Is Repurposing Fabrics New?


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The word “repurposing” is fairly new but the practice has been around for centuries. Store bought or hand made shirts were first mended by reversing the collar on the shirts and mending any holes on the sleeves or body. When the collars couldn’t be turned again the shirts were cut and made into smaller sizes for children, any excess scraps were either used for rags or cut into shapes to make quilts. Buttons were removed and saved to use again.

A Tour of Vintage Quilts by Judi Fibush shows many examples of quilts used from recycled/repurposed fabrics.

Recycling Vintage Fabrics goes beyond quilts to toys, teddy bears, pillows and more!

Other great ideas from Fine Fettle Frets with DIY sewing projects and more.Fine Fettle Frets: DIY Sewing projects: repurpose, recycle, repair


Here is a recap of a few DIY sewing projects I recently completed. I hope to inspire you to repurpose, recycle and reuse too! I wanted to describe these projects a little more in detail here on my blog than I could do in My DIY

Now for the first part of the list from my friends and their parents and grandparents repurposing habits:

Coats were mended and then cut down into smaller sizes for children. Yes, even wool was made into quilts.  Although I haven’t seen this done, the parkas of today  could be cut into patterns and made into blankets and quilts.  Remember, polyester fibers do not break down in land fills.


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One of my friends remembers her mother as a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross and wrapping bandages.  Old sheets and lots of muslin were torn in strips and large rolls of bandages were rolled for the war wounded. Mom and groups of ladies would get together and have bandage rolling evenings rather like quilting bees of old.


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Small lengths of wool yarn were precious….and we knit them into squares for blankets for the troops.  we didn’t make the blankets themselves, just the squares….and whoever had to connect those lumpy, misshapen, odd colored squares must have laughed a lot….but we tried.


I have many more ideas from my friends to be published soon.  If you have ideas to add to this list, please join in by listing your ideas here too!





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