The big secret the fashion industry doesn’t want you to know: You can pretty easily DIY your favorite clothes and fashion trends. Not only will you score a personalized item completely unique to you, but it’ll cost you half the price, if that, of what some popular retailers sell these trends for. Tons of creators on TikTok and YouTube have already tapped into the DIY fashion trend, meaning tons of easy DIY tutorials are already waiting for you on these platforms. What better time to sift through your closet for old clothes that could use a second chance or invest in some fall basics you can buy, DIY, and keep for years to come?
Not all DIY fashion products are even that involved, and you’re probably more ready for a line of DIY in your wardrobe than you think you are. After all, quarantine has nearly turned us all into tie-dye and acid-wash experts. Embroidery has also been a hot hobby choice. Some projects are even simpler; you just need a Sharpie or a pair of scissors to completely transform a piece — and you’ll think of even more if you use your imagination.
To spark some creativity, keep on reading for 15 fall essentials you can DIY into something completely original, and prepare for some fire new ‘fits.
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As we move into fall and the weather shifts from perpetually bright to darker, chillier days, the urge to wear all black is imminent. By taking these plain, classic Nike socks and tie-dyeing them, you can brighten any outfit with a mix of your favorite colors. All you need is some dye and rubber bands, and you can customize as many pairs as you want with traditional spiral patterns, horizontal and vertical folding, and more. When you’re done, throw them on with any cropped pair of pants and low tops so people can peep your funky pattern.
You can get your own graphic Converse by taking your old, beat up (or new, if you’re in the market for them) Chuck Taylors and doodling on them with a Sharpie. If you’re not confident in your artistic abilities, you can easily print out some stencils and trace using a pencil before going full-send with a marker. You can also make your sneakers as colorful as you want. The best part? You can wear these shoes with anything — though I would cuff your pants so none of your artistry is hidden.
Sew In Right Now
Embroidery sounds much harder than it is, especially if you’re used to seeing the professional embroidery machinery in action. However, to hand-embroider, all you need is a needle, thread, and a good chunk of time to get the custom jean jacket of your dreams. Whether you want to decorate your jacket with flowers, words, or hearts, there are tons of TikTok tutorials out there for different embroidery styles you can try. A jean jacket is an enduring fall necessity, and you’ll probably rock yours for a few years, so make it an expression of yourself. There’s no easier way to show what you’re about than embroidering your heart on your sleeve — literally.
Buckets Of Fun
Since this look just involves bleaching, this DIY trend will go with nearly everything in you closet. While the ever-popular tie-dye trend is a way to go all out with bold, daring colors, acid wash keeps things a bit more chill, though still impossibly cool. By putting a little bleach-and-water mixture in a spray bottle, you can easily achieve an acid-wash splatter pattern, or you can try this tutorial for a more streamlined, striped look.
Take A Dip
Just because they’re traditional blue jeans doesn’t mean the legs have to both be blue. Instead, you can get a super simple yet stylish and incredibly trendy color-blocked look by bleaching one leg of your jeans, as shown in this video, or you can follow this tutorial for a dip-dyed denim look. For the most even finish, I would recommend using a paintbrush and tape. Style this look with your favorite t-shirt or jean jacket, and you just found your go-to weekend outfit.
Fresh Paint Job
It seems like the Nike Air Force 1 has quickly swooped its way into just about everyone’s closet as the classic white sneaker you pair with d*mn near everything. You probably would have never guessed that customizing your Air Force 1s could be easy (and maybe even relaxing?), but this tutorial shows that, with a bit of paint and tape, you can pretty much transfer any design your heart desires to your shoes. Whether you want to add more color, or maybe a more complex design, this DIY TikTok trend will up your shoe game exponentially.
