Arts & Crafts, Life & Style

Upcycle Clothes: 11 Easy No-Sew Ideas For Beginners

clothes

Don’t sew but want to upcycle your old clothes? Here are 11 easy no-sew upcycling ideas that are perfect for beginners.

I like crafting as much as the next person. However, I’m the first to admit that my sewing machine skills and needlework leave a lot to be desired!  I’m not as nimble as I’d like to be with a needle and thread. And I don’t know my way around a sewing machine that well. But what I’m really into is upcycling clothes, to give them a new life and keep them out of landfill.

For a start, it’s because I’m pretty frugal, and I want to get the most bang for my buck when I’ve spent money on an item. You bet I’m going to want to wear it until it’s no longer wearable!

Another big part of the reason for wearing our clothes as much as possible is that the fast fashion industry is a massive environmental problem.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated that the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year. They have also estimated that the fashion industry uses around a staggering 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. Meanwhile, concerns have been rising about pollution from chemical waste – originating from the dyes used in clothing manufacture – to microplastics.

One of the most radical and impactful environmental acts we can therefore do is extend the life of our existing clothes, by wearing them longer, and upcycling our clothes when we need to.

No-Sew Ideas For Beginners To Upcycle Old Clothes

Person upcycling jeans with blue text box that reads upcycle clothes with 11 easy no-sew ideas for beginners.

To help get you started repurposing your wardrobe, I’ve got eleven clever no-sew ideas for you to upcycle your old clothes. Click on the links to be taken to the full tutorials.

Upcycle Clothes With Lace

upcycle clothes with this clever no sew dress diy

Got a stain that you can’t get out? A little rip that you can’t sew. Upcycle your clothes by covering them with lace! All you need is some lace, some fabric glue and some fabric scissors. No needle and thread are required.

This no-sew lace dress from Pretty Life Anonymous is just beautiful.  I’m looking forward to giving this a go!

No-Sew DIY Elbow Patches 

no sew elbow patch clothing diy

These no-sew elbow patches from the ladies at Honestly WTF are brilliant. Such a great way for a crafting novice to add an individual touch to their clothing, don’t you think? I also think it would be a clever way to mend an elbow hole.

They cleverly use cookie cutters to get the perfect shape, and use a technique called needle-felting. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Wendy, you said this post was about things you didn’t need to sew”. Needle-felting isn’t about sewing. It’s about stabbing fabric with a needle. Sounds pretty fun to me!

no sew ladies clothing diy

As well as hearts, you could use any cookie cutter shape – from classic ovals to stars and anything else that catches your fancy.

It would be a great way to cover up any holes on your favourite cardigan or jumper and to personalise baby tops and vests for a special gift.  I’m thinking dinosaur cookie cutters for this!  

Upcycle Clothes With A DIY T-Shirt Pocket

upcycle clothes with this no sew pocket t-shirt diy

This cute no-sew pocket DIY from Oh The Lovely Things is a great way to bring new life into an old or plain top or to cover up a stain or hole.  I plan on doing this very soon on a stained top that I couldn’t get the stain out of (not even with my best natural stain remover techniques) so that I can save it from landfill.

Scalloped Shorts Upcycling Project

diy no sew scalloped shorts

This DIY for no-sew scalloped shorts from Making Nice In The Midwest is a great and easy way to upcycle some old clothes. This technique would be great for trousers or shorts that you no longer like, or to upcycle trousers that have irreparable tears in the knees.  Although it initially looks complicated, to get the perfect scallops it turns out that all you need is a lid from a jar – no sewing required!

best no-sew clothing diys

Genius!

Paint With Bleach

bleach painting easy clothing no-sew diy

I love this idea for upcycling clothes by painting a top with bleach from the crafty lot at A Beautiful Mess.  So striking, yet so simple!  This is such a great way to upcycle a plain top that you no longer like, or to disguise a bleach stain on a dark item of clothing.

DIY No Sew Stud Buttons

no-sew diy shirt button tutorial

This is one of the easiest DIYs ever, from Collective Gen.  All you need is a shirt and some studs and you’re good to go.  It’s a great way to upcycle a plain shirt. Also when you’ve annoyingly lost a button and can’t find one to match the others. Just cover them up with studs!

