Upcycling Old Clothes

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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

 

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

 

 

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.

 

Upcycling Old Clothes

 

Find out how I made leggings into the skirt here

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.

And If You Have Little One’s Leggings

They make great handbags!

See here how I up cycled my little girl’s leggings to make a shoulder bag!

inside top of bag detail

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

up cycled dressUpcycling 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 #zerowaste #fastfashion #zerowastelifestyle #ecofriendlyideas

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.

See how you could make a little girl’s dress from an man’s old shirt.

 

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

 

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. 

See all the ways you can be recycling your old towels…

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. 

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

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.

Find my tutorial here.

Upcycling Old Clothes - rag rug

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.

Find my tutorial here

Festive Rag Wreath - finished

Why not try reusing, repurposing or upcycling old clothes yourself?

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

See my post here for more ways to declutter a zero waste way

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.

Why not pin this post for later?

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

 

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

Cuddle Fairy

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

27 Replies to “Upcycling Old Clothes”

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. I am sure I will be adding to this in the future too!

      Reply
  1. Ruth - Mummy and the Mexicans says:

    This is something I keep wanting to do – I keep old clothes with fabric that I like and still haven’t done anything with them. Some ideas I have include a little purse or makeup bag, and cushion covers or pillowcases. I don’t have a sewing machine though, which makes it a bit more difficult! #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      My scrap bags are overflowing just like you with lovely reclaimed fabric. But I do hope both our stashes get used!

      Reply
      1. Ann Harper says:

        Love the ideas for recycling. Wish everyone would attempt to reuse clothing in one way or another. I had no idea the amount of waste it created until reading fashion posts. Been making little girl play princess dresses out of tee shirt for granddaughter and friends. Sort of a pain and time consuming but, very social and comfrontable.

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          The only real downside to up cycling is that I do have a massive pile of all manner of cloth in a corner of one room. But I haven’t really bought clothes for myself very much at all in about 2 years.I will NEVER buy wash cloths/ dusters or cleaning cloths again. And that kind of thinking echoes what our parents/grandparents thought, and ultimately is so much better for the planet.

          Reply
    2. Ann harper says:

      I have made my granddaughter a lot of princess play dresses out of old tee shirts and men’s dress shirts. When she out grew some of them they were donated to my daughter ‘s friend that runs a daycare for the kids to play dress up. The only complaint was where are the boy dress up clothes lol so I got busy and made a few capes and vests with superhero symbols. Made them out of old tee shirts and felt(which I did have to buy). Thanks for the post.

      Reply
  2. Bread says:

    I think my cats would love a rag rug lo. Great post. I’m going to forward that legging post onto my wife. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Reply
  3. Eilidh Horder says:

    All such great ideas. I’m no sewer but loved reading your post. You have inspired me to at least give it a try. Sweet dress you made from the beautiful Indian fabric. Thanks for the lovely ideas 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      What a brilliant idea. I am thinking of making my next worn out jeans into a sun hap for E, and have seen a great jacket idea…

      Reply
  4. Lana says:

    These are some great ideas!! They all look lovely. I haven’t thought about some of these. We usually donate to charity or friends/family. I love the wreath idea! Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS

    Reply
  5. Ann says:

    What lovely ideas – I do hate waste and this avoids that too. Thanks for linking to #kcacols

    Reply
  6. Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin says:

    Some lovely ideas here on how to upcycle/reuse old clothes, and the points you make about the environmental impact of the clothing industry are very valid and important. I tend to use all my clothes until they are in threads, pretty much, and I never have an excess of money to spend on clothes so I feel okay with my own contribution to not being a fashion eco-burden 😉
    I also don’t like throwing fabric away, as they can be used for other things, such as polishing, wash cloths, crafts projects etc. x #KCACOLS
    Malin – Sensational Learning with Penguin recently posted…Painting Wet-On-Wet: A Mindful Sensory Art ExperienceMy Profile

    Reply
  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi Jo,
    wonderful ideas for sewers and non-sewers alike.
    I’ve endeavoured over the last 2 years to not buy anything brand new. I’m known as a bit of a womble and buy from charity shops, jumble sales and have clothes passed on to me which if not suitable will remake into something else.
    Currently loving turning men’s shirts into dresses, tops and skirts. Will embroider and jazz up anything a little dull or boring from my bits and bobs stash. Have also bought a few patterned good quality quilt covers from charity shops which will make 3 dresses easily. Will crochet rugs for bathroom with any remnants. I have so many idea’s and don’t haste to upcycle my waste!!! keep up the good work xx

    Reply
  8. Nogi Bjj says:

    Thanks for this article.Thanks for your advice. I really thank once again for such good creative writing. keep it up. This is the perfect blog for anyone who really wants to find out. Upcycling old clothes is great idea to recycle clothes.

    Reply
  9. Helen says:

    Hi Jo,
    Visiting from the Little Cottage link party 🙂
    Thanks for sharing these lovely ideas. I hate to admit it, but I’m hoarding old clothes with fabrics that I like in the hopes of turning them into something usable one day. I’ve made cloth napkins to replace the paper napkins, a doorstop, pincushions, travel kits, a kitten pencil case, and a ton of bookmarks and scrunchies but I’ve barely made a dent in the pile 🙂
    Helen recently posted…How to Make an Owl Doorstop Out of Old JeansMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I must admit, I too have a large pile of clothes still to go at. But it is still so much better than them going to landfill! Keep on denting that pile, and thank you for reading!

      Reply
  10. Bardley Martyn says:

    This is something I keep wanting to do – I keep old clothes with fabric that I like and still haven’t done anything with them. Some ideas I have include a little purse or makeup bag, and cushion covers or pillowcases. I don’t have a sewing machine though, which makes it a bit more difficult!
    I have read your article complete. I found it very informative and useful.This is really a helpful article.
    So Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  11. BJJ Bear says:

    Great post, Jo!

    I’ve got some old brazilian jiu-jitsu gis (kimonos) laying around. Can’t donate them because they’re a little worn out, but don’t want to toss them either (emotional value). Maybe you have any ideas on what to do with them?

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Oooh, that is tricky. If they have emotional value, are you not better keeping them in storage? Are they pure cotton? If they are cotton I would consider cutting up and reusing in so many different ways around the house. That is, if you want to cut them up. You could always make a hotchpotch garment by cutting off the best part of each worn garment to make a whole new one? Do let me know what you do…

      Reply

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