Crafts Using Recycled Clothing

Used clothing has been recycled into craft projects for a very long time. The patchwork and memorial quilts are two examples. There are many other craft uses for worn clothing. This is a guide about crafts using recycled clothing.


June 5, 2006 Flag
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Turning Old Clothes Into a Quilt

Sew outgrown childrens clothes, either whole or cut, into patterns for a worn quilt using an overcast stitch. You can quilt the pieces in as well. You can do a decorative pattern, or cover entirely. The end result is a wonderful keepsake to treasure.

By Doggy

T-shirt Pillows and Jeans Bags

I've made pillows out of old tees, they are so warm and comfy. Also, cut diagonally down the shirt from the collar to the bottom hem and sew for a simple dress up skirt, an adult tee shirt makes a child's size. Another fun thing is to make bags from old jeans and pants cut off the legs where they meet hem the remaining piece at the bottom and tie hobby rope to the belt loops of sew on straps from the jean leg. You can also make small bags from the bottom of the pant leg. Just cut about 20 cm from bottom of one leg, and hem the raw edges together, you can add handles also.

Hope you can use some of those ideas!

Welding Gauntlets From Jeans

I use the legs from an old pair of denim pants for welding gauntlets to cover my arms while welding. After cutting the legs off the pants, sew some elastic banding on both ends. that holds the gauntlet in place at the wrist and at the upper arm.

This protects the arms from welding splatter, and UV rays while welding. (Note - these are used in conjunction with welding gloves - OR the welding gloves can be sewn to the lower portion of your gauntlet instead of installing elastic there.)

Rex Smith

T-shirt Quilts

There is a pattern for making quilts out of tee shirts that have a special meaning. Maybe for the Sports enthusiast in the family for graduation. A tee shirt quilt made from all their sports teams shirts.




When my Mother passed away it was up to me and my two sisters to empty out her apartment and do something with her belongings. When we got down to clothes we donated them to a mountain mission which gives them away to needy people. I kept some of her old cotton print blouses and couldn't bear to part with them. I was in the process of learning how to quilt. For a mother's day present I made my sisters and nieces a handmade pillow using the pattern called Grandma's Fan and cut the pieces from Mom's old blouses. Now we all have a momento of her in our homes.


Weaving Pot holders

You can cut the sleeves from t-shirts into rings and use the rings instead of purchased loops for weaving pot holders. Great colors! You can also do this with the tops of worn socks.



Baby Heirloom Quilt

An idea I would have loved to do with my old baby clothes was to make a baby heirloom quilt to use for your first child or even better to give to your children for their first child.

I believe it was in Family Circle Magazine a few years ago that they used the fronts of shirts or dresses and sewed them into each quilt square as if it were hanging on a hanger or something. Other ideas would be to just use the fabric to make your own design.


Braided Rugs

Clothing can be cut into strips and braided to make rugs. these rugs are very durable and they wash well too.

Gizzmo from Colorado

Quilts for Dog Beds

Old denim jeans make great quilts for dog beds. They smell like you, which pleases the dogs. I usually cut old jeans into rectangles and squares and sew together. To practice fancy stitches on your sewing machine, you can overlap the raw edges of the seams and reduce raveling at the same time.

Lynn from Western Oregon

Denim Quilt

I have also made a Quilt out of my Hubby's old jeans! He never throws away a thing "it'll make a good rag someday" so when the pile became overwhelming I cut up the legs, stitched together with batting and a sheet and had a heavy warm quilt!

I also have made Pillows out of old, beloved Shirts from my kids. They work real well as throw pillows on their beds. Just stitch up the openings and stuff! too simple and they love them!

Terry R

What are some craft projects you can think of using old clothing?

December 31, 20130 found this helpful

Once you've exhausted craft possibilities, separate the rest of your old clothing and recycle it 3 ways: first, take anything that is still reasonably current and not ripped or stained to friends (especially children's clothing), church, Goodwill or a free clothing room; second, take distinctive pieces that might become part of a costume to your local high school or community theatre, things such as old hats, overalls, old dresses, evening wear, boots, any items with very large buttons, men's suits ; third, cut up old t shirts and torn or grungy items that are mostly cotton into rag sizes, and keep a few in convenient places under the sinks or in your garage as disposable cleanup wipes. Use these for messy home cleanups such as oil or paint spills, cleaning off outdoor furniture or equipment (I use a few to clean the gas grill).

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January 1, 20140 found this helpful

I use old jeans to make tablecloths. The jeans are cut to different size squares and sewn together. Finish the outside edges with seam binding. I also save the pockets and place beside each place setting to hold a napkin and silverware.

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Anonymous Flag
June 1, 20160 found this helpful

April 6, 2010 Flag

A friend of mine gave me a whole tub, like a 50 gallon barrel, full of old clothes. They are not good enough to wear, but sure good enough to use in crafts. Instead of using my newer fabrics first I go to that tub then to my stash.

