The most fun, yet attainable fashion trend of our lifetime is the custom college apparel fad. Whether its a game day, homecoming, or even just to a darty, it’s important to rep your school in a cute and trendy way. A shirt from the bookstore? No way. You need something bleach dyed and cropped or you wear NOTHING.
Here are some really cute and easy ways to customize your college apparel!
1. The crop
The crop is the most simple of the ways to customize your college apparel. Simply take a scissor to the shirt or sweatshirt at your desired length. Make it a little longer if you only want the bottom of your stomach to show. Or make it short so the bottom of your sports bra can be seen. Both ways are super cute and can be done with either a t-shirt or a sweatshirt!
This trend is so cute for a more vintage look to your college apparel. According to Girrlscout, here’s how you achieve this look:
Step 1: Lay out your shirt. I put a flat surface inside of it, (Example: I used a random flat rate shipping box I had lying around.) Please note: I was not aware this was a band, I found it in the children’s section of the Salvation Army for $2.15… so… sorry guys, whoever the hell you are.
Step 2: Mark how low you want the cut-out to be and make sure it’s straight. Use anything for a straight line, even season 5 of The Walking Dead.
Step 3: Cut it out as best as you can. Nobody is perfect, we ain’t here to judge.
Step 4: Hand sew (or use a machine) the black trim around the edge of the shirt right where you cut it. Make sure both laters are on top of each other. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you can’t even see it, mine is super messy. I chose to leave the collar, whether or not you want to cut it out or leave it is entirely up to you.
Step 5: Place the metal eyelets where you want them. You can do however many you want, I just knew I didn’t have much string so I went with less than the reference picture above. Besides, you don’t really need THAT many, they went a little string crazy if you ask me.
Step 6: Cut tiny holes/slits where you want to place the eyelets and pound those suckers in. Trial and error is key here, folks. You want to make sure it goes all the way through both materials until you can see all the way through it. Also, when you pound them in with the hammer, make sure your tool is straight or else they will get pounded in all crooked and the hole will be half of it’s intended size. (see below to know what the hell I’m talking about.)
Step 7: Lace ’em up! It’s just like lacing your shoes. Nothing fancy or difficult about it. When you get to the top, you can either have them hanging out the front or you can make them go inside and tie a knot at the end. (which is what I chose to do.) but hey, you do you girl.
This may take some time, but it’s simple and will be worth it for the Instas in the end!
3. Denim Jacket
Whether you want to paint it, or simply iron-on patches, the custom denim jacket is essential to your college career. No matter where you are going, this jacket can accompany you. Every outfit you wear, this jacket can go with it. It cal also be something to look back on when you’re well beyond your college years. Take the time to make this denim jacket your own! Etsy has great patches and they’re super cheap. If you’re artsy enough to paint, good for you! Give it a go!
4. Bleach Dye
Everyone is doing it in quarantine, so why not make one of your college shirts look cool? I did it to one of mine and I absolutely love it! According to Paper and Stitch, here are the instructions:
1. First, working in a well-ventilated area, submerge the fabric in water. I used my kitchen sink. Wring out the excess water and fold into different designs – you can fold the fabric into squares, triangles, rectangles, etc.
*You can also try skipping this step of getting the fabric wet first. It will produce slightly different results, but part of the fun of reverse tie-dye is making different patterns and experimenting with different techniques.
2. Next, put on gloves and pour bleach directly into a container (that is only used for crafting). Make sure there is enough bleach in the container to fully submerged the fabric.
You shouldn’t need more than a gallon (probably much less depending on how much fabric you’re submerging). Ex: For reverse tie-dyeing a napkin, bandana, or other small items, you’d only need 10-15 ounces. Just enough to fully submerge your item.
4. Then add the folded fabric pieces from step 1 into the bleach and make sure they are fully submerged.
Set a timer for anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. The amount of time the bleach needs to soak into the fabric will vary based on the fabric you’re using. But you should be able to see a visual change in the fabric color before you remove it from the bleach.
The linen napkins and bandanas I bleached started changing color almost immediately and I removed them after about 2 minutes. While the cotton blend napkins I dyed stayed submerge for much longer (15-20 minutes).
5. With your gloves still on, or using tongs, remove the fabric from the bleach once you’re happy with the color change. And rinse it in the sink (or with a hose outside) for several minutes to remove all of the bleach, along with the clips and cardboard pieces. The color will continue to change until the fabric is washed – so keep that in mind.
