Recycle and Repurpose Fabrics

April 20, 2023 6:17 am17 commentsViews: 324

Any fabric is suitable for recycling – even old and worn fabrics may have areas which are still in reasonable condition and pieces can be cut out and used as patches, applique or to make small accessories such as corsages. Great quilts and patchwork can be made from pieces of recycled material. Large pieces of fabric such as curtains or covers may offer enough material for a whole outfit. There are no rules when sewing – why shouldn’t upholstery fabric be used for a garment. It won’t make a soft draping blouse, but certainly would make a great jacket or coat. Old place mats can simply be stitched into a purse, liven it up with a bright colored lining, or lace trimmings.

Old garments can also provide a useful source of fabric. Look out for luxury fabrics such as silk, cashmere or perhaps vintage laces. If the garments are in good condition then with some creative thought they can be adapted and updated to produce new one of a kind outfits. Garments can be decorated with vintage laces or edgings. Even lace doilies could be incorporated into a repurposed garment with a little imagination to add a lacy touch. Take a look at this project which combines a range of fabrics including lace doileys. Even socks can be sewn into interesting soft toys.

Pure new wool fabric, for instance knitted jumpers, blankets or other wool items, is likely to shrink and felt. Felted items are very popular right now and a wool jumper can easily be reworked into a funky felted bag. The felted wool will be a more substantial and stronger fabric with less ‘give’ than the unfelted equivalent and therefore lends itself to larger bags. Once felted the fabric can be cut and manipulated without fear of it unraveling, so shrink the woolen item first before cutting.


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