Gathering dust in attics and the back of closets or fading on the racks of second-hand stores, vintage clothing is in no short supply. In most cases these vintage finds are clean, tear and stain free. The materials are suitable to reuse on another garment or recycle into a completely new one. Hazardous waste is produced as a by-product of dyeing textiles, finishing knit goods and finishing wool (see References 1, 2). Recycle or remake vintage clothing into new clothes or other useful items as one part of an ecologically conscious lifestyle (see References 3).
Items you will need:
- Seam ripper
- Sewing machine and related supplies
- Knitting needles
Launder or dry clean vintage clothing in pristine, wearable condition. Inspect for any small rips, tears or missing fasteners.
Remake vintage clothing items into the proper size and cut for your body type. Many times you will find a vintage item that is the perfect color, cut and style for you, but it is too large. In this case, take it apart, seam by seam, cut it down, and sew the pieces back together. An easier variation of this is to cut apart the garment into its component pieces. Use the pieces, along with the pattern pieces of a new pattern, to cut out and sew an entirely new garment, using the vintage garment as fabric. (See References 3)
Recycle vintage clothing by cutting it apart and making entirely new objects. Vintage clothing cut into strips can be woven or crocheted into rag rugs. Or recycle the fabric into pieced quilt blocks for the top of a homemade quilt.
Unravel hand-knit sweaters and other apparel items, then use the yarn to knit new sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens or slippers. You can also unravel hand-knit or crochet afghans and use their yarn to knit new items.
Create Halloween and other costumes from vintage clothing. Some items can be worn as-is, while others will serve as material for constructing the components of the costume.
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