Recycling clothes and Fabric

Last Updated on February 16, 2022 by Sarina

When I keep aside my recently bought top that I do not like anymore, and go on to buy another one or many more, should I be concened  about the carbon footprint I am leaving behind or the fashion industry I will be helping with my consumerism and vanity? I really do not know!. But I do realize that throwing away my old clothes without a concern that they will burden the earth is somewhat reprehensible.

When you are conscious of the problem, you can focus on the solutions. The first choice is to donate them; this way, someone else can skip buying the same thing at exalted prices. The next choice is to re-use them in one way or the other. Recycling is what you and I could do to take care of the textile burden for the world already reeling under the burden of many other wastes like plastic, electronics, etc.

Recycling is the correct term for re-using old clothes in ways other than what they were intended to be. Here are some easy ways to prepare your old clothes to be recycled.

What to recycle?

Fabrics salvaged from old clothes, from old home linen are what we can expect to recycle. If you have a large project, you can ask your friends and relatives for old clothes. Or salvage from charity shops and jumble sales. Damaged clothes can be cut up to take out useful parts.

You can isolate embellishments like bows, beads, ribbons, buttons etc., from old clothes and keep them in a separate box for making fabric art or embellishing your recycled projects. Damaged or too-small clothes of kids are prime for recycling – even if the fabric is too flimsy to be re-used, these haberdashery items can be recycled for your recycled projects as well as for your new sewing projects.

Silk ties are great for making many things like woven rags, fabric belts.

How to salvage fabric from old clothes for recycling

Cut off all the trimmings and haberdashery items for later use. Remove the fasteners as well, if they are in good condition.

Recycling clothes and Fabric

Remove collars, hems, etc., which are not needed. Remove the waistbands and the front fly in case of jeans and pants (unless you want to keep them for your recycling project)

Cutting long fabric strips

You can keep some of the seams where necessary. For, e.g., there is a way of cutting fabric strips from tubular clothes like T-shirts and skirts, bodices, and old bags. This method gives you long continuous strips of fabric. It goes like this –

First cut off the bottom edge and the top edge (of the t-shirt or bag or dress, whatever you have).

Recycling clothes and Fabric

Cut the tube vertically from one of the side seams – do not cut the top seam. Leave 1 or 2 inches there un cut.

Recycling clothes and Fabric

Open up the tube so that the uncut seam is open in front of you.

Recycling clothes and Fabric

Mark diagonally between the cut lines as in the picture below.

Recycling clothes and Fabric

Cut along the marked lines. 

Recycling clothes and Fabric

If you have a lot of these bags or old t-shirts you get a lot of long fabric strips

Related post: 10 things you can make from old jeans.

Recycling clothes and Fabric

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