Gothy DIY Tools – the Essentials!

The Lady of the Manners has recently seen an uptick in posts (mostly on Tumblr) about gothy fashion: bemoaning the cost of the “name brand” fashions, bemoaning the lack of plus-size clothing, and assorted other “how do I put together a fabulous goth wardrobe?” things.

The Lady of the Manners’ answers:

  • Thrift stores. Always, always check your local thrift stores. 
  • eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, Threadup, and depop are treasure troves. You don’t necessarily have to look for name brands – look for the sorts of styles and fabrics you want. (The Lady of the Manners searches for “fit and flare stretch velvet dress” and “vintage crushed velvet dress” every few days, but she admits she’s a bit obsessive about the whole thing.)
  • Mainstream stores. 

Because once you find garments that fit, you can ”¦CUSTOMIZE EVERYTHING!! Some things you can do:

  • Add trim! Lace, ribbons, grommet tape, fringe, whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Appliqués and patches! Cut apart t-shirts and add the pieces to the back of jackets or the front of skirts. Find lace or sequined appliqués you like. 
  • Fabric paint, bleach pens, and metallic Sharpies. You can write and draw on almost every fabric. There’s even fabric medium that you can add to existing paint. (Just be sure to follow the instructions for those to the letter.)
  • Replace the existing buttons with new, more interesting ones.
  • Rows of safety pins.

Some of you may be asking “But where do I find this stuff? What do I need to use it?”  

Tools for basic DIY sewing:

  • Sharp scissors, preferably a pair for cutting fabric, and a small pair for snipping threads. Do not, for the love of the shadows, ever cut paper with these.
  • Fabric pins and sewing needles.
  • Thread in whatever colors you need. The Lady of the Manners always has a stockpile of thread in black, white, burgundy, and pink.

Good places to find these things: Amazon, Joann, and Michael’s. If you go for Joann’s or Michael’s, remember that they have coupons on their websites, you can get even more coupons if you download their respective apps, and if you go to the physical stores, they both will accept competitor coupons. Also be sure to check the craft section of your local thrift stores for hidden craft tool treasures. 

Tools for basic DIY of a non-sewing nature:

  • You still need those scissors.
  • You will probably still need fabric pins to place things before affixing them.
  • Fabric glue. 
  • Stitch Witchery or something similar, because then you can attach trim or fabric to other fabric by using an iron instead of sewing.
  • Safety pins.
  • Needle-nose pliers.
  • Hot glue gun. (A warning: Hot glue is hot, and always give it at least a minute longer than you think is necessary before touching anything you just glued in place. You’d think this is obvious, but every crafty person the Lady of the Manners knows regularly burns their fingertips because we forget this basic fact.)

And again, all of those things are easily found at Amazon, Joann’s, and Michael’s. 

An Assortment of places to find DIY supplies

  • Yet again, Amazon, Joann’s, and Michael’s. You can find damn near everything on Amazon now: lace trim, ribbon, safety pins, buttons (including metal ones with skulls!), rhinestones, grommet tape, D-ring tape made from satin ribbons, fabric dye, etc. 
  • Also yet again, Ebay. You can find damn near every craft supply under the moon on eBay.
  • Aliexpress. If you don’t need your supplies right away, Alibaba is where a lot of those Amazon and eBay sellers get their merchandise. Always read the reviews of the Alibaba sellers and understand that you’ll  be waiting 2-3 weeks for your purchase.
  • Studs & Spikes! In addition to the aforementioned sharp adornments, they carry patches, pins and badges, and the tools you need to attach studs and spikes to your clothing.
  • M&J Trimming. Ribbons, rhinestones, trims, buttons, all sorts of things. 
  • Cheeptrims. Exactly what it sounds like!


Speak, oh sibling crafty goths, of your must-have DIY supplies or of additional places to find them. The comments are open!

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9 Responses to Gothy DIY Tools – the Essentials!

  1. Erika Heins says:

    Etsy is also a really great place to find unique supplies, such as bulk buttons or vintage charms/ pendants. I also used to get a lot of my eyelet and D-ring tape off of Etsy when I had an upcycling business.
    Speaking of, adding corset lacing is one of the flashiest and also easiest things to do to a thrift store piece. (It also can help you adjust the sizing on something that’s a little too big without full-scale alteration.) To add corset lacing, you want to get D-ring tape (search for it on Etsy), sew two rows with a couple-inch gap between them with the D-rings facing inward, and then lace it with ribbon or cord. Super pretty and not hard at all.
    Pinterest is a GREAT place to get ideas for upcycling and can also be a good way to figure out the silhouettes and styles you like. I’d thrift for silhouettes and fabrics and embellish from there till I loved a piece. <3

  2. Teri Gohnert says:

    As a plus size goth, I tend to make my own clothes by adapting patterns in my size to a more Goth like style. I also love Recollections http:// Check their sale and new items each month for some good deals.

  3. Joanne Hartley says:

    As someone who is not only plus size, but also tall, I’ve alway struggled to find branded Goth clothing that fit me properly. While things were available in plus sizes, the length was often the problem so I quickly learned the value of thrifting and creating my own stuff. To be honest, I prefer wearing clothing that I’ve made or customised myself. It means that I have pieces that are unique to me and that they fit well.

    I get my supplies from all over the place, thrift/charity shops, craft stores, Amazon, Etsy, Ebay and numerous other places. Nothing better than a good rummage to see what interesting things can be found.

  4. lilibat says:

    … and if you need some ideas or guidance there is always Antimony & Lace with lots of free DIY goth fashion projects ( 😉

  5. Mari says:

    Never underestimate what might be in the stash of a family member who used to be crafty but now isn’t. My grandmother had 4 yards of red velvet in her cellar.

  6. The Dutchess says:

    Great suggestions. Also hit up the elder goths in your community. I am always going through the closet and trucks of my youth and saying. Look that thing you wore in your 20’s is not as you in your 40s. So I give it away to the young creative bats ready to cut it up and re stitch it into the great goth fashions of the future. Better than collecting dust 🙂

  7. Melany says:

    I am quite small for my age so thrift stores are my place to go I usually can fit most clothing there. I found a plain black long sleeve dress (with pockets I might add) and I had some leftover green n black striped fabric. I made a collar and a pocket then just sewed it on, added lace at the end. I also found some black platform sandals so also check out the shoes while there! You can also DIY some of the shoes like add spikes, chains, paint on them (with fabric paint) ,really any details you want.

  8. Gedas says:

    As an representative of mainstream e-shop, sometimes myself lack those small nice things that can be found only in Thrift stores.

    However, there is a move on Korean styles which are very flashy and its quite hard to find something like that near.

  9. Alex says:

    If you are just starting out and live near an IKEA, they do a pair of fabric shears and pinking shears for £3 (UK) each. You can get better for 7 times as much but for starting out they are perfectly adequate.

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