Let’s face it: clothes are expensive. When they’re outgrown or worn out, it’s time to replace them, but don’t you just hate to throw pricey pieces of fabric in the trash? I’ve got a little secret for you: You don’t have to pitch these old garments. Instead, you can repurpose and reuse old clothes. Read on for the inspiration you’ll need for getting crafty with the clothes at the back of your closet.
Make a Shopping Bag
Even if you can’t sew, you can turn an old shirt into a handy tote bag. Form the top opening and two handles by cutting off the sleeves and the neckline. Then, turn the shirt inside out and cut a fringe along the bottom. Knotting this fringe together is all it takes to close up the bottom of the bag and fashion a sturdy tote for groceries.
Unlike many reusable shopping bags, these are easy to clean. You can toss them in both the washing machine and the dryer.
Tie a Colorful Rug
If you have some crocheting skills, you can turn fabric scraps into attractive throw rugs. Even if you’ve never crocheted before, a rag rug provides a good opportunity to learn this art.
By making your own rugs, you can choose the materials you use for a customized color scheme. Flannel and jersey are two soft materials that make comfortable rugs. Denim is another good choice. To get started, cut the material into strips that are about 1 inch wide–thinner for heavy fabric and thicker for lightweight garments. Use chain and slip stitches to connect this homemade “yarn” into a rug.
Stitch a Quilt
Even if you’re a novice sewer, with time and patience, you can turn old t-shirts into a cozy quilt. This is a great way for you or a loved one to snuggle up with priceless memories. 30 shirts laid in a five-by-six arrangement will make a good-sized quilt.
Tees aren’t the only old garments that can be made into quilts. Broken-in jeans make throws that are both sturdy and attractive. Men’s dress shirts provide a more traditional quilting fabric, and a blanket made from outgrown baby clothes is a cute way to preserve memories.
Whip Up a Fashionable Accessory
Two cuts and some stretching are all that it takes to turn an old tee into a comfy infinity scarf. Use fabric scissors to remove the bottom seam from a shirt. Make another cut along the length of the shirt to remove everything above the underarms. Strech the remaining section of material as much as possible, and it will become a soft, loopable scarf.
Sew Clothes for Your Little One
Afer removing the worn-out parts from an adult garment, you can use the remaining pieces to craft child-sized clothing, particularly if you have sewing skills. With a strip of elastic, an old sweater is fairly simple to turn into a pair of pants for a tot.
If you have more advanced sewing knowledge, try crafting a girl’s dress out of a button-down dress shirt.
Create a Crafty Kids’ Toy
If you have a youngster who loves playing with toy cars and trucks, you can use old jeans to create a set of roads for the cars to drive on. Cut the worn-out pants into straight strips that are approximately six inches wide. You can also cut curved or S-shaped pieces of the same width. Use acrylic paint to decorate each piece with a dashed yellow line down the middle.
Children can lay the pieces end-to-end to form their own maze of roads. The denim pieces lie flat, so they can be stored in a small box. They’re also portable, so they make good on-the-go entertainment.
Frame a Wall Decoration
If you have t-shirts with eye-catching designs, consider turning them into wall hangings. This is a great way to preserve memorabilia from concerts and travels.
One simple method involves stretching the shirt over an art canvas. Spray adhesive and staples will hold the shirt in place.
If you’d prefer a framed look, shop your local craft store for frames designed especially for t-shirts. One advantage to this approach is that you don’t have to cut the shirt up to turn it into a wall hanging.
Shorten Worn-out Pants
When your favorite pair of jeans wears out in the knee, give it a new destiny as a pair of shorts. Turning jeans into cut-off shorts is pretty easy, but here’s an insider tip: Start your cut at the inseam and angle upward as you move toward the outer edge. Cutting on the diagonal gives the finished product a more attractive appearance.
You can also turn old jeans into a pair of capris with rolled cuffs. To create a 1.5-inch cuff, cut the jeans 3 inches longer than you want the final product to hit your legs. Roll the cuff twice, and the capris should land at just the right spot.
What’s your favorite way to get a second life out of old clothes? Personally, I love to turn holey jeans into capris. Leave a comment below to let me know which of these projects you’re going to try first. Then, share this article with a friend who will get crafty alongside you.