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How to Reuse or Recycle Old Clothes
Recycled Crafts to Turn Old Clothes into New Items
Long ago, people used leaves and hides for clothes. People eventually learned to weave cloth from natural fibers such as wool and cotton, but clothing was hard to replace. People took care of their clothes and reused them to make new things when they had outworn their usefulness.
In the early 1900s, factories began making cloth using chemicals rather than natural fibers. We call these chemical fabrics "synthetic fabrics." These synthetic fabrics, such as rayon, polyester, and spandex are so affordable and readily available that we stopped conserving them. People today have many more clothes and throw them away when they no longer want them.
Recent statistics estimate that 700,000 tons of fabric end up in the landfills each year! We all have old clothes that we no longer wear, with a little inspiration, we can reuse old clothes to make something usable! Browse the collection of recycled crafts below for ideas.
Recycling Old Clothes
Handy Tips and Hints to Recycle Used Clothing
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of waste we produced from 1980 to 2005, increased 60 percent. Many of us are doing our part and trying to reduce our waste by composting and recycling. It is a commitment and we are rising to the challenge, shunning our old wasteful habits, but there is always more to learn as recycling doesn't seem to be instinctive to most of us.
Don't forget to recycle your old clothes! Instead of throwing them away consider:
1. Giving them to someone you know.
2. Giving them to charity.
3. Hosting a clothing exchange party with your friends.
4. Consigning them to earn some cash.
5. Cutting them up and use them for rags to clean your home.
6. Make one of the really cool and unique crafts to reuse old clothes listed here!
Reuse Old Sweaters to Make a Quilt - Easy Directions to Make a Quilt from Old Sweaters
A beautiful quilt made from old sweaters:
1. Cut the sweaters into squares.
2. Use a sewing machine to stitch the square together.
3. Sew backing on the sweater squares and hand stitch around the edge for a beautiful finished quilt.
A Tank Top into a Tote
This craft project promises to make quick and easy work of creating a tote from an old tank top. Simply sew the bottom of the tank closed using a machine, then embellish the tank with fabric paint. The instructions give other cute ideas for tote decorating.
Turn an Old Sweater into Mittens
Your hands will be warm and toasty if you repurpose that old sweater into a pair of mittens. Create a chic, green look at the same time. If you can operate a sewing machine, you can make these mittens.
Recycle a Sock into a Jar Cover
Jars can be used to store just about anything. They can also be used as a creative container for a gift, such as a cookie mix, valentine candy, or bread mixes. Reusing an old sock to cover a jar gift will add more homemade charm.
More Instructions for Making a Tote from a T-Shirt
This takes a bit longer than the tank top tote above, but the outcome is a very stylish tote. Step by step instructions to create a t-shirt tote on a sewing machine at Craftbits.com
Handkerchiefs into an Apron
Recyle Old Clothes
You can show your June Cleaver side by making this apron from old handkerchiefs. Pretty and practical, a sewing machine is needed to create this one-of-a-kind apron project. It can be completed in about an hour.
Wreath from Old Clothes or Linens
You can use a coat hanger and old fabric swatches from clothes, or linens, to create home décor. This wreath is done in a few hours and only requires cutting... NO sewing.
Pillow from a TShirt
If you need some more pillows, you can make these cute t-shirt pillows. The instructions in this tutorial keep the sleeves in tact, but if you prefer a square pillow, you can always remove the sleeves and neckline for a square, or rectangular, pillow.
Sweater Scarf from a Recycled Wool Sweater
One More Way to Reuse old Clothes You Love
Teens will love this craft. If you have a sweater that is loved, perhaps it is just the right color, or goes great with a certain jacket, what do you do when you can't wear it anymore? Make it into this trendy hooded sweater scarf. They are stylish and it is the perfect solution when that favorite sweater gets a hole, because it allows you to keep wearing it! Super way to recycle a wool sweater, I made one from a beloved Merino wool sweater.
