12 Creative Ways To Reuse Old Clothes – With Guides

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After some upcycling ideas for your wardrobe? I’ve got 12 clever ways for you to reuse old clothes to get stuck into.

Did you know that clothing production is the third biggest manufacturing industry after the automotive and technology industries? Yes, textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. Scary stuff.

Did you also know that washing, solvents, and dyes used in clothing manufacturing are responsible for one-fifth of industrial water pollution? Or that 3 out of 5 fast fashion items end up in landfill?

These statistics are absolutely mind-blowing. And they make it so clear that when it comes to creating a sustainable wardrobe, it’s imperative to prolong the life of our clothing for as long as possible.

Two ways to do so are to wash our clothes correctly, and mending our clothes to keep them in use for longer.

But what about when your clothes have seen better days or have clothes that aren’t good enough to donate to charity? The good news is you don’t have to bin them, there are heaps of clever ways to reuse your old clothes.

Twelve Creative Ways To Reuse Old Clothes

Person upcycling a pair of jeans with a blue text box that reads sustainable and creative ways to reuse your old clothes.

If you’re stumped about where to start, the good news is that there are heaps of creative people out there who are generous with their time. With detailed tutorials and walk-throughs, they practically hold your hand as you talk you through how to reuse your old clothes in unique, creative and sustainable ways.

Click on the links to be taken to the full post and instructions from them on how you can do the same.

1. Use A Scarf To Rescue An Old Shirt

a shirt upcycled with a scarf as a clever way to reuse old clothes

This scarf that has been incorporated into a gorgeous shirt has been sitting on my to-do list for an age. 

It’s such a clever way to reuse old clothes. Particularly a shirt that you’ve perhaps burned with an iron, badly stained, or has an irreparable tear or hole. The original link no longer works, but I did find a similar vintage scarf shirt DIY that’s worth giving a go.

2. Upcycle a Shirt Into a Skirt

reuse old clothes to turn a shirt into a skirt.

If you have an old skirt that isn’t serving a purpose, then don’t bin it. Instead, you can turn it into a skirt with this clever YouTube tutorial from Fashion Wizardry.

3. Make A Lace Backed Shirt

upcycled lace shirt

Keeping on the denim shirt theme, this beautiful DIY lace shirt from A Beautiful Mess is another great tutorial to keep up your sleeve. Particularly if a shirt of yours is ripped at the back, stained, or had a mishap with iron then it’s a great way to reuse old clothes that would otherwise go in the bin.

If you’re not a sewing machine pro, then don’t worry. A Beautiful Mess says it’s a great project for those with beginner-level sewing skills.

4. Use Potato Printing To Rescue Stained Clothing

handprinted t-shirt

If you have some old clothes with a prominent stain on them that just won’t budge, potato printing is a great waythem a new lease of life. Particularly kid’s clothes, that just lend themselves to fun shapes.

To help inspire you, Fritha from the blog Tigerlilly Quinn did some amazing geometric potato printing on a kid’s t-shirt. There’s no sewing involved, all you need to do is carve a potato. If that sounds too tricky (I can’t be trusted with sharp knives either!) then you can buy a pre-made rubber stamp and get printing.

5. Reuse Old Clothes To Make Scrunchies

reusing old clothes to make hair scrunchies

If your clothes are beyond the point of salvaging, then don’t bin them. You could cut any usable parts of fabric into strips and turn them into pretty and practical hair scrunchies. Sounds tricky? Don’t worry, Lana Red Studio has a detailed guide to help you out

6. Turn A Jumper Into A Cushion

an old jumper turned into a cushion

If you have an old jumper that has had a mishap with its sleeves – whether they are ripped, torn or badly stained, or if it simply doesn’t fit anymore then it’s really easy to turn it into a cosy cushion for your home. Juliet Bawden has the full details on how to turn your jumper into a cushion.

7. Make A Draught Excluder From Old Clothes

draught excluder made from old clothes

Looking for an easy way to reuse your old clothes that are beyond wearing, and cut your energy bills at the same time? This easy draught excluder DIY from Hobbycraft is an easy way to do just that, by helping to banish draughts that come howling under your door. Just make sure you cut your clothes into small pieces to avoid lumps and bumps.

8. Make A Blanket From Old Clothes

patchwork quilt made from clothes

If you have old clothes that your kids have grown out of but are too sentimental to pass on, consider making a blanket from them. Scratch & Stitch has a really handy tutorial that does require some sewing skills, but the end result is well worth it.

9. Make A No-Sew Necklace From An Old T-Shirt

no-sew necklace made by reusing old clothes

Even the most sustainable t-shirts wear out. When they do, instead of binning them, you can repurpose t-shirts into all sorts of things. For example, this stylish necklace, by The Thinking Closet, takes just 15 minutes to make and doesn’t require any sewing whatsoever.

10. Make Cleaning Cloths

reuse old clothes by making cleaning cloths

Old clothes, particularly cotton T-shirts, also lend themselves well to making cleaning cloths. Kalyn Brooke has a quick and easy DIY to make cleaning cloths and rags from those clothes you can no longer wear.

11. Reuse Old Jeans To Make A Tote Bag

A tote bag made from old jeans

It’s not just t-shirts that can get the reuse treatment. Old jeans can be made into stylish tote bags. Bombshell Bling has a handy tutorial to make this beautiful bag. And if you are looking for more inspiration, try my guide on what to do with your old jeans.

12. Make Dog Toys

dog toys made from old hoodies and sweatshirts

Finally, Dalmation DIY has a handy guide on how to reuse your old sweatshirts, hoodies, and other clothes to make dog toys. They’re all completely no-sew, so even if you don’t consider yourself particularly crafty you might be able to take these on and win! Plus, as well as minimising your waste, you’ll save money on buying new dog toys. Double win!

Have you found any other good ways to reuse your old clothes, or found any posts or videos that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below! And do check out these clever no-sew ways to upcycle old clothes for more inspiration.

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