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How to recycle your old clothes

Clothes are ideal recyclable items. Read on for tips on how you can cut, sew and dye your clothes to transform them into something new.


clothes recycling

Planning on decluttering your wardrobe? There’s a lot you can do to breathe new life into old clothes that don’t involve throwing them away. Why not give clothes recycling a chance by turning damaged or shabby garments into something new? You save money, it helps the environment, and you get to flex your creativity skills. Here are recycling clothes ideas to get you started.

Keep your iron close by when you are creating new hems or cutting fabric. An iron makes it easier to flatten fabric and create folds that are easier to measure, cut and sew.

Turn dresses into tops

If you have a dress that looks gorgeous but is too short, transform it into top. With a few careful snips, folds and a new hem, your recycled dress will become a new piece of clothing. Once you’ve thrown it into the wash, using your favourite laundry detergent like Omo, it will come out of your washing machine smelling and looking like it’s brand new.

Ideas for old jeans

Jeans are versatile items of clothing. If you’ve noticed a hole in the legs of your jeans, why not restyle them as ripped jeans? If they’ve become baggy over the years, you can shrink them until they’re the right size by boiling them. If the legs are damaged, tailor them into a pair of shorts or a skirt. Denim is also an ideal material for making tote bags and other accessories like purses and bracelets.

Keep the fabric to make recyclable items

Never waste fabric with a beautiful pattern. If you have a lovely dress or shirt that no longer fits, save the fabric by turning it into home or fashion accessories. Fabric with beautiful patterns are ideal for making cushion covers, tea towels, tote bags, purses and scarves.

Use clothes dye to make clothes look like new

You can easily prolong the life of your clothes by dyeing them a darker colour. If you’re feeling bold, try out bright new colours like red or blue by dyeing a white t-shirt. Jeans look like brand new once you’ve dyed them — giving your jeans years of extra life.

Give them to charity

If you’re not handy with a pair of scissors and a sewing machine, you can always pass your clothes on! Many charities focus on clothes recycling so that the fabric does not go to waste or your clothes find a new home elsewhere.

There are hundreds of ways that you can cut, sew, rip and dye your old clothes into something new. The last thing you need to do is throw them away.

  • Transform old clothes into new pieces of clothing
  • Repurpose patterned fabric into accessories
  • Prolong the life of clothes with clothes dye
  • Originally published