Friday, February 5, 2016

Recycling T-shirts and Jeans

There are so many options for recycling each of these items.

Bed coverings/afghans are adorable made from old t-shirts.  I made one a few Christmas's ago for a niece from her sport shirts she had collected over the years (she was a volleyball player).  She absolutely adored it.  I used a fleece baking on it.
For some reason (you know me!), I kept the other side of all those shirts.  Later when she was going to have a baby, I made a baby quilt from them.  Talk about surprised.
Blankies can be made from any collection of shirts - sports, work, religious, hobby, etc.  They are so extremely easy to make.
Pillows could be made the same way - using only one or two t-shirts.

Of course t-shirts can become rags, and I always cut up several old ones into hankies (about 15 x 15).  I don't buy Kleenex.  I use t-shirt hankies, as they are so soft on the nose. (G uses TP)
I also cut strips to use as sweat bands in the summer.
They are great to cut up and use as plant ties (tomatoes) - as they stretch some.

I love the look of eternity scarves that can be simply made from a t-shirt (no sew).  They can be cut into tank tops and used as cover-ups when painting or working in the garden.  An old yet big t-shirt is great to give little ones to cover them up when finger painting!

Here's one of G's old shirts that I cut sleeves out of and cut at the neck, then sewed the bottom shut.  Hung it over heavy hanger, and store extra bags of snacks in it in the basement.
Cut like this, they also make great re-usable grocery bags.  They are quite strong.

Old jeans can be cut and made into bed coverings/afghans as well.  They are so cute.  Use a variety of jeans and all your squares will be different shades of blue.  This would make cute pillows as well.

I have made many a purse in my day for younger nieces from old jeans.  I added buttons, glitter, maybe a piece of costume jewelry, etc. and they were so cute.  I always made a lining as well.

Jeans can be made into other clothing items as well.  I remember back in the day, making a long skirt from old jeans - I was quite the hippy then!  They are great as skirts and aprons.

Isn't this cute?  I have plans for a yard/tool apron that I am going to make.  As soon as I get it done I will post a picture.  The yard/tool apron only takes a few minutes and minimal sewing if any at all.
I just see potential for all kinds a fun Christmas gifts. 
I might make some pot holders as well - make it a set! (Belt loops would make great hanging loops for pot holders)

If you don't have any of your own jeans to use, go to thrift stores/yard sales and buy the cheapest ones you can find.  It doesn't matter if the knees are torn out or if there is fraying or anything.  That adds character.

I have seen storage bags made from a heavy piece of denim or canvas, that is covered with back pockets from jeans.  These are generally hung by a rod.  They could store small kid's toys, health and beauty items, small packets for the pantry - you name it.

What creative ideas do you have for re-using your old t-shirts and jeans? 
Let us know.  I am really trying to think ahead on craft projects for next Christmas.  Maybe we can all get creative and help each other save some CASH!!!!!!


  1. I was able to use a piece of denim to reinforce the back of my backpack which was my daughter's and now I use to walk to work with.

  2. I absolutely love the idea of a gardener's apron. I get so dirty when I pull weeds or plant! I could put my digger and trowel or even seed packets in the pockets. I am even thinking of adding denim covers to my old volleyball knee pads. If I put a layer of PUL fabric underneath they might actually keep my knees in my jeans from going damp and dirty. These days of frugality, I need to make my jeans knees last longer than ever.

  3. About ten years ago I cleaned out my crafting and sewing room. Since I hadn't used the thirty pairs of jeans in years, I thought to put them on the curb for our annual refuse day. Only the first pre-pickup day trawling truck that stopped, and then sucked them up so quickly, I thought, Oh I have made a Big Mistake! Since then I have held on to every piece of denim that has come my way and my stash is back up to full again. And how useful it has been!

    1. All good ideas. I repair my older jeans with some totally non-fixable ones. I keep all denim too. Oh I bet you were heart sick after you saw someone pick all those up at once.

      Yes jeans are so stinking expensive, we need to all we can to protect them and make them last.