Clothes are among the major necessities of life. It would also be good to know the many ways old clothes can be recycled or repurposed for other functions. Here are some suggestions:
Recycling Old Jeans
When worn-out jeans become "cutoffs," use the leftover legs to create sturdy work/gardening gloves. Trace your hands on them, provide seams and stitch them up.
For "cheap" Softball bases, cut off the legs from an old pair of jeans and cut off two squares from each. Sew each square together on three sides and halfway on the fourth side, fill up with sand, using a funnel, and sew up the rest of the fourth side. These handy "bases" work perfectly!
Recycling old coats and vests
This may be the last winter you will be able to wear your old down-filled coat or vest—but that doesn't mean it has outlasted its usefulness. The old filling inside your now shabby coat is just as valuable (and usable) as it was when the apparel was new.
Old down is quick to recycle. Launder it and it's ready to use once again in easy-to-make items like pillows for your sofa or bed, a cozy lap robe, a baby bunting. You could even make a new down-filled vest for yourself (cut apart the old vest to create a pattern for the new one).
Since down "settles" and loses its buoyancy, you will not know how much you have till you wash and dry it to restore its original volume. Here's how: Place the worn down-filled article in really warm water to wet the stuffing so it will not fly around. Make a slit in the garment and take out handfuls of the wet down, putting them in several zippered pillow protectors made of tightly woven, downproof fabric. Fill each protector just about two-thirds to allow for expansion and zip the pillow protector closed. Machine-wash using mild detergent and nonchlorine bleach (possibly best done in a large-capacity washer at a laundromat). Tumble-dry at low heat. This touches on the down's fluffiness so you will be able to tell how much you really have.
Recycling old sweaters
When your child's favorite pullover sweaters have gone a little too snug across the tummy, just recycle them into cardigans. Cut a sweater all the way down the center of the front side and bind the raw edges using an attractive bias braid for a fashionable new look!
Another idea: Cut off old sweater sleeves and turn them into leg warmers. The ribbed wrist parts fit securely at the ankles and the wide upper areas slip easily over the knees. Loosely whip-stitch the cut edges using elastic thread to avoid runs. Works fine for grownups in the family as well!
If you have a favorite sweater that is stretched beyond "wearability" Grit your teeth, go to the sewing machine and reconstruct. Large cardigans make fantastic V-necks when seamed down the center. Overcasting the new seams makes trimming possible without unraveling. Use contrasting colors to embroider or crochet to cover remodeling details and make a new look.
Recycling Old Socks
If you have a collection of knee socks with worn heels or toes, cut off the feet, fold in the cuffs and stitch. You'll get great leg warmers for your small kids.
Recycling Old Belts
A discarded leather belt (or one purchased at a thrift shop), cut to size, makes a great dog or cat collar. Add a metal ring to the buckle to put identification and license tags.