1. Cut.
We completely understand not wanting to give up that pile of band t-shirts from your days as a young punk, but if they’re going to take up space you might as well find a way to wear them. Perfect the art of the tee-into-tank conversion, or snip that Rancid shirt into a cute tie-front top that will look distinctly unspoilt when paired with high-waisted shorts and jellies. We’re all about this easy guide from The Craft Caboodle (don’t worry, there are photos). A quick tip: always underestimate the amount you want to cut off to begin with — you can always trim more, but trying to reattach part of an arm hole is a bit purpose-defeating.

2. Dye.
Fabric dye is your friend (BEST friend in some cases). It covers everything from impenetrable wine stains to a colour that no longer suits your complexion. You can use it to create custom ombre, or turn a plain button-down into a funky visual feast. Faded blacks? No longer! Head on over to your local craft store, or the haberdashery section at a large department store, to pick up a packet. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully, and do be vigilant about keep dyed items separate from light items when washing — lest your whole wardrobe take on a twilight hue.

3. Embellish.
Brooches aren’t just for your Gran’s church outfits anymore — they also make a quick, blingy fix for unshapely blazers. Simply use the brooch to pin the fabric tighter at the lower back, and you’ll look like you’ve made a trip to the tailor. Sequins and ribbons are an excellent way to jazz up dreary cardigans or embellish the collars of drab crew necks as well. We also love the ingenious trend of sewing lace on to the inside hem of your denim shorts for a pretty, playful look. Practice doing it by hand on some cut-offs for practice (and an instant infusion of boho chic).

handmade collar necklace

4. Brine.
A process generally reserved for poultry and pork, this treatment makes even the newest Mrs. Carter Show World Tour t-shirt feel like a super-soft vintage thrift store find. Just combine about seven ounces of salt with a liter of water and soak the desired item for three days. Once it’s finished, bake it for three hours and garnish wi — KIDDING! Throw it in the washing machine with a dash of detergent and then either air or tumble dry. This is also an excellent way to soften stiff denim, and give it a distressed effect.

5. De-pil.
While this won’t necessarily change the shape or attitude of a piece, getting rid of those tiny lint balls that have infested your favourite jumper will make it look virtually new. While there are a plethora of electronic devices that promise to zap them away easily and safely, we’re a big fan of this treatment we learned about over at Cotton + Curls. Simply take the very same razor you would use to shave with and run it over the surface of the garment. (Just be careful not to press too hard, or you’ll end up with unsightly holes.)

6. Convert.
We all have it: the dress we LOVE when it’s hanging there, but once it’s on our person we stand in front of the mirror tugging and scowling. Often it’s one particular section — the boat neck is very flattering, for instance, but from the hips down it’s Hobo Town. Why not keep the parts you like and discard the rest? This is particularly easy if it’s the top half, and you can wear it tucked into trousers or skirts — in that case, a couple of (very straight!) snips will do. Hem the bottom by hand or with a sewing machine to keep any loose threads from dissolving the whole thing in a single tug. If it’s a dress you want to make a skirt, however, you may want to undertake more major surgery. In this case, an elastic band sewn into the waist is an excellent option; also, never underestimate the power of a good belt.

Image attributions: Flickr users saxarocks and …love Maegan.