What is Upcycling?

First of all, what is the meaning of upcycling? 

Quite simply, upcycling is the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or value.

It is an effective way to reduce waste, promote sustainability, and encourage creativity and innovation while also providing economic and social benefits.

Why Upcycle Old Clothes?

Upcycling old clothes is a sustainable and cost-effective way to give them a new life. By repurposing old clothing, you can reduce textile waste and the need for new resources to be produced.

It's also a creative and fun way to experiment with new styles and techniques, allowing you to express your personal style and creativity.

Think about it, upcycling old clothes is a win-win situation. It helps to reduce waste while also providing an opportunity to create something unique and useful. So, before you throw out those old clothes, consider upcycling them into something new and exciting.


Fun Fact: Komuniti Tukang Jahit (KTJ) has been making a full range of upcycled products for our corporate clients over the years.

Upcycling Idea: Repurpose Your Old Uniforms

Companies often face challenges with old uniforms including storage, security, environmental impact, and financial costs. Without a proper system in place for managing these items, old uniforms can quickly accumulate and take up valuable space, while also contributing to textile waste and increasing the company's carbon footprint. 

One simple way to solve this problem is by upcycling old uniforms! 

However, through our own experience, UPCYCYLING is hefty process that includes a lengthy supply chain.  A lot of the ground work goes unseen and many may assume that it's simple. 

But here's a quick breakdown of what goes on behind the scenes on how we turn old uniforms and scrap fabrics into upcycled products that can be given as corporate gifts to your clients or even products that you can sell (a new revenue stream for you!):

How We Upcycle Old Clothes As Corporate Gifts

Step 1.

Gather Your Uniforms

 Collect the old uniforms that you want to upcycle. Make sure they are clean and in good condition. Get them delivered to KTJ. However due to lack of space, KTJ may stagger the deliveries to multiple trips or collaborate or partners up with other NGO/SE's that have the capacity to help store and sort.

Step 2.

Choose what type of product you want made

Decide what kind of gift products you want to make. Some ideas include tote bags, pouches, wallets, keychains, and pillows. Not all materials are usable and not all items are sew-able when the materials provided are not suitable.

The best material to work with is cotton, thick polyesters or even PU leather. Satin, chiffon or other "slippery" materials is not advisable. Sometimes to make the garment useful, it requires a lot of "opening-up" and removal of previous sewing lines. 

This portion seems to take up the most when doing upcycling projects. We will have to see which parts are usable and which aren't.

NOTE: Transportation becomes a large part of this process. When the unused materials or uniforms are sent to us in boxes. We would have to dismantle them and delivery them in smaller parcels to the appointed tailors. And if the materials are not compiled at the clients side, and is delivered to us in multiple small shipments, then the logistics of the tailors increases as they would need to go back and forth to pick up materials. The best advice is to compile all the uniforms/materials before production starts.

Step 3.

Cut & Prepare The Uniforms

Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut the uniforms into the desired shapes and sizes for your chosen products. Depending on the product, you may need to add interfacing or stabilizer to provide structure. Normally an upcycled product does not just include the recycled fabric. To make it functional, or sometime to thicken them, interface and lining is needed. And to function as a product we may need to add zippers, snaps, or other closures, as well as embellishments.

Step 4.

Finishing The Upcycled Product

Once the products are sewn, trim any loose threads and clean up the edges. Strict quality checks are done for each piece as they are all handmade by various tailors. Depending on the product, you may need to press it with an iron to flatten out any wrinkles or creases. To add on logo applications, a new supply chain is added into the mix.

Logo Finishing (Optional): The logo design is sent to the printers to print them out on a Digital Transfer Film. The whole bulk of sewn items is then shipped to the printers for application. They are heat pressed one by one.

Step 5.

Finishing The Upcycled Product

Once your upcycled products are complete, we will package them in a way that makes them suitable for gifting. Consider using recycled or eco-friendly packaging materials to stay consistent with the sustainability theme of upcycling. 

Overall, upcycling old uniforms to gift products is a fun and creative way to give new life to old materials while also creating thoughtful and unique gifts for friends and family.

As mentioned, it does come with a bit of groundwork. That is why we would advise you to work with partners such as ourselves, who has the experience to execute and follow through with the project. 

When it comes to promoting sustainability and reducing waste, we are always more than happy to help. 

Want to start an Upcycling Project with us?

Simply reach out to us through our contact form here and we'll get back to you the soonest!  

Get a FREE design consultation! Create something meaningful for your company event, door gifts or CSR goals. Contact us through the links below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.