DON’T throw away those T-shirts unless they’re ready for the rag bag! I just read recently in the local newspaper that our clothes are going to get more expensive because the cost of cotton has doubled and the cost for synthetic material has gone up 50% over the past year. I’ve always been one who has a hard time disposing of clothing if I think there’s still some wear left much to my sister’s disgust. But sometimes styles change or my size or I’m just plain tired of the same old outfit and am persuaded to let it go, although I feel by that time no one else wants it either. That’s where refashioning and re-purposing comes in. The challenge is to re-make the item into something usable for me or someone else.
Friday night my husband and I and some friends went out to dinner and they brought along a box of clothing to send to the Rez that included T-shirts, shorts and a few sweaters. Although most of the items were in good condition I spied a T-shirt with a small stain and some others that were a little worn around the collar and the creative wheels started turning. What could I turn these into? Well I searched through stacks of patterns in my stash and found a McCalls baby pattern (M4280) that included a pattern for panties that looked promising. A couple of hours later I had 4 colorful pairs of panties, 8 baby washcloths, which were made from the sleeves (backed with flannel) and I still had the fronts of the shirts left with the logos for more creations! The panties could be used for underwear, something highly coveted on the Rez, or I might make a dress to match and they will serve as bloomers.
About those shirt fronts….Got a knotted baby hat from a Sew Baby pattern that took all of 20 minutes to make , made some bibs from a pattern I traced from my grandson’s bib he left on his last visit , and some long pants for 3- 12 months, pattern from a Kwik Sew book for babies. Another t-shirt yielded the skirt on a dress for a 4 year old, top part of the dress was salvaged from a 4T shirt I already had that was stained, just cut off the shirt, added the skirt part from measurements in a Sew Little pattern and presto a toddler’s dress in under an hour! I’ve used this idea before but used a woven fabric for the skirt. The loose fitting style is perfect for some of the toddlers on the Rez who are on the chubby side due to their high carb diets. I’m thinking a pair of shorts might be in the works to wear under it. Check out our pattern page for more refashioning patterns and ideas.
So maybe you don’t have a lot of spare cash to buy new fabric, take another look at your closet or friends and family’s and “mine” yourself some goodies that you can remake into some unique clothing that is really needed on the Rez. While you’re at it don’t forget to tell them about Pine Ridge and what our group is trying to do. Check out local thrift stores, especially when they have bag sales, where you can load up a bag for a couple of bucks and get enough stuff to keep you busy for weeks! Yes I do use new fabric too but really enjoy recycling and repurposing to keep old clothing from clogging our already bulging landfills.
So come on, share those photos and ideas of your projects that reuse or repurpose as well as those items made from new materials.