How to Recycle Ruined Clothes
93% of all textile waste is recyclable, but 85% of it goes directly to the dump.
Wait, what? Did I read that correctly? Only 15% of all textiles are actually recycled. We have got to do something about that!
How to Save the Earth
In honor of Earth Day and of every other 364 days that she lets us all live here, take the time to say thanks and give back by committing to recycling all of your textile waste.
Recycle Old Clothing
Depending on the condition of the clothes you no longer wish to keep, there are lots of options before throwing any of it in the trash can. To some, this may seem like common sense, to others completely absurd, either way it's very simple.
A fun way to get rid of your old clothing, fabric, curtains, etc. is to get together with a bunch of friends and swap textiles. If your a craftsy crew or clothing is ruined, have a scrap fabric swap to get a variety of patterns and textures and upcycle into the fabulous list of fabric scrap crafts below.
For any clothes that are in good condition, it is a generous idea to donate them. Donated clothing is accepted at many non-profit organizations that assist others in need and you may even be eligible to get a tax deduction for your clothing donation.
If the clothing or textile material you have is damaged in some way, such as ripped or stained. Consider if it may be used in any of the following crafts. The process of turning useless materials into new and sometimes valuable products is called upcycling. You will find some of the ideas below may even bring in a bit of extra profit, such as selling your finished handmade products at local craft fairs or online craft sites like Etsy.
Books on Upcycling
Upcycle Craft Ideas
For more ideas on how to upcycle, check out my hub, How to Find Free Craft Supplies.
Fabric Scrap Crafts
Eye pillows are the simplest item to make even with little or no sewing experience. They are a thoughtful handmade item that is a great Mother's Day or birthday gift.
- Simply cut out a rectangular piece of silky or soft fabric, such as silk or bamboo.
- Fold it in half with the outside facing in.
- Sew up both sides to form a pouch.
- Turn pouch inside out.
- Fill about 2/3 of it with a mixture of flax seeds and your favorite, fragrant dry herb, like lavender or chamomile. Both of which contain relaxing properties when inhaled.
- Fold open end in and sew shut.
- Tie a ribbon around with a thoughtful quote, relaxing breathing exercise, or just a simple note.
- Reversible Coffee Cup Sleeves
These are simply adorable and by using them, you will help save trees too. I can just imagine using some of the flannel pajamas that my boys have outgrown to create these. If you make enough, you might even be able to sell some in your local coffee shop.
- Fabric Cuff Your Jeans
Super cute, right?! I have a couple of pairs of jeans that are just a bit too long, but would make great capris. Reusing some of my old fabric that I have purchased for other sewing crafts would make a lovely addition to the cuffs on them.
- Rag Rug
Yup! Remember latch hooking? Now you can use some of your ruined clothing to make a fun rug that you could use as a soft throw rug to place next to your bed, your feet will appreciate it too.
- Upcycled Patchwork Shorts
Turn your kids favorite, but outgrown t-shirts into these great shorts from the Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom blog.
ReUse, Renew, Restyle, ReSew
Who doesn't have too many t-shirts? T-shirts are great, but do you really ever wear all them all?
Check out these cool ways to recycle t-shirts:
- How to Make T-Shirt Yarn
A step-by-step photo tutorial demonstrating how to make yarn out of ruined t-shirts. The site also includes some patterns for using your t-shirt yarn.
- Produce Bags
Can you imagine how well these would sell at your local farmers market or CSA Farm? They are adorable, check them out!
- T-shirt to Skirt
Check out the before shirt, I would never have guessed that polo style t-shirt could become this cute skirt.
- T-shirt Necklace
If you like big jewelry, you'll love this necklace created from old t-shirts.
- T-shirt Yarn Headband from Sugar Bee Crafts
The Knotted Headband (from the You Seriously Made That?! blog) made with T-shirt Yarn
- DIY: Scarf Made from a T-shirt from This Girl's Life blog
- Patchwork Throw
I have been saving all of my boys outgrown super hero shirts in the hopes that someday I will have the time to make them into a fun patchwork throw for each of them.
Miscellaneous Crafts for Recycling Ruined Clothing
- 33 Inspiring Projects for How to Repurpose Ties a DIY from the Blue Velvet Chair
- Pleated Boxes Pillowcase a free sewing pattern from the Lindsay Sews blog
- How to Turn Shorts into Funky Messenger Bag
- New Life for Old Tights from the Journey Into Unschooling blog
- Stylish Denim Crafts by Martha Stewart
Need More Ideas?
Follow my Recycled Textile Crafts board on Pinterest.