CALL US NOW: 0207-700-2354
FREE UK shipping on orders £40+ (excl. sale items)

How to recycle worn out clothes uk

January 7, 2024

 How can you give your clothes a new lease of life, cut down on greenhouse gases and recycle worn out clothes uk? There’s quite a few ways, actually. Get crafting!

Recycle worn out clothes UK – patchwork

Babies are awesome, but they grow up so fast! Unfortunately, this means that the tiny cute baby bonnet that you bought for them this summer definitely won’t fit next year. Ditto the sleep suit with the doggy on it, and that sassy faux fur jacket. It’s a shame, because it all holds such great memories of the early years. That’s your clue – memories. Take a square from each garment, and stitch them together to make a patchwork memory quilt.


Make sure to wash each piece of clothing first and pick a nice section – no marks or worn bits. For the quilt itself, there are a lot of designs to choose from online. You can Then back the fabric you’ve just created, and use it as a coverlet. Or make it into a soft toy. If your crafting skills are not top notch, there are professionals who will do all this for you. Just send them the clothes.

Memory Quilts

You can do a similar recycle worn out clothes UK thing with adult clothing. After all, your own, and your partner’s, clothes hold many memories too. The beautiful sundress you wore on your first date, that now has stains from the baby on it? You can use the fabric from the skirt. Your partner’s plaid shirt, that they wore when you went on holiday to Canada? That red and blue print will remind you of the roaring log fire you sat in front of. Add in the denim from the dungarees you wore when you were pregnant and it’s a perfect combination.


The good thing about using bigger garments like this is that you get more fabric out of them. That means you can take a more traditional quilt with a repeating pattern. Maybe you can make something big enough that when you finally buy your own log cabin in Canada you can take it with you to keep you warm!

Patchwork Quilts – Try the Thrift Store

And if you get the patchwork bug, you can continue to do it with recycle worn out clothes UK even if you have no more old clothes of your own to cut up. It actually gives you a little more freedom to choose clothes from the local charity shops to cut up and make into quilts. Perhaps start with something that is made in a fabric that you love. Then you can design the rest of the scheme around it.


For example, say you found a floral pair of trousers in pastel blue on white. You can then look for other florals on white – maybe pink flowers on a dress, or a pair of peach and green curtains. Or you can go the other way and look at an all-blue colour scheme. By the way, try hunting down things that provide large amounts of fabric, like curtains, duvet covers, and sheets. It makes the job easier! Then you can use dresses, etc, for accent colours.

Recycle worn out clothes – Crazy Patchwork

Recycle worn out clothes uk - Charity shop, Crowland, Lincolnshire, UK -

Charity shop –
Photo credit: Charity shop by Bob Harvey, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

If you like the idea of using recycled material clothing but find traditional patchwork schemes too formal and mathematical for you, there are a few choices. One is crazy patchwork. Crazy patchwork is done without a formal design, you take scraps of fabric of any shape and sew them next to another scrap of fabric. This way you can use very small bits of material and odd shapes. To make it easier, still use straight lines, such as triangles of various dimensions and rectangles, rhombuses and squares. Curves are quite difficult to achieve!

How About Appliqué?

If you want to do something flowing with your recycle worn out clothes uk, you can also do appliqué instead. Appliqué technique means cutting out the shape you desire in one fabric, and applying it to another backing. In some ways it looks similar to patchwork. You have a bit more freedom in the design. Sketch out the picture you want, and trace each part in tracing paper. Pin that to your recycled material clothing. Cut it out, leaving a 1/2cm border all around. Now make a neat edge by ironing the border to the wrong side, or just tuck it under. You can also carefully glue it, but make sure the glue doesn’t show on the top surface. Then hand sew or machine the motif to the backing.


If you want to add embroidery, you can do that first before sewing it down, or later once you have put it on the backing. Doing it first is neater, but doing it once on the backing can be easier as the whole thing is stiffer and less likely to pucker. This is something where you can use many techniques in one piece. How about a patchwork background, and appliqué characters with embroidered details? For example, you could make a cat with embroidered eyes.


You can also do an appliqué without making a hem or neat edge. It depends on the effect you want and what you are using the completed piece for. An appliqué on children’s clothing needs to be finished as carefully as you can, since it is likely to get wear and tear and will fray. If it’s for a wall hanging, you could leave the edges raw.

Recycle worn out clothes uk – Artistic Wall Hanging

A wall hanging is perhaps the place where you can be the most free. This is where you can add sequins or other extra bits and pieces without too much fear they will fall off. If you’re not a whizz at sewing, you can also just glue things on. You don’t need to touch a needle! I recommend a glue gun. Try watching Drag Race for inspiration, They use glue guns all the time to make fabulous creations. It’s very freeing to think you can make something fun in an afternoon without labouring over all the tiny details. Just be aware that it’s not really a super sturdy technique, and eventually things might drop off, even on a wall hanging.


You can donate clothes you no longer want and find clothes donated by high street retailers and fast fashion outlets via local council websites. Find your nearest textile recycling and textile
banks for unwanted clothing and unwanted items online and donate tonnes of clothing.


The above are just some ideas. Feel free to play around with recycled material clothing and create some masterpieces!