Recycling Clothes

by Julie Davis


Recycling clothes is a great way for frugal families to save money. Hand me downs, Goodwill, consignment finds and garage sales make getting great clothes at a fraction of retail price easy. But what about those clothing items that seem to be permanently ruined or worn beyond repair. You can recycle them, too. Here are a few ideas on how to do this.

  1. Make a bed spread using old jeans. I recently made a bed spread for my daughter's first big girl bed. I am not much of a sewer but it was easy. Simply cut squares out of old worn out jeans that are no longer wearable. Sew the squares together in strips the width of the bed spread you desire. Then sew the strips together to the proper length. Sew this quilt top to an appropriate size old flannel sheet - right sides facing each other. Then turn it inside out. Secure the quilt top to the sheet further by tying pearl cotton bows on every other square. This quilt is thin yet very heavy and warm. You can also make great potholders using old jeans and thick batting.

  2. Dye stained clothes a darker color.

  3. Jazz up plain and stained sweatshirts - great for babies and young children. To cover stains on sweatshirts or t-shirts or just to make a cheap boring bargain find more exciting, use ribbons, lace, pockets and appliques. Make your own appliques out of scrap material, cut material into simple shapes like flowers, hearts, trucks and geometric shapes. Then sew appliques onto shirt (folding edges under to prevent raveling) using a blanket stitch, covering any stains. You can also cover stains by creating a pocket and sewing it to shirt. Sew lace or buttons around a collar to jazz it up. Or just pull a piece of ribbon through the shirt and tie a bow, or two, or ten. These techniques have salvaged many .25 and .10 garage sale finds that would be perfect "if it weren't for that little stain".

  4. Make mittens out of old sweatshirts. Create your own pattern to fit child's hand. A little sewing and some elastic and you have great, one of a kind mittens. Add buttons, patches or homemade appliques for decoration.

  5. Make throw pillows out of your young child's favorite outgrown shirts and/or baby clothes. Simply turn the garment inside out and sew up all openings, leaving a few inches which you will insert stuffing through. Next turn the garment right side out and stuff it. Then sew that opening shut.

  6. Old sheets and table cloths can be used as organizers. Cut the fabric to the desired size and hem. Then sew on pockets to hold shoes, toys, stuffed animals, jewelry, whatever you want to organize. You can also make great drawstring bags for organizing toys and many other uses. Cut material to twice the desired width size and fold in half, inside out. Sew side and bottom together and turn right side out. Hem the top of bag about 5/8 inches leaving two openings to insert drawstring through. These are especially great for holding toddlers treasures such as blocks.
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