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December 9, 2009 Flag

I needed some denim to make a couple of sturdy aprons, but it can cost over $10 a yard for the good stuff! (Even with store coupons, it is expensive). So I went to the thrift store and bought two long denim dresses for only $5 each and I have plenty of fabric for 4 aprons.

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September 23, 2008 Flag

These are just a few ideas of what you can make using the fabric from clothing you no longer wear. What you see is one draft catcher and three pillows/chair cushions.

Pillows Made from Old Clothes

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February 14, 2012 Flag
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I watch for the local thrift stores to have half off or 75% off sales and go look for fabric suitable for covering scrapbooks, making recycled clothing, making small crafts and recovering furniture.

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November 22, 2006 Flag
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Craft uses for old clothing. Here are some crafts that you can make with old clothing.

rag rug

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April 24, 2007 Flag

Standing baby on porch.Here's a craft for making a figure that looks like a baby wearing a straw hat.



Take the broom and separate the bristles to look like two legs and tie with string or pipe cleaners. Put on the sleeper, putting the legs of the sleeper over the bristle legs. Stuff the legs and body around the broom then stuff the arms. They will be open on end and sticking out straight but then you are going to sew the arms together in front of the baby by sewing the sleeper together.

Then put the hat on broom handle top. It is not going to have a face but no one will know because it is going to be displayed with the back showing as in the picture. Sorry about the picture, it's a little bit short but you can get the general idea.

By Sandy from Bluff City, TN

April 24, 20070 found this helpful

Cute! sounds easy

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May 8, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks so much for the tip I have been looking for this idea for so long now my grandmother use to call them "baby be bad " corner dolls I love it !!

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January 6, 20140 found this helpful

September 25, 2015 Flag

A number of eBay sellers stock second hand surplices cheaply. All that gathered white cotton can very easily be upcycled into a nightdress (add broderie anglaise), tunic for re-enactment, dirndl blouse, or Victorian style pinafore. And they usually take dye well.

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August 12, 2012 Flag
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Old shirts or leftover fabric make great coasters. Braid strips of 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric and tie several together if you want larger coasters. Take the braided strips and lay them next to each other creating circles.

Braided and coiled  fabric coasters.

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February 24, 2011 Flag
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I'm looking for ideas to use old/used items and make them into something new. Ideas like turning a tank top into a shopping bag or turning an old pair of jeans into a handbag. The theme is "reuse, repurpose, refashion". I am looking to use materials that are no longer useful in their current state or would normally be thrown out or recycled. I'd appreciate any ideas you may have. Thanks!

By Anne from Washington Twp, NJ

March 2, 20110 found this helpful

Here's a couple of my favorites, besides my #1 favorites, which happen to be Thrifty Fun & Instructables!

Here's a tshirt tote bag, & if you go to the home page of this website & look under 'Green Crafting',there are a lot of things - ... -Shirt-Tote-From-Earth-Safe-Finishes

And this site has some of the best sewing ideas & things to do with your old clothes!

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March 3, 20110 found this helpful

Rag rugs! they can be knitted, crocheted, or just braided. I make mine from old tshirts and they are so hard wearing and pretty!

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June 28, 20110 found this helpful

September 17, 2007 Flag

Save your ripped pants and shirts, then "harvest" the buttons. You never know when you will need buttons. You can also save parts of the fabric and make clothes for an infant.

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May 20, 2012 Flag
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The first outfits given to baby are so special! Turn that special outfit into a very sentimental and personal pillow that you can gift back to the original gifter on Mother's Day, Father's Day, for any occasion, or just because.

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February 11, 2005 Flag
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If you end up with a clothing item you would never wear but like the pattern, think about using the material for pillows, quilts, etc. You can also stock up on material from clothes for quilts at bag sales from thrift stores or yard sales.

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September 8, 2005 Flag
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The back pockets of jeans may be used as fun drink coasters! I remove them from the pants, put some backing on them (quilted material for example), with a water resistant glue or sew them on, and voila! I have drink coasters that can even be put into the washing machine.

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May 3, 2012 Flag
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How do I find someone to who would make a memory blanket for me? Roughly how many lbs. of clothing would I need for a small blanket?
Many thanks.

By Jean from London

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May 6, 20120 found this helpful

Dear Jean, How big would you like the blanket to be, in feet/inches in both length and width. The number of pounds is not quite the question, but each piece of cloth used should be no smaller than 8 x 8 inches. 10 x 10 inches is better, as this size is easier to work with.

One can also sew a piece of the memory item to a piece of cloth of the right size. The number of squares needed would depend on what size you want the blanket to be. You need to remember that seams use up some of the size of each square.

You say you are from London. I am in the USA, California. I'm not sure if it would be worth it to you have the blanket made by me as shipping would be quite a lot. If you can do any sewing at all I could walk you through it by email. write to: tracy_m_mcdonald AT

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