With the seasons changing, I always like to go through my clothes and refine my wardrobe. I’m learning more and more to keep only those items I really love, and to go for timeless pieces that I like wearing season after season.
I always end up with a pile of clothes that don’t work for me – they are either old & faded, don’t fit properly or just not to my taste anymore. While I used to stuff them in some bags and recycle or donate them, I’ve learned that you can often get a lot more use out of your old clothing and other old fabrics you might have.
Today I’d like to share some ideas to hopefully inspire you & see with a different eye. I find it so rewarding and fun to come up with a new way to use an old piece of fabric. It’s unexpected, creative and unique. For some of these, you’ll need a bit of sewing know-how and a sewing machine, while there’s others without any sewing involved.
So, let’s get started!
7 Creative Ways To Reuse Clothes & Fabrics
1. Tailor or Create Something New
You can repurpose a lot of clothing items into another piece of clothing for yourself. If you still like the fabric & colour of the piece, you can get creative and make something else out of it. The most well known one might be to cut your old jeans into shorts for summer, but there’s so much more you can do. Especially with trends going so quick, some pieces can look quickly outdated. A little adjusting can make them looks fresh again for the new season: changing the neckline, shortening the sleeves or overall length or even just changing the buttons.
2. Clothes Swap
By far the easiest way to find a new home for your clothing – organise a clothes swap with some friends! The best part about this is that you’ll probably return home with some great new items for yourself. It helps if you get some friends together who have a similar style to you & you should have some success! It’s a great way to reuse clothing that is still nice but, for whatever reason, doesn’t suit you anymore.
3. Baby/Childrens Clothes
This is my personal favourite as I’ve got a young daughter. They grow so quickly and I try to limit the amount of clothing I buy for her. Whenever there’s a piece of clothing or bedding that we don’t use anymore, I’ll pick out the nice fabrics and turn it into something new for her – dresses, leggings, t-shirts & hairbands. Because of the small sizes there’s often enough fabric in an adults size item to make something totally new.
This is really fun & you don’t need to be a great sewer to make a piece of kids clothing. Some items are real easy! I’ve made leggings out of an old skirt & a beautiful dress out of a pillowcase.
4. Cloth Napkins
These are super simple yet so effective. Get yourself some cloth napkins and you’ll never have to buy paper napkins again! If you are conscious about your waste, than this is the perfect project for you. You will need some bigger piece of material for this, like a sheet, some pillow cases, curtain or big men’s shirt. If you don’t want to, you don’t even need to sew them! I wrote a whole post about this, including a tutorial on how to make your own.
5. Fabric Bunting
It’s very easy to make your own fabric bunting, and they’ll last you for years! I made some to celebrate the birth of our baby girl & a year later they are still up…It brings playfulness in our home and I love the look of them! I went for soft, natural colours to suit any occasion and used some old sheets. These were made using a sewing machine, but there’s many different ways to make them. Anyone can do this and you could use old t-shirts, bedding or tea towels – pretty much anything you’d like the colour/pattern of!
6. Gift Wrapping
This doesn’t require any sewing and is such a fun way to reuse your old fabrics. Cloth gift wrapping comes from an old Japanese technique called ‘furoshiki’ and when I found out about it I quickly fell in love. It’s so simple, effective & beautiful. I also love how this gift wrap can be used over and over again. Check out this post for more details and a how to.
7. Reusable Wipes
Perfect for any families with babies or children, and for anyone still using disposable cleaning wipes around the home. Disposable wipes are a form of single use plastic (something I learned the other day), so by replacing those with a washable option you save a lot of waste! Use old towelling, blankets or mens shirts and cut them with some pinking scissors. For a more durable option, you can sew around the edges or double up the fabric. Wash them along with your towels and reuse for as long as they last you!
These are all things I’ve done myself and find relevant to my lifestyle. There’s tons more ideas out there & I would love to hear from you if you reuse your old clothing! Leave a comment and let’s inspire each other 🙂