Upcycling clothes

Guide to Upcycling Clothing – Making something New from Something Old

Upcycling clothes

Every year our planet produces countless tons of garbage. Somewhere in those tons a good portion of it is old clothing. While many are very good about taking their unwanted clothing to their local Good Will, others simply discard them with the rest of the household trash. Enter the latest craze known as upcycling.

The term ‘upcycling’ was coined by the authors of the book Cradle to Cradle; Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough and Michael Braungart and essentially means taking something that was meant for the landfill and turning it into something totally new and usable. This will of course reduce waste and be better for the world in which we live.

The great thing with upcycling clothing is that you are giving your old garments a whole new purpose in life. After they have covered you body for many months or years, it doesn’t mean their usefulness is done. Of course it is always nice to donate some clothing, but many times clothing can get torn, stained, or is just un-wearable and these garments are the perfect candidates for upcycling.

Here are some easy and great ways you can get new use out of your old cloths:

•    Wrapping presents: The oriental community has practiced this for some time now. Instead of using costly wrapping paper, which accounts for many trees being cut down, try using some old clothing. Old silk shirts or any other kind of softer material can be cut up to make a unique and eco-friendly wrap that will have your friends and family dazzle in delight.
•    Quilts: Old jeans are best for this but really any material can be used. If you are handy with the needle, you can make some really unique pieces. If you are not handy with the needle, it is not all that hard to learn how to be. Who knows, you may get a fun new hobby out of the deal.
•    Rags for your car: Nothing makes for a nicer rag when detailing your car like an old cotton shirt. The nice thing about using an old shirt for rags is that you can cut the shirt up into various sizes and accomplish different task with them. These rags can also be washed and used again and again. When they are too harsh to use for detailing your car, upcycle them again and use them when performing tasks like checking the oil level in your car or cleaning up big messes like spilled oil or other types of fluids.
•    Give new life to old cloths: If you have kids, this one is especially fun. You can take old tattered clothing and have a day where you cut and sew and paste and before you know it, you will have a whole bunch of new and unique cloths for your kids to wear that they designed. Who knows, your kids might even start a new trend at school.

The limits to upcycling clothing are endless and really only stop with your imagination. Upcycling is not only good for the environment, but it can be fun as well. Everything deserves a second chance; even old cloths.

2 thoughts on “Guide to Upcycling Clothing – Making something New from Something Old

  1. Scrollwork

    With a little imagination, there are wondrous things that can be created from thrift store clothes as well as clothes from your own closet and from your friends’. For inspiration, just type in “upcycled clothing” on etsy.com and you’ll find beautiful party dresses, wedding frocks, purses, wrist cuffs, banners and other textile art.

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