An estimated £140 million worth of clothing is sent to landfill every year in the UK alone (WRAP) and fabrics take hundreds of years to decompose (many don’t due to the plastics they contain). The good news is that old clothes, even damaged and holey ones, can still be put to good use to avoid being wasted.   

Clothes that are damaged, stained or holemay be able to be recycled, or, you can use other parts of them to create something entirely new and useful! Here are 5 easy and crafty ideas to get started with:  

  1. Fix and Repair  
  2. Make Your Own Rags 
  3. Make a reusable Facemask 
  4. Make Your Own Fabric Patches 
  5. Go Zero Waste and Turn your T-Shirts into Totes 

1) Fix and Repair  

Thinking of binning your clothes because of a tear, missing button or fallen hem and therefore can't be donated? Instead try fixing it first by teaching yourself using these easy tips to fix a hem and sew a button, or with a YouTube tutorial.  

Don’t fancy fixing yourself? No probs, there are also lots of places that can repair your items for you like Sojo app, or try taking items to your local dry cleaners (they often have a skilled sewer who can do repairs!). We love The Seam who pair you up with locally skilled seamstresses.  

2) Make your own rags 

Any clothing can be made into a rag which makes a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper towels or disposable cloths. Rags are great for cleaning your home, polishing furniture, mopping up spillages, washing your car, cleaning your bike and lots more. You can never have enough rags!  

3) Make a reusable facemask 

Old cotton fabrics such as t-shirts and towels are perfect for making into reusable facemasks. Globally we are estimated to use 129 billion every single month, and single-use masks aren't recyclable or biodegradable, so with everyone needing them day-to-day a reusable can make a big difference. Here's an easy tutorial on how to make a mask in minutes.  

Written method: 

  • cut a piece of fabric 19cm X 30cm  
  • fold it in half as shown, with the patterned side inside  
  • fold two pleats into it and it should be about 8-9cm tall with the pleats in 
  • iron the pleats in to hold their shape  
  • get two 15cm elastics (hairbands cut open will work nicely!) 
  • place the elastics inside the fold, either side (these will be straps for the ears) 
  • fold back in half, and sew down either side 
  • make sure the elastics are placed correctly for the ends to be sewn into place, and the two pleats are still held neatly 
  • Turn the mask inside out to reveal the patterned side, and it's ready to use!  

4) Make your own fabric patches 

Perhaps your favourite jeans or jumpers have holes, or you just want to spice up some old clothing. Why not use an old t-shirt, top or pair of pants to create patches for your clothes? 

5) Go zero waste and turn your t-shirts into totes 

If a t-shirt isn't your style anymore, can you turn it into something else? Could you make your old tops into a tote bag instead? This is a great way to skip plastic bags, save money on buying reusables and get creative too! Love Your Clothes has lots more creative ideas about you can turn your clothes into something entirely new like tote bags and even headbands.  

Hungry for more inspiration? 

If you want to cherish the clothes you're holding on to, there are simple ways to make them last longer, such as washing at a lower temperature and cutting down on ironing and tumble drying. 


Or dive into our hub of tips for hundreds of everyday ideas to live more sustainably.