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How to Upcycle Old Children’s Clothes

Ideas for #upcycling kids clothes

Growth spurts: they’re inevitable and unpredictable, and despite the hundreds of growth charts that have been developed over the years, nothing can truly prepare you for them because growth spurts vary from child to child, and from spurt to spurt. The growth of our children can be a source of pride for us, but at the same time, it can cause us a lot of frustration, especially when the clothes we bought for them just a month ago have already become too short or too tight! A child’s fluctuating size has resulted in piles of unused or slightly-used clothes not just for regular moms and dads, but even celebrities like Kim Kardashian. What do we do with all these clothes that have piled up over the years?

Many parents have avoided the problem altogether, investing in clothes that can be used in their original purpose. After all, as Kate Pietrasik of Tootsa told The Wales Online, “Clothes for children should be built for sturdier purposes than the changing vagaries of style – to be passed from sibling to sibling, or friend to friend regardless of gender.” Following this logic, parents have relied on the culture of hand-me-downs to slowly chip away at the pile of clothes their kids no longer use. In recent years, however, we’ve seen a great number of parents opting instead to upcycle their kids’ old clothes.

Upcycling’s the latest trend in making the most of what’s lying around the house, and if you have clothes that your kids have grown too big for, you’ll want to have a few ideas of what to do. The best thing about upcycling is how you often don’t need much more than that pile of old clothes in the attic or in the back of the closet for these projects, and they’re simple enough that you can learn how to make them as you go. Here are some great projects to help you get started:

Keepsake Ornaments from the Best Baby Clothes

Keepsakes made from #upcycled children's clothing
(Image Credit: mesewcrazy.com)

We start off with something simple: a project you can make from old baby clothes, and doesn’t really require a lot of sewing expertise, or a lot of time. The idea comes from Me Sew Crazy, and it doesn’t get any simpler than this. The idea is to find a piece of clothing that holds special memories for you and your kids – one with unmistakable patterns that are sure to bring these memories back whenever you see your ornament. Me Sew Crazy thought to use the flower design from an old romper in their ornament, but you can go with just about anything. Cut the pattern out, and cut a similar shape from the rest of the fabric as a backing, sew the pieces together, add a string to hang the ornament with, and you now have one piece of your kids’ childhood to hang on the Christmas tree every year! You can do this every year, slowly collecting ornaments that also trace your kids’ growth, and you’ll have fond memories whenever you look at the tree.

Quilts from Old Clothes

Quilts made from #repurposed old clothes #DIY
(Image Credit:freckledlaundry.com)

If that pile doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller, maybe you could take on a larger project that’s still fairly simple and straightforward to execute. Jami of Freckled Laundry shared this idea with Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts: creating a quilt out of old clothes. A quilt is a classic symbol of comfort, and you’re sure to get a lot of use out of it, but it’s also an easy project to undertake. All you need to get is a large piece of fabric to serve as the back or lining of the quilt, and then you can start arranging everything in neat squares across of it. Use different materials for a textured feel, and as Jami said, “Have fun and try not to cry as you remember the memories attached to each of the little outfits!”

Creatures from Baby Clothes

#Upcycle old baby clothes into toys and pillows
(Image Credit: alisaburke.blogspot.com)

There’s nothing like a stuffed animal to comfort a child, but what if you could make stuffed animals from the clothes they used to wear? Alisa Burke faced the same problems we faced: a baby that was “growing like a weed” and a pile of slightly-used clothes that was growing just as fast! Her solution? To use some of the cutest and most memorable outfits to create stuffed animals for her little girl. This project takes a bit more skill, but when done right, the results are just fantastic! All you need to do is cut up the pieces of clothing into shapes to be used in the animals, start sewing the patterns of the animal faces on them, stuff the pieces, and sew them up. With this design, you can make throw pillows or full stuffed creatures complete with legs and arms and a tail.

Have you come up with your own projects from upcycling your children’s clothes?

We’d love to hear from you in the comment section!

Author Bio:
Allie Cooper has always believed in the saying, “Waste not, want not,” and over the years, she’s learned to upcycle everything from the pile of baby clothes in her attic to the old table runners she bought for Christmas and never used again. She’s not one to call herself an arts-and-crafts kind of girl, but she sure does love seeing the finished products of the simple projects she comes across! You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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One Response to How to Upcycle Old Children’s Clothes

  1. Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada August 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    I would say about 85% of our baby’s clothes are hand-me-downs and 10% are gifts. I have been very lucky and had to buy very few things. I actually find that most parents are happy to move things along once their child has outgrown them. It clears clutter from their house! I am keeping all of my baby’s clothes for our next child and when we’re done, I will pass them on to a friend who is just getting started. It’s such a great way to save money and do something positive for the environment.
    Jess @ Best Credit Cards Canada recently posted…How to Use a Credit Card ResponsiblyMy Profile

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