Any parent will know the rate at which kids grow out of their clothes!
The answer is very quickly. But this is no excuse to waste them - especially those items that you've grown attached to. Any clothing that means something to you is worth keeping and upgrading - whether it's their first Halloween outfit or just your favourite fluffy and cuddly dressing-gown of theirs that you just love.
There are so many different ways to re-use old clothing and to turn them into something new again! Not only is this good for the environment but also for the purse strings! Kids will also enjoy this great way to get crafty and to learn some practical and useful skills to keep with them for life! All you'll need is their old clothes, a little time, a little love and perhaps a little money - depending on how big your plans are. Either way, at the end of it, your children will have some new things to treasure - whether it be a different piece of clothing, a handmade cuddly toy or some bunting for their bedrooms.
Send to the professionals
There is an endless list of things that you could create from old clothing - so if you don't sew yourself, there are plenty of people who can sew for you from Etsy, for example. These artists allow you to send in your old clothes for them to be made into toys or blankets etc.
This is a really simple project for any sewing ability to start with. Cut the fabric into squares of the same sides and keep the sewing on one side!
Making bunting with your children's favourite old clothes can be a great way to reuse them. Cut large diamond shapes out of the fabric and fold it in half over a piece of string then glue down each side and put a book/weight on top of it until it dries and secures. Repeat until you've got a long piece of bunting!
Create a memory wall of your favourite pieces - by stretching the patterned fabrics over canvases, putting them in frames, or stretching into embroidery hoops! This is entirely dependant on the finished look that you wish to create and the style of your home!
Why not give your hand-me-downs to your toys and dolls? They may need a little readjusting and an upgrade but its a fun and inexpensive way of making your toys look good!
Merge two items together or cut them up. We've all cut trousers into short before, right? But why stop there? Sew your child's old favourite top (that is too short for them) onto a skirt to make a high waisted dress!
If you're expecting another little one - why not make some bibs for them using their siblings old and forgotten clothing?
This is a really simple and easy way to make new mittens - cut out a mitten shape onto a t-shirt (make sure to cut the front and back of the shirt), then sew around the edges to attach the two separate pieces, then turn inside out to hide and protect the stitching.
If you have any Christmas clothes or festive coloured clothing - why not try making a Christmas stocking out of them? If you're not confident enough to make one, try sewing or glueing your material offcuts onto an already existing stocking.
Elbow or knee patches
If your children are into sports such as rollerblading or cycling, they might need some elbow or knee pads. Making ones out of clothing can be an easy way to make sure that they're happy with the patterns and designs - and will be much cheaper than buying them elsewhere.
If your children have grown out of their winter pyjamas - don't worry, just cut off two-thirds of the fabric for the limbs and you've got yourself some short pyjamas perfect for summer.
Pillow or cushions
This project is so easy. Take an already finished pillow and just add baby clothes for the design however you like. Why not do a family tree design? You could also use old t-shirts or your favourite old outfits from all of your children and make a memory pillow.
Make a soft and cuddly toy for little ones of all ages. You can make it with old baby clothes and baby blankets, creating a dice shape with basic sewing and stuffing. Then add ribbons into the seems to make it easier for your little one to grab and give her something to draw their attention to. Make the block out of really soft fabrics from pyjamas or onesies so that it’s good for teething babies who tend to bite on their toys. Stuff it with leftover quilt batting or even old blankets if you don’t have any batting on hand.
So many children with long hair wear headbands, so why not take that opportunity to preserve some of those favourite little outfits. This is so easy and takes no time at all! You just cut the elastic waistband out of their little trousers and then embellish with a rose or ribbon that you make from the rest of the material. Elastic headbands are so cute but they can be costly. This way, you get the cuteness without spending a fortune for the headbands. It will also mean so much more.
Using your baby clothes that no longer fit, why not make it into an activity book? Toddlers can learn how to button, zip, and even tie when you take those clothing pieces and make this activity book. Plus, the book will be really soft so it’s perfect for little ones, too. You can add to the book as time goes on and use for generations to come.
Plush alphabet letters
Turn those clothing pieces into a cute, patterned plush alphabet that will make learning the ABCs fun and easy. Depending on your preference, you may only need a few pieces of clothing – if you want the alphabet pieces to match in colour and design. Note that this takes a bit of sewing but the end result is amazing. Simply sew a font of our choice onto two layers of fabric with stuffing in the middle - and then cut off the excess from the edges. There are so many ways for little ones to use these letters, for example - you could use fabric glue to attach magnets to the back and to turn these into fridge decorations to spell their names. Or, just have them amongst their toys to learn and play with spelling. There are lots of ways that this can be an educational bonus too!
Originally from Bournemouth, Annabelle spent her childhood travelling and exploring. She moved to Bahrain at the age of 13 and then to London at 19 where she attended Chelsea College of Arts, UAL. She loves all things creative - especially if they involve recycling materials, as this is what she is most passionate about. Aside from art, Annabelle also enjoys walking her dogs and cooking for friends and family.