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.

Throw Rug

upcycled sweaters as a rug

Image credit: 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.

Wine Gift Bags

Wine gift bag from a button down shirt

Image credit: 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?

DIY Draft Blocker

DIY draft stopper from flannel shirts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

The time to winterize your home has arrived, and believe it or not, but a few old flannel shirts can help. This DIY draft blocker is made with fabric from old shirts and does a great job of blocking out the cold air and keeping the cozy warmth in.

Tweed Jacket Pins

jacket pins from wood medallions and tweed

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Making a statement pin for your jacket or coat like this requires three things: a wood medallion, feathers, and a tweed sport coat! Such a perfect craft for a tweed blazer that the moths have gotten to, right?

Pet Bed

Repurposing tshirts into a DIY cat cave or pet tent

Image credit: 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.

Decorative Mittens

Wooden sled decor with sweater mittens

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Decorating with mittens is fun at Christmastime, but finding pretty mittens to use isn’t always that easy. Thankfully, your old knit sweater is the perfect thing to upcycle into a pair which is perfect for hanging on a sled or incorporating into a wreath.

Shoe Planters

shoe planters

Image credit: 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!

Tweedy Coasters

Wooden coaster set from salvaged wood and tweed jackets

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Again with the tweed blazers- they’re such a fun thing to upcycle! This time, a set of rustic-chic coasters was made with some wood and swatches of tweed for an elegant but rustic look.

Pillows from Upcycled Clothing

boho pillow covers from upcycled sweaters

Image credit: 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

Image credit: 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.

Reusable Hand Warmers

DIY hand warmers

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A chilly tailgate party or a late night bonfire come to mind when I think of these DIY hand warmers. And nothing feels cozier in the palm than flannel! Easy to make, these flannel hand warmers repurpose fabric from multiple flannel shirts.

Sweater Succulents

upcycling wool sweaters into succulents

Image credit: Pillar Box Blue.

Accidently shrunk a wool sweater in the dryer? Now that it’s technically “felted wool”, you can craft with it and turn it into little succulent plants like these.

Sunglasses Case

upcycling idea for shoulder pads

Image credit: 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

Image credit: 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?

The tutorial for this project can be found in my book, “Crafting with Flannel.

Stuffed Acorns

acorn decorations from tweed jackets

Image credit: 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

Image credit: 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.

Shirt Collar Stars

diy christmas ornaments from flannel shirts

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you’re already crafting with some plaid or flannel shirts this year, set aside the collars to make these festive star ornaments for your Christmas tree. This is also a wonderful idea for a memorial project using a loved ones shirts, as well.

The tutorial for this project can also be found in my book, “Crafting with Flannel.

Fruit & Veggie Bags

Upcycle t shirt as cloth produce bags for fruit and vegetables

Image credit: 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.

Festive Necktie Wreath

diy patriotic wreath

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Whether you have a closet full of unworn ties or pick up a few at the thrift store, they are a great source of crafty inspiration. Take this patriotic wreath, for example. It’s a great way to reuse multiple ties in a single project- and think of all the other seasons/holidays you could do this for.

What Will You Make from Upcycled Clothing?

upcycled clothing ideas and crafts

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!


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craft projects with thrift store clothes

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

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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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