My parents are practically the original DIY gurus. I wish I could say I have the same skill in craftsmanship and eye for detail as my parents (95% of the things they’ve created are completely indistinguishable as being homemade), but currently I don’t. Perhaps I’ll get better at it with time. Also, my parents did a great job of schooling me in the art of frugality. I’m pretty good with budgets and know how to make the most of what I’ve got. Unfortunately this frugal do it yourself mentality sometimes has a negative connotation as being of low quality, ugly, or simply cheap. A while back I came across the term “repurposing” and fell in love. Out the door went the feelings of sub par thirft store worth and in came words like earth conscious, industrious, and creative married to a low price tag.

Currently my favorite way to repurpose is to take old clothes and make them into something else. I’ve mentioned a couple of repurposed clothing items in the past such as Cooper’s jean blanket or my Halloween shirt, but here are some of my recent projects.

I took a baggy knit shirt that I rarely wear and turned it into a corsage shirt. I used a tutorial from Make It and Love It which has an entire section on repurpsing clothes for anyone interested. I spruced it up with some beads that I inherited from Noel’s grandma. Total Cost: $0

I also turned an old dress that was a tad bit short into a skirt. This is probably the easiest repurpose you can imagine. Cut off the top of the dress and sew an elastic casing. Total Cost: $1.29

This was only a partial repurpose. I wanted to make a skirt like one I’d seen at Down East. I found the fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby and used an old shirt for the lining. Total Cost: $12

When we first moved into our place it felt like we were spending money left and right on things we needed (dresser, bookcase, lamps, etc), so I didn’t want to spend very much on decorating. I had copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and The Living Christ that I wanted to frame, but no extra frames hanging around. I  used an x-acto knife to cut some frame shapes out of cardboard and then took fabric scraps I’d kept from a maternity dress and wrapped them around the cardboard. I decorated with miscellaneous buttons. The only thing I purchased was glue sticks for my hot glue gun. Total Cost: $3.49

We buy a lot of stuff in bulk and are constantly looking for containers to put things in. I’ve thought about buying fancy looking canisters, but can’t bring myself to pay for them. Besides, I don’t have that many people judging the aesthetics of my kitchen. We’ve washed and reused old food containers, redecorated cardboard boxes, and found new uses for things we don’t use very often (like old Nalgene bottles).  Total Cost: $0

Any things you guys do to repurpose?

9 thoughts on “Repurposing

  1. I hear ya! I haven’t gotten into repurposing (apparently that’s not a real word; or else I spelled it wrong) clothes and sewing them into things too much, but I am always trying to reuse boxes and storage things. A(n empty) Costco box of 24-pack yogurt now resides in my dresser drawer to help organize things, and I currently have boxes of various sizes taking up space in my kitchen that I “hate to throw out (recycle)” because I “might” need a box for something. It’s kind of a catch 22 for me, because I don’t like having clutter around, but I also hate to throw things out because I might need them–and it’s silly to throw something out, only to have to go buy a new identical item a month later! Some of my favorite cheap makes were a “moby” style baby wrap (buy a bolt of fabric on the clearance stand at Walmart for $5, cut it in half the long way and give one half to a friend, two wraps for $5, instead of $40 each) and a DIY nursing cover.

  2. You are great! I love the shirt and skirt you made, I could learn a few thing from you. It always makes you feel so good after you finish a project and you can wear it makes it ten times better.

  3. The dress to skirt is a great idea. I did that with a cute (but super short) dress I found at TJ Maxx for like $11. It had a thick elastic band at the waist so I literally just cut the top off and have a ruffly black skirt now that I occasionally try to pass for business casual 🙂 I like your clever/cute ideas, I wish I knew how to sew….

  4. I love everyone of your ideas. I’ve been doing the same. It’s amazing what you could do with stuff you have lying around the house, and how much money you can save. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love it! I do little things all the time- but not really clothes. You have a talent to make things look good enough to wear them! 🙂

  6. I wish I could think of something that I repurpose, but for now I just wanted to tell you that I love that striped skirt. It is so cute!!

  7. Nice work! Some day I’ll learn how to sew. I’ll be having to come up with some of my own ideas as well, and we are currently in the stage of having to buy EVERYTHING, so getting creative to save some money will be great

  8. I love the clothes! They completely look like something that you would find in a trendy store. I have a rocking chair that I’m planning to reupholster, but my sewing machine is under the weather and I haven’t quite over-analyzed the fabric color yet, so it might take a few more months (years). Anyway, thanks for the inspiration and I can’t wait for the next installment!

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