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Right back at the start of this year I decided to have a big clear out. I gave myself a year to clear. I also came around to accepting that I would only have the one child. And I decided to start trying to lose weight again. So there are clothes coming out of my closets left right and centre. Old clothes from Elizabeth that I had put aside “just in case’ I got pregnant again. Ditto maternity clothes. Some of these were new / good enough to sell on eBay (more on that in this post). Some I could give to friends. But what about the others that were left? Here are some great ideas on upcycling old clothes!
Upcycling Old Clothes
I love finding new ways of using up all the old clothes I have instead of sending them to landfill. One of my favourite TV programmes features a task that involves upcycling old clothes or objects to make new outfits or things. They make dog coats out of tents, dresses out of net curtains, and punk outfits out of tartan garments.
I’ve done a little upcycling of some old clothes of mine before. Making a old pair of jeggings into a denim skirt, and making a pair of leggings for Star Wars Day (May 4th be with you) out of my partners old pyjama pants.
The leggings were actually made by using my technique for making children leggings without a pattern. My partner was getting rid of some old sleep pants, and I needed a Star Wars Day outfit for E.
In fact this is a perfect way of reusing old adult jersey garments, just cut some children’s leggings from the fabric. Even if the leggings are only used for playing out or nursery, you are getting a few more months from the fabric before it needs to go into the bin.
Not Recycling Or Upcycling Old Clothes Is A Problem!
Our clothes fixation is really impacting on the planet. In the UK we buy nearly 27kg of clothes each every year. And throw away 235 million items of clothing into landfill. A lot of that material just sits there. Some of the man made fibres won’t rot for 200 years or more.
So the longer we can get some use out of these clothes the better.
Recently a close friend asked me if I wanted some garments that she was going to donate or dispose of. As these were Indian garments, she doubted that her local charity shop would take them. But they were too lovely to just throw away.
I accepted the challenge, and she gave me two large bags full of the most beautiful clothes. Beaded and sequinned, most had no size labels, so I could understand why she had asked me.
There was also a lot of cotton lawn material in amongst the clothes, which is perfect for making little girl summer dresses. So using the same modified pattern that I had used to make E’s Wonder Woman dress, I made a little dress using some of the fabric (that you can see in the top left of the picture above) This was a yellow and aqua sequinned tunic with some yellow cotton trousers. There was enough fabric to make this little dress, plus a few pieces left over for other small items.
I hope my friend who gave me the material likes this dress I made for her little girl. And there is still lots more material to upcycle.
I Also Love To Upcycle Shirts
My other half often cleans out his closet of work shirts. There is nothing better than finding ways of reusing all this cotton fabric.
Other Sewing Ways Of Reusing Fabric
During my clear out of E’s old baby clothes I found a load of bibs, flannels and burp cloths. I also always have a lot of towels to reuse. Towelling is so versatile to upcycle.
And see my post on other ways to reuse fabric scraps – I love to make all sorts of items out of my clothes, from household cloths to cloth face masks. It is just amazing all the useful things that you can make from cloth that you were going to throw away.
But What If You Can’t Sew?
There is still lots of things that you can do with old clothes. One of my favourite things to do with old jersey dresses and leggings is to cut them into thin strips to make a rag rug. It is so easy, and you end up with a really lovely item for your home.
Or you could make a rag wreath, and not just for Christmas! Again, this is a totally no sew craft using strips of old material to make a fabulous decorative item.
Why not try reusing, repurposing or upcycling old clothes yourself?
Do you think this is a concept that you could implement in your own life? I really do think that we need to change as much as we can to zero waste right now.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or find me on social media at the links above.
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