Transform your unwanted clothes into something new

It is projected that by 2019 35.4 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste will be produced, according to the Council for Textile Recycling.

That means that Americans tend to toss out their unwanted clothes way more times than they find another use for them.

With so many options available, it seems unnecessary to just add more waste to our landfills.

Donating and consigning clothes are two ways, or you can upcycle them.

Upcycling is great for those items you want to keep but may not fit right anymore or are worn and old.

My personal example

I have a pile of these clothes from baggy dress pants to oversized shirts.

Normally I would donate these items, but there are features about each of them that I like.

Most recently, I took a black and white dress shirt and a pair of black dress pants to make this purse:


When trying to figure out what to do with this shirt, I searched the internet and found this article: How to Make a No Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag in 10 Minutes.

I took the basic concept and stepped it up a notch by adding the strap.

First, I cut the sleeves off.

For the type of strap I wanted to create, I need three strips of fabric. To start this, I took a belt to figure out how long I wanted my strips of fabric to be. I cut two strips from my black pants legs. The strips weren’t long enough, so I cut out an extra piece for each strip and sewed on the extra pieces, one per strip.

For the third strip, I repeated the same process with my leftover shirt pieces. I had to sew a few pieces together to get my desired length.

Once I finished the strips, I gathered them on one end and tied them together in a knot. I then braided the strips together and knotted the other end.

With the bag’s open side up, I grabbed fabric from one corner and sewed one end of strap onto the outside of the bag, since I wanted the strap’s knotted end to show. I repeated the step on the other side.

Now that the strap was attached, I needed to do something about the frayed, uneven ends of the bag’s opening. I played with the look of the fabric until I got the look I wanted. I used needles to hold the outside fabric in place, while I sewed the inside. Then I sewed the outside. I then repeated this step for the other side.

To finish up, I needed a way to keep the bag closed. I had some sew-on beads in my craft container. I attached one of those beads to the front of the bag, in the center and near the top. I used a thick piece of string for the latch, which I sewed to the inside of the purse’s back.

And voila! My bag was complete:


Other ideas:

Of course, a bag is just one of many ways to upcycle your clothes.

Here are some sites packed with several other ways you can transform your old piece of clothing into something new:

Got any clothes that you upcycled? Share below in the comments section.


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