Abundance Woes: Repurposing Old Clothing

in ecotrain •  29 days ago


This weeks Ecotrain QOTW asks about Abundance Woes. "What have you had too much abundance of, and how did you deal with it?"

I pride myself in re-purposing and not being wasteful and I buy used most of the time. Even so, there is always going to be an accumulation of certain things. Clothing is one of those things that really bothers me because everything is made cheaply these days and the fashion industry is doing so much damage to our planet. I was not always careful when it came to clothing shopping, and as such, it was our biggest item of abundence that we needed to deal with.

In the winter, we decided to go through every single item in the house, and decide if we should keep it or not.

We didn't have much we didn't want until we got to our boxes of old clothing. We were shocked (and a little bit humbled) when we saw how much clothing we were holding onto.

A lot of it was business clothing from our former life, and far too fancy for wearing on the homestead. Having been in boxes for six years, not to mention all the years of wearing it before that, it was quite outdated. There were also clothes we'd received as gifts that didn't fit or suit us, quite a lot actually. I was mortified.


Should we donate the clothing? Will it all just end up in the landfill? What else could we do with it?

We ended up keeping the clothing and we are working on repurposing it. This is not entirely convenient because we have bags of clothing taking up room, but it makes us aware of and responsible for the items we have purchased. We aren't making it someone else's problem.

Old clothing is quite useful, but it takes effort to re-use it especially with sewing projects. Some projects we've come up with include cushion covers, gathering bags, wallets, storage pouches and we've only just begun! We are having a lot of fun trying to make useful items with this fabric.



I also made some lavender sachets for our own use and a rag rug (Which was a tedious project that I won't repeat but - it was a good learning experience).



Old jeans make perfect chicken saddles!

Although rather cute looking, this is not a fashion item. It is something that protects hens from overzealous roosters and prevents pecking. I am thinking about making some to sell online because we've still got plenty of fabric!


"What would have been the likely outcome if we had not dealt with it both short and long term?"

Had we simply taken the clothing to the charity shop, a lot of it would have ended up in the landfill.

We live in an age where clothing is cheap and disposable and there is far too much of it. Charity shops are overflowing and much of what they receive ends up in the landfill. Out of sight and out of mind and ignorance of the truth is not the way that we choose to live and so we make our excess our own problem and take responsibility for the fact that we chose to bring home those items in the first place.

We make decisions based on the knowledge that THERE IS NO AWAY! It is not always convenient but it keeps us in check and reminds us that our purchases have consequences.

What else should I make? Any ideas? I've been thinking our scarecrow needs a new outfit.

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love this repurposing! And I love that you don't make it someone else's problem! so true that most of the clothing from the charity shops end up in landfills and take years and years to break down, and even those that are send to "poor" countries end up destroying the countries' own clothing industry and ancient culture of clothing, replacing it with cheap western clothes.

Oh my god those chicken saddles!!! I never....

Those bags are amazing... to market with you!! I'm a bit envious as I am a TERRIBLE sewer. I just get impatient and screw it all up. Kudos to you!!!

That rag rug is gorgeous. Why never again? Was it tricky?

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Jeans bags of all types are cool looking, and I can imagine people paying a pretty penny for them.
Another way to recycle used woolen fabrics is for insulation: Entire sweaters can be stuffed into a wall, or wrapped around a pipe. I used to know someone who'd go to thrift stores for the things they throw away. As for chicken saddles... hahaha, I never even heard of them, but it makes sense. I've seen a lot of chickens with featherless backs, thinking there HAS to be a way to prevent that. Well, here you go! I'll remember your nifty solution.


I really love the idea of using old fabric for insulation, I never really thought of that but it makes sense!

Wow! Kudos to you and your family @walkerland! This is a really great way to take on responsibility and make these beautiful items by upcycling! I really love the pillow case with the pocket and all of the bags with the pretty straps.

