My family takes recycling seriously. Every week, during trash day, we’re proud to see that we have more in our recycling bin than in our trash can.

We usually donate old clothes to the Salvation Army, but recently, I’ve decided to set some old clothes aside and think of ways to repurpose them. This is my first repurposed clothing project.

I think this dress has lived a good life. It used to be Mica’s and (like all of Mica’s clothes) it got handed down to Rinoa. Now it’s too small for Rinoa to wear. I like the colors a lot so I decided to make an oven mitt out of it.

I had Mica help me with this project. (I’m trying to get my kids involved in different creative endeavors.) Using a sewing machine, I quilted one side of the oven mitt while she did the other side. We used one of her old shirts (again, which got handed down to Rinoa) for the inside lining. In between the two fabrics, we sandwiched an insulated and cotton batting. For the pattern, I just traced my old oven mitt on paper and cut the shape out.

Here’s how it turned out. Not bad I think. Although it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. (According to Troy, “It didn’t look easy at all.”) Mica was proud to have helped – now she can say she made an oven mitt.

Don’t think I threw away the scraps that were left. I’m going to give new life to every bit of that fabric, and for the scraps, I’m planning on creating some cute, small, fun appliques that I can use in either my paper projects or other sewing projects. We’ll see how that turns out.

I’ve read that old clothes are fast becoming a major household waste. They fill up our landfills, and most fabrics take hundreds of years to break down. What can we do to help?

  • Buy good quality clothes made with eco-friendly fabrics instead of trying to save money on cheap clothes that wear out fast and harm the environment.
  • Buy less clothes. When you go out shopping, think twice before you buy more clothes you don’t need.
  • Donate your old clothes instead of throwing them in the trash. Of course, you first have to take good care of your clothes so you can hand them down to someone else.
  • If your feeling crafty, try to give your old clothes new life by repurposing them – big daddy pants can be turned into small kiddie pants, fabrics from different clothes can be patched together and made into a quilt or something, small scraps of fabrics can be used for appliques, etc.

Let’s do our part in helping save the earth.