Upcycle Clothes With Potatoes

upcycle clothes with this stamped top diy

Kate at See Kate Sew stamped this cute cat t-shirt using potatoes!  Upcycling clothes with potato prints must surely be the ultimate easy way to update your wardrobe! This technique also works really well if you want to cover a stain that you can’t get out.

Jazz Up Basics

no sew top

It turns out there are lots of crafty Kate’s out there. This no-sew DIY lace insert top is by Kate of Mr. Kate! All you need is some iron-on hem tape, an iron and some clever scissor work. This technique would work well if you had a hole that was difficult to mend – just make a feature of it!

Upcycle Clothes With Embellished Flowers

no sew flower embellishment

This embellished flower DIY from Jessie Daye is for kid’s clothing but would look beautiful on an adult’s cardigan or jumper too. This technique to upcycle clothes is such a great way to disguise any holes in your knitwear – be it from moths or just general wear and tear.

Fabric Dye

ombre diy clothes upcycling ideas

This ombre t-shirt from I Spy DIY is a really great way to revitalise an old plain top that you no longer wear. The link is no longer available, so try this tutorial instead.

The thing I love best about these upcycling techniques is that they are such effective and relatively simple ways to breathe new life into old clothes, without needing to have too much technical knowledge or professional skills.  Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at crafty DIYs on Pinterest, but the no-sew ideas always seem the most relatable and achievable to me!

Will you upcycle clothes using any of these techniques?  Do share how you get on!

Ethical Fashion, Life & Style

Ethical Men’s Underwear – The Best Brands for 2022

Looking for the best eco-friendly and ethical men’s underwear?  Read on for my top recommendations – from the brands that use organic cotton, to ethically sourced bamboo, hemp and more.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. This means that Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Recently I did a run-down of where to buy ethical women’s underwear.  In it, I promised I would write a guide to men’s ethical underwear too.  So, true to my word, here is a guide to the best ethical options for men’s pants, briefs, and boxers, depending on your preference.  I’ve also updated the article for 2022 – updated in May 2022 – so it is bang up to date.

The Ethical Men’s Underwear Brands to Check Out

As always seems to be the case when it comes to men’s ethical clothing, the market for ethical men’s underwear is considerably smaller than the women’s ethical market.  So you are a little more constrained.  But don’t despair – the market is growing. As such, I’ve tracked down some great men’s ethical underwear companies for you today.

Allbirds

person wearing Allbirds ethical men's boxers

Price Range: £20 – £24

Size: S – XXL

Allbirds*, the ethical shoe retailer, has a small but perfectly formed range of men’s ethical underwear that is made responsibly from sustainable materials.

Its trunks and boxer briefs are made from a blend of sustainable Tencel and mulesing-free merino wool. This makes for a silky-smooth fit that feels barely there. The breathable materials help to wick moisture away, keep you comfortable all day, and help to minimise odour. What’s more, its collection is available in a wide range of colours.

Allbirds say that offering a carefully curated product range fit for all seasons, means that it can maintain a small, tight-knit supply chain.

Need to stock up on undies? Allbirds has a great mix and match deal, where if you buy three pairs of socks or underwear, you get 20% off. 


BAM: Bamboo Clothing

mens ethical underwear

Price Range: £12 – £18

Size: S – XXL

Plymouth-based Bam: Bamboo’s* collection of briefs, boxer shorts and sports trunks are made of exactly what the name suggests: bamboo (as well as being blended with a bit of cotton!).  These have rave reviews from sportsmen and outdoorsy types looking for ethical high-performance technical men’s underwear.

Available in a range of patterns and colourways, the breathable bamboo fabric provides supreme softness for your nether regions. The bamboo also wicks any moisture away to keep you dry and prevent chaffing.

Their boxers and pants are ethically produced in Europe and Turkey, with prices ranging from £12 to £18.  Additionally, sign up to the Bam: Bamboo mailing list and get 10% off your first order.


Boody Ethical Men’s Underwear

boody men's ethical boxers

Price Range: £12.95 – £24.95

Size: S – XXXXL

All Boody* garments are made from organically grown bamboo and are produced adhering to the highest standards for both the planet and their workers. 

In fact, Boody is certified as both Ecocert Approved – which guarantees Boody meets the best environmentally friendly and socially conscious practices – and is PETA-approved vegan. Boody is also a certified B-Corp. This means the brand has been independently verified as meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

With inclusive sizing available on some styles, going up to XXXXL, these super soft, highly functional, and unfussy designs are perfect if you’re looking for plain pattern-free underwear. With briefs, boxers, and long boxers, there is something for every preference.

Take 15% off your first order when you sign up for Boody’s mailing list.


Living Crafts

cotton boxer shorts from Living Crafts

Price Range: £24.95 – £27.95 for twin packs

Size: S – XXL

Living Crafts is a German-based company that makes ethically produced basic pants, trunks, and boxer shorts, from organic materials such as organic cotton. This is a great choice if you’re looking for something a little looser around the edges.

These are available in the UK online via By Nature, from £8.95.


Nudie

Nudie grey melange organic and fairtrade cotton boxer shorts.

Price Range: £70 for a pack of three

Size: XS – XXL

Nudie’s range of men’s underwear* – from its loose fit boxer shorts to its briefs and trunks – are made entirely from soft, certified organic, and Fairtrade cotton. In plain black, white or grey, these are a great choice if you are looking for basic styles that have been made fairly.

For a clever touch, there’s no annoying care label to itch you. Instead, the care labels are printed on the inside of the underwear. The packaging is also plastic-free – your pants arrive in a recycled cardboard box.


Organic Basics Ethical Men’s Underwear

Person wearing a pair of black Organic Basics men's ethical underwear.

Price Range: £24+

Size: S – XXL

Organic Basics* pride themselves on selling sustainable basics fairly made in Europe from GOTS certified organic cotton and sustainable Tencel.

From tight fit boxer shorts to loose boxer shorts, there’s something for most preferences, in a small range of colours. In simple designs with no logos or frills and a tag-free elastic waistband – both longevity and comfort are carefully considered.

With a range of sizes from S to XXL, Organic Basics cover a range of shapes and sizes.  Prices for men’s ethical underwear range from £24 for a pair of organic cotton boxer shorts, upwards. 

Use the exclusive discount code WENDYOBC to take 10% off your order.


Peau Ethique

Price Range: £7.50

Size: XL – XXL

Peau Ethique is a French-based mother and daughter company, specialising in underwear.  With transparent and ethical operating procedures, your pants and conscience can be clear!  Its men’s ethical underwear is available in the UK through FabOrganics, which has a very limited selection of, ahem, one basic pair of boxer shorts.  The boxers are currently on sale for £7.50 in limited sizes.


Thought

Thought organic boxer shorts in burgundy

Price Range: £14.95

Size: XS – XL

Thought’s range of ethical men’s underwear*, comprising of bamboo boxers and briefs, are available in both eco-friendly bamboo and GOTS certified organic cotton jersey fabric choices. These come in an array of colour choices to suit your mood.

The bamboo underwear is breathable and comfortable, whilst soft to the touch. The organic cotton jersey versions have similar properties. However, the GOTS organic cotton has the highest social and sustainability accreditation out there. Every stage in the supply chain has been considered, and every person involved has been treated well.

Thought’s boxers are available on a buy 2 get 1 free deal, and you can get 15% off your first order when you sign up to Thought’s mailing list.


WAMA

WAMA hemp boxer briefs, part of a guide to ethical men's underwear.

Price Range: $28

Size: S – XXXXL

WAMA hemp underwear* is a new one for me in the ethical men’s underwear arena.  WAMA make soft and stretchy men’s boxers, trunks, and briefs from hemp, a crop that generally requires no pesticides and very little water, and renews the soil with each growth cycle.

The downside is that WAMA ships their underwear from America.  Worldwide shipping is a flat fee of $20, regardless of the order value, but bear in mind you may have to pay a customs charge on your order if you are in the UK.


I hope you’ve found this guide to ethical men’s underwear helpful!  Let me know if you find any other makers/stockists in the comments below and I’ll be sure to update the article!

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Person wearing black boxer shorts, with blue text box that reads the ultimate guide to men's ethical underwear.

Image used c/o Bam: Bamboo