The needlework community loves to upcycle! It’s such a great way to pitch in to reduce waste. Maybe you could make some aprons for your homestead. Nowadays mismatch is in and it would be neat putting different materials together to make some. I could see some hobo bags too! Maybe even cut some squares out of the materials and create some type of blanket throw or quilt to remind your family of how you helped reduce waste ;)

Thank you so much for sharing ~ Upvoted and Resteemed!

Written by @crosheille for the @needleworkmonday community.


Thanks for the great suggestions @crosheille! My husband made the pillows and the bags, I am so impressed - in all these years together I never knew he had a knack for sewing. :)

I made a new clothespin bag a couple months ago, with my intern, from old jeans. Someone on BuyNothing wanted to make a jeans quilt and I far more old jeans in he rag bin than she wanted! But she made a good dent in them. :)) Mostly I list stuff I don't want on BuyNothing and if it doesn't go, send it to Salvation Army.


that is a great idea - I could really use a clothespin bag so I'll definitely make one!

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look at how wonderfully creative you are, I love the rug. This is a wonderful way to use up your abundance xx

[email protected]! wow, i should have know you guys would hit this one our the ball park! I just love what you did with those fabrics, thats they way! yes!!!

Wow @walkerland - my wife would love this. She hates wasting stuff and try to reuse anything she could 👍🏼

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Thanks, @bewithbreath!

I love the chicken saddle idea. I remember having chickens as a teenager and an overzealous cockerel , but to make something like that never even crossed my mind. It's very caring.

My old clothes have mainly gone to charity shops and have started a rag rug, but mine never got any bigger than a few inches.

I like the plaiting part, just the thought of sewing it all together put me off, but I am rather a queen of unfinished projects, epsecially when it comes to crafting.

Although I do plan to make some cuddly toys made out of clothes that my kids loved, but are now too old to wear. I am seeing so many areas now that I am blessed and can give back more in.


They don't thank me for it but it really does work. I completely understand about the rag rug. Sewing it together was tedious and ours ended up smaller than intended. I saw a video where they made a simple wooden frame/loom and wove the rug and it looked so much easier. They still used the braids but they get woven instead of sewn. I love the idea of making cuddly toys, that is such a sweet idea and a lovely heirloom for the kids.

What I liked most about your way of repurposing is that you are MOST UNLIKELY to go out and "re-offend" (for want of another word). By slugging through the pile and repurposing, you are creating a deep mindfulness and awareness in yourselves. LOVE IT. Chicken saddles? The mind boggles. But hey... I'm guessing @riverflows, our resident chicken lady, knows what they're for, even if I don't. NICE contribution @walkerland!!

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The roosters grip onto the hens back and sometimes pull out feathers. Chickens are mean and if there is any exposed area they'll peck at it mercilessly causing quite horrific wounds. The saddle keeps this from happening. The life of chickens is fascinating to observe.


thanks, @artemislives! we do try to re-use everything, even chipped bowls and stuff like that are in a bin waiting for some amazing glass project that I haven't had time for yet. My husband hates clutter so it is a balance of keeping excess organized and sorted/easily accessible because you never know when something will become useful, especially on a homestead.

Cool stuff!

What are chicken saddles??


@bobydimitrov, The roosters grip onto the hens back and sometimes pull out feathers. Chickens are mean to one another and if there is any exposed area they'll peck at it mercilessly causing quite horrific wounds. The saddle keeps all of that bad stuff from happening. Here's a better explanation: https://www.walkerland.ca/chicken-saddle/

Good idea for you excellent sewing ability.

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You could make patchwork quilts! Or hot pads. Patchwork runners or even artwork wall hangings ❤ Good for you for living so mindfully!


Great ideas! I've been meaning to incorporate some of it into my macrame I really should read up on other wall art ideas because we could use more color on our walls - great suggestion!

I love your creative solutions to abundance of clothing! The rag rug is beautiful!! I hope it becomes a family heirloom :)