12 Ways to Recycle & Upcycle Old Fabric

Are you tired of being a player in the fast fashion game chain? We are here for you and the planet!

If you are not familiar with the concepts of recycling and upcycling, we would like to explain the difference between them. The upcycling idea involves using pre-existing goods into entirely new ones. An example of this is taking your old t-shirts and turning them into a groceries bag. Recycling on its turn means recovering a used product and making a new version of it. If you have a dress too short and use lace to adjust the length, that’s recycling.

Benefits of recycling or upcycling: 


Upcycling or recycling goes beyond reducing the waste generated; it also contributes to reducing the use of raw materials, water waste and all gas, air and water pollution. Manufacturing a single cotton t-shirt can use up to 120 liters of water, and release about 0.01 kilogram of carbon dioxide per piece. Also, it can take 2,700 liters of water to grow the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.


Trends come and go, and brands tend to dictate what you should or not wear. If you have your own style and know your preferences, why would you be trapped in this concept? No need to buy new clothes just for the sake of it. Keep your wardrobe simple, reuse the pieces you like the most and save some money!


Recycled or upcycled things are one of a kind. It doesn’t matter if you buy from designers or DIY, it is unique, and it holds a beautiful history.

Supports local industry

Thrift shops are a great place to bargain and assist communities in need. Also, some artisans around the world use their creativity and craft skills to create amazing products, all using waste materials.


It is fantastic when you can create or fix something yourself. Enjoy the opportunity to learn a great ability to and share with others.

If you are feeling inspired by it, we would like to share twelve ways you can recycle and upcycle old fabric.

Clothing labels upcycling

  1. Resize it

Sometimes our clothes get too loose or too tight. Before putting all to trash, you can get some sewing alterations. An oversized dress can be adjusted to your correct size. You can also make your jean’s waist bigger. Find the piece you need to resize and don’t hesitate!

  1. Transform old clothes into cute bags

Old shirts sleeves can become a cute bag. T-shirts made of cotton or jersey fabric can become a washable grocery bag. You save the planet from the plastic and fabric waste all at once!

  1.  Upcycle your old curtains and bed sheets

There are many different ways of upcycling your old sheets and curtains to give your home a fresh look. For example, old curtains can be transformed into a kid’s play teepee that your kids could enjoy for years to come. Just using a sewing machine, old curtains or sheets and a few dowels.

  1. Be creative and try Tie-dye

Your old t-shirt is just too boring? Try to add some swirls, polka dots, stripes or any other pattern you would like. The process and results promise to be fun.

  1. Transform a wool blanket into a warm coat

Chilly days make us want to leave the house with a blanket. And it is not impossible to do it. An old coverage can become a stylish homemade coat.

  1. Test your skills and transform old T-shirts or Denim into rugs

Create beautiful bedside rugs, living room rugs, kitchen rugs… all from the old t-shirts you can’t wear anymore or donate. Also, try to do the same with your old denim!

  1. Change your pillow covers

You can make recycled pillow covers from different old fabrics or worn off clothes. There are plenty of ways of using an old T-shirt or ripped pair jeans and transforming them into an interesting pillow instead of throwing them in the garbage.

  1. Spice up your favorite pieces

Your pair of jeans or jackets can have a special touch. Add pearls, paint, patterns, and embroideries.

  1. Transform old clothes into a quilt

Maybe you have a band’s t-shirts collection? Or you are just stocking up all of those old sweaters you don’t use anymore? Well, you can give them a second chance by turning them into a unique quilt.

  1. Turn old belts into bracelets

Don’t waste anything from your closet. Even your old belts can turn into new fashion bracelets.

  1. Don’t lose your belongings with an upcycled coin purse

Take your old jeans or old shirt’s pockets and transform them into small bags. You can use it for coins or anything else you need.

  1. Create toys or small pillow for kids and babies

Kids grow fast, and in one month your baby might not fit in those pair of pants you bought before. You could reuse them and make cute toys.

Label it and share with the world

Upcycled or recycled items are terrific, and creating a piece requires some level of commitment. As mentioned before, this kind of work is unique and holds not only a history but also the dedication of the artisan. If you like crafting, you could add a customized label to your creation and even sell it on platforms like Etsy. Giving it as a present for a loved one could also be a great idea; the person will know that their gift if unique and made just for them.

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t like arts and crafts, you can still support this movement by purchasing from local artisans or finding them on Etsy or Instagram. You will get special items and contribute to a better planet. You can make a difference!


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