Re-purposing old garments







Next time you tidy your closet, separate the garments into two piles: One for clothes you regularly wear, and one for things you seldom or never wear.

The first lot is fine, and can go back straight away.

Then look at the second pile. Any occasion wear in there will by its nature not be worn that often, so take it out and assess it. Does it still fit, is the colour and style flattering and wearable as is? Items answering these criteria can also go back in the closet.

What you will be left with, is the so-called “dead wood”, things that only take up space without serving much purpose. These garments are perfect candidates for re-use, re-purposing or up-cycling.


You can of course give clothing to charity, but apparently a lot of what they receive is in such poor condition that it ends up on landfill anyway, which is what we want to avoid. Make sure garments are clean and wearable before donating!

Those totally unsuitable impulse buys that have hardly ever, or even never been worn, could be sold on eBay, or swopped with friends. Another possibility is having a garage sale, either on your own or with friends.


T-shirts can become sleepwear, too-short dresses loungewear, and old shorts or pants worn for gardening or messy DIY projects.


In my opinion, this is the most fun. You take a garment you do not wear much, identify what is wrong about it, and alter or redesign it! If you are not keen on the sewing part, find a seamstress to execute your designs. Your exclusive clothes will make you the envy of your social circle.

It is also possible to make an entirely different item from old garments, such as bags from T-shirts or jeans. Pinterest has a wealth of ideas.

Here are a few “before and after” pictures as examples of what can be done.