This holiday season I decided to challenge myself in a green way; to make something new from something old. Up-cycling has been a way of life for many generations as people sewed quilts and other necessities from used clothing. For anyone on a limited budget, it is a smart, thrifty way to make gifts. The term up-cycling is synonymous with “repurpose or recycle”. Why up-cycle when you can just buy new material? It is good for the planet and it gives clothing a second life and keeps it out of landfills.

You can create your own unique home décor or gifts at home with your own old clothes. Choose clothing that you like the color or material, but the item is no longer fashionable or no longer fits. In this way, you can keep the clothes that you like and give them a new look. All you need is a sewing machine and a lot of creativity.

I made my way to a thrift store and bought some ugly clothes. I bypassed the old prom dresses this time only because they reminded me of those long playing, slow dancing, power ballads; but I am sure I could find many uses for them also. Then humming Stairway to Heaven I chose a few items. Most were a couple of dollars each. Before deconstructing the pre loved fashion, I planned what I thought could be refashioned from the items I chose. An obvious refashion is a pillow. Using old shirts and sweaters for pillows is a great way to up-cycle clothing. Add embellishments such as vintage pins or trims to give them a little bling. Instead of purchasing new pillow forms, use your old throw pillows to give them a new look or change the shams seasonally.

Other ideas to up-cycle ordinary pre loved materials and make them extraordinary are aprons, Christmas stockings, wine gift bags, tote bags, scarves, and purses. Look at things you were going to throw away or donate with a new perspective. Some of the simplest ideas can become impressive designs. What could be more rewarding than transforming old unattractive clothes into new creative gifts and home décor? Grab those old shirts, dresses, jackets, and sweaters and get busy creating new one of a kind designs. Everything deserves a second chance; even those ugly old clothes.

Happy Holidays!

See more ideas in the photo gallery below. 🙂

About the author

Mary Beth Sligar - Mary is a native of Idaho, married with four children. In addition to her passion for writing, she enjoys art, music, photography, and crafting. She is a freelance writer based in Twin Falls, Idaho currently working on short stories and a novel.

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