Crafts Using Recycled Clothing

June 5, 2006
Photo of a quilt made with tshirts.

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?

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17 More Solutions

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 306 Posts
April 6, 2010

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.


December 9, 2009

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.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
February 14, 2012

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.


Bronze Craft Medal for All Time! 67 Crafts
April 24, 2007

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.

Standing baby on porch.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 204 Posts
September 23, 2008

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


November 22, 2006

Craft uses for old clothing. Here are some crafts that you can make with old clothing.

rag rug


May 20, 2012

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.


September 17, 2007

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.


February 11, 2005

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.


September 25, 2015

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.


September 8, 2005

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.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
August 20, 2008

I have always loved the country look in my home. It has become so popular, that people can pick up swanky catalogs and order just about anything. Or, they can be smart like us and do it themselves!

Rag Rug Balls



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 24, 2011

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


February 24, 20110 found this helpful

For instance, I made these beads out of paper and glue and strung them to make a necklace.

February 24, 20110 found this helpful

I once saw a pillow for the sofa made out of neck ties. It used the long thin portion of the tie and weaved them like a lattice work. Made a cool retro looking pillow. I have seen on the web several places that have patterns for the "Bra Purse" but really think it is kind of odd.

Then there is of course the sweatshirt pillow cover, and the sweater pillow cover. Sew up the openings and stuff it with a pillow, and do away with the sleeves or use them as holders for plastic shopping bags. Real wool clothing can be unwoven (not sure how) and reused for felting projects, new clothing, etc. and I am sure you could find web pages for those. I look at when I need some ideas.

February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Oh and I forgot one! Jeans pockets make some seriously cute girls hand bags when sewn together and use a belt for the handle. Or use a pocket to adore the handbags you make out of the leg of the pants. If I use denim in a project I usually cut small slits on the edge of the piece, like fringe. When you wash it after you are done it makes a really cute curly edge to the piece.

February 24, 20110 found this helpful

I'm not only looking for clothing ideas, but all ideas. Cans, containers, bottles, paper, anything that can be refashioned or repurposed into something new. Thanks!

March 2, 20110 found this helpful has lots of that kind of thing. Have fun!


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 509 Feedbacks
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 -

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


Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 64 Requests
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!

June 28, 20110 found this helpful

My fav recycle from a T shirt, is cutting the sleeve out of the Tshirt, right at the arm seam and you have an immediate cute little head covering with no sewing involved. You can embellish it or cut slits in around it and pull through a piece of the bottom band of the shirt for a tie. I have several and my SIL loves them so I made her a couple. It sounds crazy but they look really finished if you cut neatly next to the arm seam. Have fun.

Answer this Question

November 24, 2008

How can you make a bag out of a hoodie?


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 290 Feedbacks
November 24, 20080 found this helpful

By (Guest Post)
November 26, 20080 found this helpful

If you make one, will you please post a picture of it when you're done. Cool idea!

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May 3, 2012

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


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

Answer this Question

January 6, 2017

This is a page about making recycled clothing coasters. Strips of braided recycled clothing or left over fabric can be sewn into pretty coasters.

Braided and coiled fabric coasters.

August 25, 2011

This is a page about crafts using recycled t-shirts. Recycling old clothing into new items is not only green, but also, great fun. Making rugs and other craft items from recycled t-shirts is a popular activity.

Loose ball of cut up t-shirts for crafting.

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