Sweater Chop Shop
Learn more about making old sweaters into artistic creations.
Rag Rug Making
Reuse Old Clothes to Make a Rug
Rag rugs can be made from many types of fabric, including plain old cotton t-shirts, or wool sweaters that have seen better days. Those shirts that you loved, but got a stain or a hole, can be recycled into a rug easily. All you need is some canvas, a latch hook and old clothes.
Reuse Old T-Shirts to Make a Quilt
How to Reuse Old Clothes as a Quilt
If you are like me and you still have clothes from high-school, this is a great way to put them to use and clear out your closet. Make them into something you can use... a Quilt. Pure genius and this looks so amazing with the right border.
How to Make a Dress from an Old T-shirt - Reuse Old Clothes to Make New Clothes :)
Here is a quick Youtube video that explains how to make a dress from an old tshirt. The t-shirt can have logos on it, as long as the logo doesn't show through to the opposite side. Also, avoid old t-shirts with stains or holes.
Pillow Made from an Old T-Shirt
Another perfect use for an old t-shirt that you can't bare to part with, but has seen better days. That t-shirt may have a hole, or no longer be in style, but it will still make a perfect pillow.
Placemats and Napkins
Recycle Sheets or Table Clothes to Make New Table Wear
Old Sheets, or table clothes that are worn can be transformed into placemats and napkins for your table. Any clothing that you wish to reuse or recycle can be made into placemats, but old sheets and table clothes usually have enough yardage to make matching sets. Just cut any seams or worn parts of the fabric off and use as you would use new material. You'll also need some bias tape and a sewing machine.
Have You Ever Considered Making Fabric Roses?
Reuse Old Clothes to Make a Fabric Rose
The rose in the photo was made using old blue jeans, but you can make a fabric rose from any type of fabric. All you need is a pair of scissors and some craft glue. Fabric roses are very quick and easy to make. A perfect craft for a young girl.
A Wreath Made from Scraps
A holiday wreath make from old clothing scraps in select colors can put your old clothes to good use and help you decorate for the holidays at the same time.
Reuse Old Clothes to Make Glad Rags
Another Practical Way to Reuse Old Clothes
This may seem out of the ordinary to some, but if you have greened your life to the point that you've given up everything disposable, glad rags are a must for women. You can recycle any old cotton clothes, towels, or rags in your home to make glad rags. Cotton tends to be the most absorbent of all materials, so it's a good idea to consider the type of fabric you are using before making these.
T-Shirt Latch Hook Rug
Here is another rug that can be made from t-shirts, but it doesn't require sewing. Do you remember those latch hook kits that you used to buy at the store? Well, this is the same idea except instead of yarn, we use t-shirts.
Laura has a very detailed explanation of how she made this latch hook rug on her blog. I've seen it done other places, but other instructions were not so detailed. Laura dyed the fabric the color she wanted before starting and made a very large rug.
This recycled t-shirt project appeals to me for 3 reasons: First, who doesn't have old t-shirts that they need to get rid of? Second, can't we all use extra rugs? Third, there is no sewing. Hooray!
More Ways to Reuse Old Clothes
- Recycled Coat Messenger Bag
Recycled Coat Messenger Bag - Recycle an old parka into a bag.
- Get The Most Out Of Your Clothes Dryer: Make Paper Out of Laundry Lint : Planet Green
While many of us instinctively know the eco-merits of line drying our clothes, for many reasons we still use clothes dryers most of the time. Do I?
- Uses for Dryer Lint, Dryer Lint Dust Bunnies, Dryer Lint Clay
Uses for dryer lint, including how to make dryer lint clay and pictures of the common dryer lint bunny.
You'll Find More Amazing Ideas to Reuse Old Clothes in These Books
If you enjoyed the idea of reusing old clothes, you'll find lots of inspiration in these craft reuse books from Amazon.com.
TShirt into a Handbag
What do YOU do with Your Old Clothes?
Tell us what you think of reusing old clothes.