Seven Ways to Re-use Clothing
Re-using clothing can be a fun, creative, stylish hobby. Shop thrift stores, second-hand stores, or even in your own closet. There is a wealth of textiles, embellishments, and accessories to re-use. Try to imagine the potential. Here are seven ways to get you started.
1. Re-use clothing by using them for dusting rags. Okay, this is an easy one. Old t-shirts, sweatshirts, and even socks make wonderful dust cloths. Cut shirts into 12′ by 12′ pieces and use socks as they are.
Use this simple recipe and keep dusting natural.
Homemade Dusting Spray
1 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons walnut oil
2 cups water
Pour all three ingredients into an empty spray bottle. Shake well and spritz onto recycled dust cloth. Use to wipe furniture.
2. Re-use clothing by making homemade rice bag hand warmers and heating pads. This project is a simple one, even for kids. My girls made some of these for themselves, liked them so much, then decided to make some for Christmas gifts.
Use cotton fabrics, canvas, we’ve even used flannel. Cut fabric into desired shape/size (squares are easiest to work with). 3 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ is good for hand warmers and and 4 1/2″ by 18 1/2″ is a good size for a neck ‘heating pad.’ You can make it like you would a pillow, only smaller. Put right sides together. Sew all the way around, using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Lock your thread at both ends and leave a hole for filling. Turn it right side out fill with rice or beans (we used rice). Hand-stitch the hole shut using a ladder stitch, as shown here: Positively Splendid.
Simpler way: Sew wrong sides together so the seams are on the outside. Sew all the way around, using a quarter-inch seam allowance…just like above. This time, when you go to close the hole, put it under sewing machine and sew it shut.
Instructions: Warm your hand warmers in the microwave for 15 seconds, hold in your hands and warm up your hands.
Warm your ‘heating pad’ for 1-3 minutes (depending on microwave wattage).
*Do not heat either for longer amounts than recommended, as it may cause burns on skin. Always check the temperature of the rice bags before using or giving them to children.
Bonus: They can also be used as cold packs. Place in freezer for 12 hours.
3. Re-use clothing by unraveling a sweater and knitting or crocheting something new. Who likes textiles, but doesn’t like yarn? I can’t knit or crochet, yet, but I love yarn. I have quite the collection. I had a group of ladies over to my house last week to teach/learn to knit. It was a Knitting Party. I learned just enough to give me the ‘fever.’ I think I want to do it again next month.
Yarn can get expensive. Ever thought of unraveling old sweaters as a source of yarn? With very little effort or cost, an old sweater can become a beautiful skein of yarn for your next new knitting or crocheting project. Go to a thrift shop, pick up a few sweaters and start pulling some threads. Learn how to do that here: Neauveau Fiber Art
4. Re-use clothing by making hot pads. Here are two ways I have used to make hot pads. The first one is very easy and the second one is pretty simple too.
Easy, super simple scented hot pads (pictured above): Cut 5″ by 5″ squares from a medium-weight cotton fabric. Put wrong sides together and glue or sew a quarter inch seam around the outside, leaving a 2″ hole for ‘stuffing.’ Pour in 1/8 to 1/4 cup of potpourri. Be sure your hot pad is not over stuffed and can lie flat. Close the hole by gluing or sewing (the method you used before) it shut.
Still easy, but not super simple hot pads: It’s like making a mini quilt. Here is an easy tutorial of how to make a hot pad at The Fabric Mill Blog.
5. Re-use clothing by reconstructing them. Look deep into your closet, I know you have clothes you haven’t worn in a while. I know I do. Pull them out and open your imagination to something new. What would they be like reconstructed? Make bigger clothes into smaller clothes for kids. Make an old shirt or skirt into an ‘infinity’ scarf. A skirt can become an apron. Let your imagination run wild. Sew two garments together to make something new. Use one to embellish another. The possibilities are endless.
6. Re-use clothing by making throw pillows. Pillows are pretty easy to make. The best fabric to use is Medium-weight cotton, but you can use almost any fabric as long as it isn’t too stretchy. If it is a stretchy fabric, like jersey knit, be careful not to pull it as you are sewing. I really enjoy this project, because you can really personalize it to give as a gift or keep it as a memory for yourself.
My mom made my nephew a pillow out of a shirt his mother could barely get him to take off. It was a t-shirt with his favorite sports team logo on it. He would wear it as he watched the game. Now he can keep that shirt even longer.
I have made a mini quilt tops using matching fabrics from clothing my kids have out-grown. Then made a pillows from these.
7. Re-use clothing by making a quilt. This one is my personal favorite. Anyone who knows me, knows I love quilting and I will make a quilt out of almost anything. Save your used clothing- blue jeans, t-shirts, skirts, baby clothes (the most fun), anything that has been worn before (or not) can be made into a quilt. After you wear out your t-shirts from all your favorite sports team, make a lap quilt for game days. Gather all those holey blue jeans, cut them into squares, sew them together, and make a quilt. Gather all your favorite outfits from your kid’s childhood, an yes, cut them up and make a quilt. You will cherish it forever. Quilts can be passed down for generations.
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