Where are my rockers at? Much to the chagrin of your mom, you can take any T-shirt in your closet, new and old, and distress it for a vintage rocker look. You can go as distressed as you want with just a pair of scissors and a scrub brush. Simply make a few small cuts and holes in your shirt, and then, use the scrub brush to make the holes appear a bit worn and more dramatic, like you got in a fist fight with a raccoon over this piece in the best way. This style pairs exceedingly well with all solid-colored, high-waisted bottoms, so you really can’t go wrong.
Tied Up Tight
Ditch a stiff, uncomfortable, traditional belt and use shoelaces instead for a trendy look a la Emma Chamberlain. Seriously, all you need to accomplish this style is a shoelace through your belt loops to keep your pants tight around your waist. To customize your laces, you can use paint, dye, bleach (on darker laces), and more to add some drama. When you’re ready to wear them, just make sure you tie them bunny-ear style… you know, so you don’t end up having to cut yourself out.
Crop It Out
If you’re wondering what the constant thought drumming in my head is about any piece of clothing, it’s this: "Crop it." I can’t look at any shirt, sweatshirt, or sweater without immediately wanting to cut it shorter. Before you do anything, try the garment on to get an idea of where you want to cut; otherwise, you risk cutting too much off. (To get the straightest cut, invest in super sharp scissors.) When you’re ready, lay the item across the surface of a counter or table, with the excess fabric dangling off the edge. Put something of substantial weight on the shoulders of the garment so you don’t pull it down and have an uneven cut. This way, you can just cut straight across the edge of the table.
Chain belts and bag chains can easily be converted into necklaces simply by doubling them up. You’ll have even more metal around your neck than with a regular necklace chain, and you can take this piece of jewelry even further by making it unique to you. With wires and pliers, you can add extra special charms and other embellishments to your chain. This accessory, paired with your newly distressed shirt, will scream punk rock.
Ready To Cardi
Following the release of Taylor Swift’s single "Cardigan," you (and countless others) probably only want to be wrapped up in cozy cardigans for the foreseeable future. Well, the good news is you don’t have to break the bank buying all new clothes because you likely already have a wealth of old sweaters sitting in your closet. For this cozy trend, simply cut your sweater down the middle, and use large safety pins to keep it shut for an edgy look. If you’re into a more refined aesthetic, fold the cut edges inward and sew them down to create a new hem, and attach a few vintage buttons.
Sock It To Me
Did one of your favorite socks recently get a hole in the toe? Or do you have a pair of socks you love, but simply don’t wear anymore? Before you toss ’em, this is actually a great opportunity for you to get a new reusable, funky face mask. After washing your sock, you can follow these easy steps (which only require a few cuts) to get a cozy face mask. Just make sure you’re using a slightly big sock.
If you love to sew, or if you’re in the process of learning, an easy project involves transforming your uncle’s old button-down into a super cute matching shirt and skirt set. Although this process is a bit more complicated than the rest, the finished product is so worth it. This video showcases an easy tutorial with a hoodie (that’ll work just as well with an oversized shirt), and this tutorial offers a more stylized, complex look if you’re game for that. Either way, you’ll feel like Cher from Clueless all fall long.
Patch It Up
Whether you need to repair a few holes on your jeans or jackets, or you just want a fun new touch on ol’ faithful, adding bandana patches will give your fave pants, shirts, jackets, and more a new life. You don’t even have to use a needle and thread; some heat-activated tape ($3, Michael’s) will do the trick. You can use one bandana or many to get the patchwork look of your dreams.
You can only wear so many round-collar shirts, am I right? Tons of TikTokers have rocked adorable ruched, V-neck shirts recently, and with a deep cut and a little bit of thread, you can accomplish the same style. This video takes you through a slightly more involved process. Generally speaking, though, cut your collar into a V-shape (don’t forget to measure on yourself) and grab your needle and thread. With your shirt inside out, weave the thread up and down for about 3 inches from the tip of the V downward. Then, gently push the garment up the thread, tie it off, and you’ve got a cute, delicate V-neck, ready to pair with skirts, shorts, jeans, and more.
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