New Clothes From Old

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There is a lot of talk at the moment of ‘Fast Fashion’. And how damaging our constant demand for new clothes is on the environment. I personally don’t buy a lot of new clothes for myself these days. But maybe it is time to look to new ways of up-cycling your existing wardrobe into new pieces. Today I am going to make a Denim Skirt from old jeans leggings. To make new clothes from old.

Denim Skirt From Old Jeans


New Clothes From Old -Upcycling Old Clothes ⋆ Fast Fashion is so environmentally unsound. Here are some zero waste and ecologically friendly ideas on saving fabric. Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #lagom #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycleddenim #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas

In the USA alone, 13 million tonnes of clothing and textile waste go into landfill each year. Yes, people give some of their old clothes to charity shops and thrift stores. But a lot more goes into the bin.

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter of all the industries. Second only to the oil and energy industries themselves.

A thousand bathtubs of water per household are used to make the clothes that we wear. The industry uses 70 million barrels of oil each year to make polyester fibres. Polyester can take over 200 years to decompose in landfill. At the same time, microfibres from synthetic materials are part of the plastic that is entering our oceans and washing up on our shores.

New Clothes From Old -Upcycling Old Clothes ⋆ Fast Fashion is so environmentally unsound. Here are some zero waste and ecologically friendly ideas on saving fabric. Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #lagom #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycleddenim #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas

Buying less clothes is definitely part of the answer. Or buying classic clothes that do not date. Staying ‘fashionable’ when the shops change their collections every season is definitely a problem.

How much better would it be to upcycle your garments into new garments that are truly your style and unique? No one else would have the pieces that you have created. I decided to try and do just that.

Denim Leggings Into A New Skirt

In my house, the only real items I do need to replace on a regular basis are my jeans. Or jeggings to be more precise. My everyday staple wear, I probably go through about 3-4 pairs a year. They wear on the knees and in-between the legs.

But last year I decided that I didn’t want to keep throwing the old pairs away. So in the spirit of new clothes from old I decided to make my jeggings into a new skirt.

New Clothes From Old - old jeans

I took my old worn out jeans.

New Clothes From Old - close up old jeans

Which were definitely in need of some up-cycling love.

New Clothes From Old -cut legs off

I cut the legs off at knee level, and put the lower part of the legs to one side.

New Clothes From Old - trimmed inside leg

On the main part of the skirt, I trimmed the inside leg seam and worn section away.

New Clothes From Old - lower leg opened out

I then opened out the lower leg portions that I had cut away earlier. You can either cut off the hem and cut the non topstitched seam, or use a seam ripper to unpick carefully.

New Clothes From Old

I took one of the panels created from opening out the lower legs, and placed it in the V-shaped hole created when cutting the inner leg seams away. Pinning this into place, I then topstitched this into place with 2 lines of topstitch thread matched to the other topstitching on the denim.

New Clothes From Old - topstitching

I then repeated this with the back panel. On the inside I cut away the excess material with pinking shears to prevent fraying.

New Clothes From Old - back


And lastly I hemmed the whole skirt. Very little of the original jeans material wasted, and a new item for the wardrobe. Saves me buying a new skirt!

Child Leggings from An Old T-shirt

Another great idea is if you have an old t-shirt that you are thinking of throwing away, why not make some new child leggings? My post on How to Make Childrens’ Leggings Without Needing A Pattern will help you. And for children up to about 3 years of age, you can get a pretty decent set of play leggings out of an old t-shirt.

In May last year, E’s nursery announced that they were having a “Star Wars” Day on May the 4th. My gorgeous OH had been given a star wars pair of pyjamas, and had practically worn them out, but they were still good enough for me to use for a new pair of leggings for E. She got some nursery wear out of these before she grew out of them. And of course it meant that the life of the pyjamas was extended by a good 6 months.

New Clothes From Old = star wars leggings


A Little Girl’s Dress From An Old Shirt


My other half regularly clears out his wardrobe, and gets rid of a load of old shirts with grubby collars. There is nothing I like more than making new things out of these.

See my post on making a little girl’s dress from an old shirt here.


How To Upcycle A Shirt Into A Child's Dress - repurpose a man's shirt into something cute and summery. This step by step sewing tutorial shows you how to make an old shirt into a cute little girl's dress. Reuse old clothes.Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycledclothes #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas #recycleclothes #upcycledshirt


And if we can’t make new clothes from old ones? Well, maybe we need to start designing clothes that are easier to recycle. Buying clothes that can be composted at the end of it’s life. Or that can be crafted into other things such as rag rugs.

In Finland, they have even developed a material made from the native birch trees! It is not just the spirit of Lagom, but it really will save the environment.