6. Wash in the washing machine (no soap needed), then run the fabric through the dryer to heat set before using.
It’s so simple and makes such a trendy look!
The most classic of ways to make a shirt your own. This may look intimidating, but it’s actually super easy! According to Treasurie, here are the instructions:
STEP 1: PREPARATION
WORKSPACE – Get the area you have chosen ready for a messy event. Cover tables with plastic and if you feel it is necessary, the floor as well. Working outside gives you more freedom especially if you decide to make this a family affair.
DYE – Prepare the dye mixture according to the instructions on the packet. Use one of your buckets or containers to mix and contain the dye for future use with the fabric.
FABRIC – Prepare your fabric. Pre-wash new fabric to remove starch and sizing. All new clothing items should be prewashed in case they have starch or chemicals that may prevent the dye from penetrating. Using fabrics or garments you plan to upcycle will not require a pre-wash process.
TEST – Test your dye on a scrap of fabric to check for color intensity.
STEP 2: TIE THE FABRIC
When your area is prepared and your tools are ready for use you are ready to start to create a tie-dye pattern. There are several methods available and color combinations. It is best to start simple and be happy with the outcome.
Choose a tying method. Rubber bands work well or tying with twine. The idea with tie-dye is the tied up parts with bands or string will not absorb the dye. This technique creates the patterns and swirls associated with tie-dye.
STEP 3: IMMERSE IN DYE
When you have tied the fabric get ready to swirl it in the bucket of dye. Pick it up with the tongs to check the color.
If you are not happy with the intensity of the color continue to leave the fabric in the dye for longer. Check the instructions on the packet of dye for times and amounts of water.
STEP 4: RINSE
When you are satisfied with the color, remove the item from the bucket of dye and rinse in cold water. Rinse by hose or by swirling in a bucket of cold water.
STEP 5: REPEAT FOR NEW COLORS
If you plan on different colors repeat the dying process with other colors. Using different colors requires careful planning because of colors changing when they are dyed together.
If you unwrap and re-tie the dyed fabric before dying the next color then the white parts take on the new color while the first color changes according to a color mixing chart.
STEP 6: DRY
Finally, wrap the dyed fabric while wet into a plastic bag to allow the colors to set. Check the instructions on the commercial dye for time allocation for this.
When you are satisfied the colors are set, wash the dyed fabric item and dry, and iron ready to make up your fabric.
6. Safety Pins
The safety pin look gives your outfit a unique and edgy feel. This one is super easy to achieve and will have everyone at the tailgate asking you to make one for them as well. Literally, all you have to do is cut where you want a gap, and reattach the shirt with safety pins, leaving as much room in the gap as you want!
7. Cut the Collar
For an off the shoulder look, cut the collar off of any t-shirt or sweatshirt. This one is easy and takes absolutely no time at all, yet still gives your look a unique feel.
8. 2 in 1
This one is so cool! Take two of your t-shirts that are two different colors and cut them both in half down the middle. The way you attach them is totally up to you. I have seen them attached with safety pins, zippers, or even just sewed. Whatever is easiest for you!
9. Painted Jeans
This trend is becoming a bit more popular, and it is so cute and easy to do! take any old pair of jeans and paint whatever matches your college on them. My favorite way to do this is to paint stars on the jeans with colors that matched my school. Even just adding something cute to the back pocket of the jeans is so simple and effective!
10. Tube Top
Another great way to transform that free t-shirt you probably got at orientation is to turn it into a tube top! According to Palm Gear, here how to do it:
1. Lay out the old t-shirt you wish to use on a flat workspace
2. Next, grab a pair of scissors and cut around the t-shirt color to completely remove it
3. Now cut the sleeves to remove them entirely off your tee. Be sure to seams where the sleeves are attached to your tee as well.
4. With the color and sleeves gone, apply the masking tape across your shirt at the armpits.
5. cut through both layers of your shirt, along the middle of the tape you have just applied in the above step.
6. Apply another piece of the tape right inside each of your shirt’s side seams as well as on the bottom hem.
Cut through each of these tape pieces, making sure the scissors cut through both fabric layers.
7. At this point, you can remove all the masking tape you have applied to your tee so that you’re left with two large, rectangular pieces of fabric.
8. Cut tabs along the edges of the longer sides of both pieces of the shirt (the tabs should be 1.5 inches deep and 1.5 inches apart).
When done, tie these tabs together using double knots.
9. That’s it! You have successfully designed a tube top from an old t-shirt.