Clothes – When They Aren’t Clothes Any More

Clothes that can no longer be fixed or altered can still be useful. Absorbent items such as T-shirts, towels, and socks can enjoy a second life as cleaning cloths or shop rags.

You can make a dusting mitt from the sleeve of a sweatshirt. The fuzzy inside will be the outside of the duster. Allow enough length so that when you reach your hand into the sleeve from the end, the cuff of the sleeve is around your wrist. Leave enough material beyond the tips of the fingers of your outstretched hand to allow you to hem it closed.

A sock rubber-banded to the handle of a broom will let you reach dust and cobwebs in high places.

The leg of a pair of slacks can become a tube pillow for your neck. Stuff it and either tie or sew it shut on each end.

A square pocket can become an inner pocket for your purse or tote bag. Cut it out, leaving an inch of material all the way around. Turn all the edges under ¼ inch and then another ¼ inch, and sew it into your purse or tote.

If an adult garment has large sections of sound cloth, the good areas can be used as fabric to make clothes for babies or dolls.

Ruined panty hose can do many things. If you run them through the sleeves of a shirt or sweater, you can hang it to dry without getting clothespin marks on the garment. Put a section of it over the end of the vacuum hose to trap small objects you want to find, like earrings or contact lenses. They make a nice outer casing for things like patio umbrellas or small tents–the material will breathe, reducing the risk of mildew.

Socks with worn out feet? Cut off the tops and sew a top on to a mid-calf sock to make it into a knee-high sock. Or sew two tops together to make a leg warmer. Sock tops can also make mittens longer, so they go up into your sleeve instead of leaving a gap between mitten and jacket.

If you have long hair, you can use a sock to make a large bun. It’s too hard to explain here, but go to and search on “sock bun” to see it.

Buying a large quantity of socks in the same color and style can save money and effort over time. You will never have an unmatched sock. If one wears out or gets lost, the other still matches all the other socks. I have a dozen tan socks that I wear with nearly everything. A man could do this with black dress socks, an athlete with white tube socks.

If you get a run in one leg of a pair of pantyhose, you can cut that leg off and wear it with another one-legged pair. If they are both the same leg, turn one of them inside out. If you catch a run when it’s just starting, you can stop it by painting both ends of the run with clear nail polish.

The sound part of worn out denim clothes can be used for many things. Make children’s jeans last longer by sewing a large piece of denim inside each knee area in advance. Denim is also handy for making potholders and purses. It makes a relatively masculine quilt or couch throw. For directions, use any Internet search engine to look for “make a denim purse” (or potholders or whatever).



Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.


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