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Upcycling fabric helps reduce the amount of textile we throw away

What is Upcycling?

It means Creative Re-use. We can transform products or anything that could become waste into new materials with a  new purpose. Apart from having a swishing party, upcycling is another method to increase circular economy and effects of fast fashion! This can therefore, help reduce your waste and can further the life cycle of clothes and make them last longer with you.

What Fabric can I Upcycle?

Any fabric. We recommend upcycling household items that many people throw away.

Thinner fabrics are best to use if you are upcycling by hand. Thicker items are a choice if you are a bit more confident with your crafting!

Try upcycling clothing that has Polyester, Rayon and Nylon in it. Saves the microfibres from going down the drain!

  • T-Shirts
  • Polo Shirts
  • Jeans
  • Belts
  • Jackets
  • Coats
  • Undergarments
  • Scarves
  • Curtains
  • Carpeting
  • Upholstered furnishings
  • Window shades
  • Towels
  • Table Cloths
  • Bedding and Pillow Cases

How Can I Upcycle fabrics?

It is up to you! Depending on the thing you want to make or what fabric you have that you want to use, anything is possible. 

You can use various things to upcycle with:

  • Styling/Wearing Garments differently. No need to sew for this technique. Folding them to make a new shape or simply wearing them in another way.
  • Sewing by hand. Needle and Thread are a common way to upcycle fabric.
  • Sewing Machines. Probably faster and easier if you are looking to make more tan one thing.
  • Pins, Staple or Glue Guns. If you want to use anything else rather than a sewing kit. Gluing or stapling things into place is great.

What Can I Create?

Textile and Fabrics are so versatile, it can become anything. Due to its thin and flat surface, it can be made into various things that can help you learn skills, use your fabric in another way and help you save money! Not to mention, you are saving the environment by doing so too!

1. Mask from an old T-shirt

An example that we, at the One Planet Forth Valley project, made is upcycling an old-t shirt into masks! Watch how we did it!

2. Old jeans to different things!

Jeans are great for upcycling as they are durable and can last longer if you make it into different things. Jean pockets are great for holding on to small stuff like pens and other bits and bobs that could be cluttering up your home. Because they are a heavier type of material, they can be great floor mats or rags. It can be something to put in the kitchen, living room, doorway, or bathroom to keep dirt or water from going everywhere. If you have cold or tiled flooring they can be used as a great buffer for your feet. They can be great coasters too, as they are a thick enough fabric to absorb water that can ruin your tables.

A Wall Organiser. Source: todiyitry
A Pillow Case. Source:
A Braided Rug. Source:
Denim Coasters or Place Mats. Source:

3. Old Umbrellas to different things!

Scotland shares quite an amount of umbrellas due to our rainy weather. Both the fabric and the metal frame can be made into something useful such as a decor, buntings, waterproof bag or something to hang your washing on. The umbrella handle can also become a hook!

Umbrella Decor. Source: Bibimbap Restaurant in Glasgow
Buntings. Source: Burda Style

Final Thoughts: Upcycle instead of Binning

Upcycling is better for the environment and helps to keep our landfills underwhelmed. Slowing down with the amount of clothes we are buying and binning are good practices for protecting our environment. By upcycling our things, we make use of our time and possessions by making them more valuable, we then create a better circular economy. 

Have a read at our pages on clothing care: