13 Ways To Repurpose Old Clothes

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Vintage clothes get made into one-of-a-kind boutique pillows

We've spent the past few days cleaning out the closet, giving away or donating things that no longer fit or that we no longer wear. But there are some things that have sentimental value that we can't bring ourselves to givea away. Then we thought of a few ways we could hang on to them...

Here are some ideas of what to do with sentimental pieces:


  1. Hang It Up: You can display it. Old kimonos or vintage bathing suits are items of clothing that are often displayed. We're partial to displaying clothing we wore as a kid. There's something about small clothes that takes display clothing from kinda creepy to cute.
  2. Box it: Displayed in a shadow box display clothing is elevated from "Oops, I forgot to put this away" to "I actually thought about this" status. This is especially effective if it's a well-edited collection of old clothing.
  3. It's all in your headboard: Looking for a headboard? Try this or this.
  4. Tag, you're IT: Collect your tags to make a pillow. We have a friend who rips all the labels out of her clothes the minute she gets them home. "Too itchy," she complains.
  5. Accessories find new life: Weave belts into a chair seat, attach old watches to a drawer front to make a handle, make old sweaters into new pillows, and more.
  6. Mannequins and Dress Forms: Maybe it was too many 80s movies, but we love the look of incorporating old dress forms and mannequins into our home decor.
  7. Quilt It: Old baby clothes can be turned into a quilt; try it with grown-up clothes, from T-shirts to sweaters, even those that are too torn and tattered to find a second home.
  8. Light It Up: Try a Droog Lamp.
  9. Pillows: From sweaters to ties, pillows are the easiest DIY project using old clothes. Even scraps of clothes can be used to decorate a plain pillow.
  10. A Chair Seat: Use old sweaters to make a new upholstered chair covers.
  11. A Pet Bed: Your old sweaters can become your pet's new bed. No pet? Try this same technique for making yourself a bunch of new pillows.
  12. No Sweat: Old sweaters easily find new lives whether used "as is" or washed and felted. Try this vase cover to add a touch of winter to your home.
  13. Single gloves and socks: We save single socks and gloves in the vain hope that their mate will turn up again. Here's another idea of what to do with them.

Related Posts:

How To: Repurpose Old Sweaters Into Chair Covers
10 Tips For A Closet Cleanse
How To: Make Fabric Covered Hangers

(Image: Sunset Magazine. Originally published 2009-10-19.)