Growing families get through more items of clothing than you might ever have thought possible, and it seems like your home is ever more full of discarded and unworn t-shirts, jumpers, shoes and fabrics.
Whether because of sentimental value or overwear, you can’t simply pack up all those old clothes and ship them off to the local charity shop or clothing bank. And it’s simply not sustainable to throw them straight in the bin after only a couple of month’s wear.
So how can the clothes you or your children never wear find a new place in your home away from your wardrobe?
Turn your t-shirts into throw pillows
This fab idea comes from Printsome, who create custom t-shirts, hoodies and more. As they write, “a t-shirt is the most comfortable thing, and so is a pillow, so why can’t they be one and the same?” What makes it particularly lovely is that recycling printed t-shirts as throw pillows gives them a new lease of life, meaning you can enjoy them as a reminder of that celebrated occasion forever.
It’s easy as pie! Simply flip the t-shirt inside out and draw out a square the size of your cushion lining, making sure you’ve captured the whole t-shirt logo.
Use a sewing machine to stitch three of the edges. If your cushion lining is big enough to fill the whole width of the t-shirt, your job is half done—just use the t-shirt’s seams!You can either trim the excess fabric or use it as a bit of extra padding. Flip the t-shirt back the right way and insert your cushion lining.
Sew up or stitch a zip into the fourth edge sealing the cushion, and voila!
For more creative ways to recycle your old t-shirts, check out the Printsome Blog.
Weave your denim into a rug
Denim is such a hard-wearing and functional material, it can be difficult to see it with any other purpose. But it’s the durability of denim that makes it all the more suited to reuse. Transform your old denim into a thing of beauty, with a beautifully woven and detailed rug.
It might take a good few pairs, but the great thing about this rug is that it can be extended as and when more or your denim gets beyond wearable. It’s a complex pattern, but the results are stunning.
Start by giving your jeans a good wash and a spin in the tumble drier if possible to help tighten the fibres. Then cut the legs off your jeans, and cutting long thin strips of about 3 inches wide.
Stitch your strips end to end to create long thin strips of denim—you’ll need three of these long strips. Gather the three together and plait them together to form thicker and flattened lengths of woven denim.
Snake your denim strip back and forth to the desired width or length of your rug. Alternatively, twist your strips around in a spiral so your rug grows outwards. Once you have the desired pattern or shape, begin tacking the strips together to hold everything secure.
Here’s the full, detailed guide to Whiplash Jeans on Sunshine’s blog.
Transform your wellies into flowerpots
Kids get through shoes quicker than anything, especially when you combine those quick-growing feet with the unbelievable wear and tear your children’s shoes seem to go through in no time at all. But that doesn’t mean they’re always fit for the bin. Why not give them a new purpose as cute little flowerpots?
The kids can get involved too, and the fun is never ending, as your welly-boot flowerpots have a long life of ahead of them helping your plants and flowers grow.
Start with an old welly or two, or any old boot for that matter! Pull out the insoles and give them a good scrub in some soapy water before leaving them to dry. If you want to decorate your welly planters with paint or beads, now is the time to do it!
When your boots are good and dry, use a hand drill to punch a couple of drainage holes in the bottom of the soles (adults only for this bit!).
Use a carrier bag to line the boot, and throw in a handful or gravel or small stones to create a thin layer at the bottom.
Fill your welly boot to about three quarters full with compost, before arranging your flowers or seeds and bedding them in with another good layer of soil. A good drink of water and your old wellies will be looking bloomin’ marvellous!
For 10 ways to repurpose work out shoes, take a look at the Recycle Nation blog.
Nip and tuck your jumpers into mittens
Whether you’ve grown out of it, or it’s suffered from a too-hot wash and come out shrunk, your old jumpers needn’t find their way onto the scrap heap. Let them keep you cosy and warm a little longer, but giving them a bit of plastic surgery and transforming your cosiest jumpers into beautifully crafty mittens.
Put your sewing skills to the test with this full mitten design, or stitch up some leg or wrist warmers from your old jumper’s sleeves.
Finding your favourite patterned section, place your hand on the bottom body of your old jumper so the elasticated bottom is positioned where your wrist will sit inside the glove.
Trace a wide mitten outline of your hand through two layers of jumper fabric. Remember to open out your thumb a little wider to make sure your new mittens are roomy enough.
Carefully cut out your mitten outline and, with your fabric back-to-back in the inside out position, carefully stitch both pieces together.
Flip your mittens the right way round and test the fit. Once you’ve tweaked your stitching and filled up any gaps, you can decorate your new mittens with any ribbon or pattern you fancy!
For more guidance on how to sew your own mittens, click onto A Beautiful Mess.
Change your baby’s blankets into wall art
Young children outgrow their baby blankets in just a few short years, but the sentimental meaning of beautiful comforters can last a lifetime. You wouldn’t want to throw them away, but what else can be done with a bunch of old rags that are just lying unused at the back of an overstuffed cupboard?
One great trend is to turn your baby’s favourite blanket or comforter into a beautiful bunting or wall hanging they can treasure forever.The perfect solution for big and small blankets alike, start by gathering your blankets and any other fabrics you have lying around.
Create a triangular stencil or template from a piece of old cardboard and use that to trim all your fabrics to size.
Stitch two triangles together, inside out, and turn the right way around just before you come to complete your edges. You can decorate your triangles at this stage with ribbons, letters and numbers. Why not spell out your child’s name?
Attach the individual triangles onto a length of string and you’re ready to hang. Trail your bunting across the ceiling, or create a statement piece of wall art with a shorter length.
For more ways to upcycle baby blankets, follow the Sewing Rabbit.