New Clothes From Old -Upcycling Old Clothes ⋆ Fast Fashion is so environmentally unsound. Here are some zero waste and ecologically friendly ideas on saving fabric. Reuse, repurpose and recycle fabric with these thoughts and patterns. Upcycle your old clothing and cloth to make fabulous new things #lagom #upcycling #sustainableliving #sustainablefashion #sustainable #sustainability #upcycling #upcycleclothes #upcycleddenim #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas


What do you think of making a denim skirt from jeans? Do you think that it is a project that you could try in your life? I would love to hear your thoughts. Do share what you think below, or find me on social media.

Enjoyed this? Why not read Lagom Your Life. Part 1 ; The Kitchen

or Lagom Your Life. Part 2; The Bedroom

And make this year A Year To Clear!

padded fabric Christmas trees

28 Replies to “New Clothes From Old”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you! If you were going to throw them out then what is there to lose?

  1. Kaye says:

    Hi Jo and others, if you have old clothes that you do not or cannot recycle. Oxfam have a service called waste saver, whereby, anything that is deemed unsaleable is sent elsewhere to be utilised (and kept out of landfill) to help others. Many what we consider worn out is considered nearly new in parts of the third world. Ask, but if willing your local Oxfam can put these things to waste saver, and keep it out of landfill.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      This is a fabulous idea Kay. Looking online it does look as though Oxfam sorts all of its donations this way. So any worn clothes will be going in their clothing banks from me in the future!

  2. Q says:

    Dear Jo,
    I very much admire your sewing skills. I can only sew in a straight line so curtains are my limit. Not ideal unless you are a member of the Von Trapp family.
    Love from Q x

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The skirt is pretty much all straight line sewing. It could soon become one of your ‘Favourite Things’!

  3. Fiona Cambouropoulos says:

    So clever, sewing has always been a real weakness for me but I’m in awe of anyone who can be creative with a sewing machine. #ABloggingGoodTime

  4. Michelle Kellogg says:

    That is an interesting idea! I am not thrifty or crafty in this way so this wouldn’t work for me but I do love the idea of buying only environmentally friendly clothing. Which is hard to come by now that I know just how much the fashion industry is damaging our planet. I didn’t know that but now that I do, it is something to look further into. #AnythingGoes

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      So much of the clothes out there are synthetic or not environmentally friendly. And people just not value clothes now they can buy them for a few £$ at Target or Primark.

  5. Jean | Delightful Repast says:

    Jo, I love it! I just read that lots of charity shops in Australia are refusing to take donations of clothes because they have way too many. So people who shop too much and buy too much, thinking they’ll be doing a good deed down the road when they donate them, might have to reconsider. Upcycling! #triumphanttales

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I just think it is a crime to throw good fabric away. Luckily i have a 3 year old to help use my cut up old clothes, but I do think that composting is going to be an important consideration moving forwards

  6. Jo Boyne says:

    I honestly would recommend sewing to everyone. You don’t have to be amazing at it, even for repairs it is worth it. Thank you so much for reading and such lovely comments.

  7. Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

    What a cute little skirt! Like you, jeans are the very things which I go through too. And those jegging seams love to wear away at the best of times. This would be so fun to try! Thank you for bringing all the creativity to the #dreamteam xx

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      The skirts are great over thick tights or leggings, and perfect in summer obviously. Thank you for reading.

  8. Tammy Miller says:

    I did not think about taking an old pair of jeans and turn them into a skirt. I have not sewn anything in a long time but here is my chance this year to do so. I like the idea.

  9. Jaki says:

    Very impressive! I wouldn’t know where to start! Well done you. Thanks for sharing with #TriumphantTales. PS. So sorry for not getting back to your email about the badge, it was a bit of a crazy week last week with one thing and another. I can see you’ve got it now, but I will look into the code when I get a chance.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jaki. Just doing a little bit more to be frugal and ecologically sound too!

  10. Cheryl | TimeToCraft says:

    I love taking old clothes and making new. It forces you to be really creative. Your skirt is a good example where most of the fabric is still really good, but would be thrown away with the rest of the garment. Lovely skirt and leggings. #MMBC

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thanks Cheryl, I guess I just don’t like throwing things away.

  11. Stephanie 139a says:

    I’m terrible for saving old clothes – always thinking I’ll do something else with them, and finally I’ve started to do that. MOH who wasn’t sure, is now on board which is good news! Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  12. Morgan Prince says:

    I wish I had the talent to make new clothes out of old – I’d be sorted. I’ve got so many old clothes that I just seem to be storing. Unfortunately I wouldn’t know where to start! Your new skirt looks great. 🙂
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you for reading. It is such a great hobby to pick up!


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