Projects with Upcycled Clothing

Projects with Upcycled Clothing

When your clothing gets damaged or you simply outgrow it (all those snacks!), it’s easy just to toss it in the trash or the donation pile. But thrift stores get overburdened with piles of clothing and they definitely don’t want anything with stains or holes. Thankfully, there are lots of ideas for upcycled clothing that extend the life of your fashions while keeping them out of landfills.

Holiday Wreath

Plaid Christmas wreath from recycled flannel shirts

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Plaid works so well during the holiday season, doesn’t it? Which makes flannel shirts especially perfect for festive upcycling projects like this cozy wreath.

Throw Rug

upcycled sweaters as a rug

Photo source: Pillar Box Blue.

Nope, that’s not a blown up view of amoeba under a microscope. It’s a throw rug made from old sweaters– so if they shrink or snag, they can definitely be repurposed into artwork for your floor.

Pet Bed

Repurposing tshirts into a DIY cat cave or pet tent

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

When it comes to upcycled clothing projects for your pets, they couldn’t care less about stains or rips. Stretch an old t-shirt over a moving/shipping box and your cat (or small dog) will absolutely love their new tent.

Shirt Pocket Sachets

crafts with a shirt pocket

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

There are a surprising number of ways to upcycle the pockets from your button down shirts. Making sachets or potpourri pouches for your dresser drawers is just one of those ideas.

Shoe Planters

shoe planters

Photo source: Shop at Blu.

Scuffed up shoes aren’t a welcome sight in your donation bag. But turning them into quirky succulent planters for your front porch is a much better way to put them to good reuse!

Covered Logos

covering up company logo with a patch

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Just because you changed jobs doesn’t mean that those old polo shirts need to be tossed. Embroidered logos are easy to cover up with fun patches– and now you can wear those old shirts to your new office! No one will ever know the difference.

Fabric Face Masks

repurposing ideas for a cotton face mask

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whatever your opinion on the matter, one thing’s for certain: fabric face masks are forever part of human history now. And if any of them are clean and in good shape- especially the prettiest ones- they’re easy to upcycle into decorative patches for bags and totes

Wine Gift Bags

Wine gift bag from a button down shirt

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

You’ve heard of a sharp dressed man, but what about a sharp dressed bottle of wine? Both use the same articles of clothing- a button down shirt and a silk necktie– but one of them is wine and one of them is a tall drink of water. Get it?

Pillows from Upcycled Clothing

upcycled sweaters into boho pillows

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Your outgrown or stretched out sweaters- colorful or neutral- are easy to upcycle into pillows for your home. And if you’ve ever shopped for new throw pillows, then you know how pricey they are and why upcycling your own is a huge savings.

Unbreakable Suncatchers

diy suncatchers from vintage scarves

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

A silk (or just silky) scarf with a pretty print doesn’t take up much room in a drawer, so you’re probably holding onto a few you no longer wear. But for a fun and super simple craft project, they can easily be repurposed into suncatchers that won’t shatter if they fall.

Sunglasses Case

upcycling idea for shoulder pads

Photo source: The Refashionista.

Ahh, shoulder pads- the 1980s staple that seems absolutely ridiculous to look back on. But you still find them in thrift store blouses and blazers. So, how’s this for a unique idea for upcycled clothing: a sunglasses case from a pair of those shoulder pads?

Tooth Fairy Pillow

diy tooth fairy pillow

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Let’s face it- toddler sized clothing is about as cute as it gets. And if you can’t bear to part with your kid’s littlest flannel shirt, why not upcycle part of it into a tooth fairy pillow for their next phase of childhood? (Tutorial can be found in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”.)

Stuffed Acorns

acorn decorations from tweed jackets

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

If Fall is your favorite season (like it is mine), then autumn decorating is something you look forward to all year long. And sleeves from a tweed or wool blazer are ideal for transforming into stuffed acorns like these.

Aromatherapy Eye Pillows

Self care with a lavender eye pillow

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Headaches and migraines are no fun at all. And while these won’t cure the pain, lavender eye pillows made from silky scarves might just ease the suffering a bit. Plus, they’re a great way to upcycle old scarves you no longer wear or otherwise use.

Fruit & Veggie Bags

reducing plastic with reusable fruit and veggie bags

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Kids outgrow their t-shirts after a single season, which means you go through a LOT of them over time. But they’re the perfect size for upcycling into fruit and veggie bags to use at the grocery store and farmer’s market! Such a great way to cut down on plastic bags, too.

What Will You Make from Upcycled Clothing?

projects to make with upcycled clothing

Photo source: Sadie Seasongoods.

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration here and have ideas for how to upcycle your old clothes. From jackets and sweaters, to scarves and shoes, there are tons of projects for upcycled clothing. So many ideas, so little time- but plenty of clothes!

Craft on!


Website | + posts

Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. Suzanne Edinger says

    Thanks friend!!! I do believe it’s time for a thrift store run!

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