Free sewing ideas for recycled clothes

Written by anne baley
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Being frugal is sometimes synonymous with being creative. If you have some old clothes that are worn, have holes or are missing buttons, don't send them to the trash. There are dozens of ways to creatively recycle clothes into outerwear, decorative items and household goods. After frugally transforming a few items, you may find yourself haunting thrift stores for used clothes, just to make more creative items.

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Blue Jeans

Blue jeans may have been creatively recycled into more items than anything else. You can cut off the lower legs and create shorts. Cut off even more of the bottom and sew a seam across the entire width and you have created a purse. Sew a strip of leg material to the sides of the purse and you will have a strap. Additional leg material can be formed into wallets and coin purses. Stuff and sew the bottom half of a leg and you have made a bolster pillow for your bed or couch. Sew together two back pockets, add a Velcro closure, and you have a cell phone pouch or small carrying bag.


Old worn-out sweaters can be thought of as pieces of knit fabric. As long as you carefully sew the seams to prevent the knitting from unravelling, you can sew almost anything knit from this fabric. Cut out mitten shapes and sew them together for colourful hand warming. Use the body portion of a sweater to make pillow covers for your couch. Sleeves can be cut into arm warmers, and the very bottom of the sleeve can be cut off and the top gathered to create a baby hat. Larger sleeve parts can be treated the same way to make a hat for a child or adult.


The classic recycling project for socks is to make sock puppets. You children may have fun doing this project, but there are more ways to reuse a sock. These knitted tubes can be transformed into arm warmers by cutting off the toe and making a hole where your thumb will go. Use your sock as an expandable change "jar." Sock legs can be cut and sewn much like sweater material to make small purses and cell phone holders.


Woven cotton shirts can be recycled in many creative ways. Cotton fabric is the basis for thousands of different quilt patterns, so cut out any good fabric pieces and save them for quilt making. Cut off any buttons on the shirt to save for other craft or sewing projects. Attractive flower prints or plaids can be easily sewn into a reusable soft lunch bag. A shirt that is badly stained on the front can still be saved by cutting it into a dickey and used under sweaters in cooler weather.

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