side, marking where I wanted to take in the skirt. The first pin was at the waist, the second at the hip, and the third was the point in which I wanted it to be fitted to my legs. Try to be more careful than I was, though, and don’t stab yourself with the pins. Once that was done, I took off the skirt and stitched the sides by matching up all three points.

Thrift store refashion tutorial
Serge the sides

After the sides were stitched, I cut off some of the length from the bottom. Then I serged off the sides of the stitches that I made and folded them down to hem them. I wanted the slit to be in the front instead of in the back, so I stitched closed the existing hem and created a new one in the front by snipping it and doing a rolled hem.

Thrift store refashion
Urban Outfitters cheap copycat

My next refashion was a cream thermal. This cost me $1 and was size 3X. I thought it was the perfect item to turn into a shirt that I had recently seen at Urban Outfitters for $44! No way was I spending that much! 

Thrift flip tutorial
Stitch the side panels

I started off by taking the panels on the side and stitching them out of the design. I also took in the sleeves so that they’d be fitted. This allowed the fabric to look more like the Urban shirt but also made it so that the shirt fit me better.

How to thrift flip
Remove collar

I then cut off the collar and cut a V into the neck, followed by cutting off the cuffs. Once that was done, I serged off the sides where I stitched the paneling, giving me a clean look that matched the rest of the inside-out style of the shirt.

Thrift flip
Add some detail

The next thing I did was to cut the shirt down to the length I wanted. I then used the excess fabric to cut out a little rectangle to use as the detail on the front of the shirt. After pinning it in place, I stitched it on in an X shape. Lastly, I folded up and secured the cuffs.

Thrift find upcycle
Cute gray shirt

Something my wardrobe was really missing was just a regular long-sleeved shirt that would keep me warm but would still be cute. I picked this one because I loved the material and color, but as it was a large men’s shirt, cute didn’t exactly describe how it looked on me. I didn’t end up doing much to this one, but I was happy with the result.

Gray shirt refashion
Cut the shirt

I really kept this one simple. I cut off the collar and made a slit to form a V. I then tried it on to figure out what else I wanted to do, and made the decision to just crop it. This gave it a more feminine and flattering look that I was happy with. I know, I know, it’s boring; but I really just needed some cooler weather basics, so I’m good with it!

Finished midi refashion

White shirt upcycle

Thrift flip gray shirt

And there you have my three recent thrift flips! I really love how they each turned out! The coolest part is that these were all variations of outfits that I’d been wanting for a while, and I love how I was able to make them out of a cheap thrift that didn’t even fit me. I’d love to know which of the three is your favorites, and I’d especially love to see any projects you take on that these outfits have inspired! So be sure to let me know in the comments. 

Suggested materials:
  • Thrifted clothes
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.

Join the conversation
  • Eva Weaver Eva Weaver on Nov 10, 2020

    I definitely have some thrifted clothes that need to be redesigned. I love the grey shirt you did.

  • William Hoover William Hoover on Nov 10, 2020

    Very Cool simple upcycles that barely cost anything in comparison to the originals. Way to Rock the Fashion World!