In a world where sustainability and eco-consciousness are gaining momentum, upcycling crafts have emerged as a creative and rewarding way to repurpose everyday items that would otherwise end up in the trash or sealed away in storage. By transforming discarded materials into new and useful objects, upcycling not only reduces waste but also allows us to tap into our imagination and artistic flair. From repurposing preloved tees into a quilt to making small practical projects and unique handmade gifts, the possibilities are endless.
In this blog post, we'll explore five creative upcycling crafts that will inspire you to look at your stash in a whole new light. Get ready to unleash your creativity, save the planet, and turn ordinary objects into extraordinary and memorable pieces.
1. Make a T-shirt quilt
T-Shirt quilts are the perfect way to preserve cherished memories and give new life to your collection of beloved tees. Instead of letting those nostalgic shirts gather dust in your closet, why not turn them into a cozy and sentimental quilt? These quilts are not only a functional and practical way to repurpose old shirts but also a beautiful testament to the moments and experiences they represent. Whether it's concert tees, sports jerseys, or sentimental shirts from special events, each square tells a unique story. With a pile of tees in hand, reach for Beyond the Tee, Innovative T-Shirt Quilt. This book will walk you through nine different project options and show you how to solve common challenges like motifs separated by zippers and logos that are too big or too small.
2. Play with kraft-tex and your fabric stash
Here is the 411 on kraft-tex: kraft-tex is a rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes just like fabric. If you’re new to the world of kraft-tex, we’d suggest you try out a sampler pack which has 8 1⁄2 ̋ × 11 ̋ sheets for adding embellishments or making smaller projects. Kraft-tex not only has a new set of rich, deep colors in their Designer collection (say hello to Atlantic Blue, Teal, Alpine Green, Ochre, Terracotta, and Bordeaux!) but we have free projects that only need sampler kraft-tex sheets (any color of your choice!) and a few supplies that you most likely have lying around your crafting corner. From a practical, pretty pouch to a tech stand to a precious mini suitcase, you’ll surely find a project you’ll love and that can be done in an afternoon or evening.
Once you’re fully converted to the limitless possibilities of kraft-tex, check out these books and single patterns on making stylish totes, purses, yoga bags, and more accessories.
3. Transform your beloved garments
We all have pieces considered timeless, whether out of sentimental value or due to its high-quality material. Instead of putting those clothes aside, upgrade their style to wear it again and again. Add or remove pockets, adjust the neckline, or swap a zippered back to a button front! Make a tee shirt into a dress, and change up waistlines, shirt yokes, necklines, sleeves, cuffs, and more to develop a limitless fashion wardrobe (without hurting the bank!). With step-by-step instructions, clear illustrations, and how-to photos, The Savvy Seamstress will show you to make and sew endless variations on your favorite men's, women's, and children's garment patterns, with a professional finish. Learning the skills in this book will also come a long way for those looking to make their wardrobes last longer or upkeep their beloved garment pieces.
4. For those who thrift, alter and restyle your finds
Unlock your closet’s potential with simple, stylish wardrobe refashions you can sew at home. DIY-style blogger Suzannah Hamlin Stanley provides her unique blend of basic alterations and step-by-step restyling tutorials to give you a wardrobe you’ll truly love in her book, DIY Wardrobe Makeovers! Express your style and save money by embellishing and combining garments into newfound faves. No sloppy shortcuts here—learn how to alter sweaters, pants, and everything in your wardrobe for a more flattering fit.
5. Craft trendy gifts even the pickiest teen will love
Most of us would agree that sewing something that teens will like is, without a doubt, a challenge. In Project Teen, Melissa Mortenson, sewist and mother of three teenagers, shares not only her 21 teen-approved designs, but also invaluable tips and tricks for sewing for this unique (a.k.a. picky) age group. Whether you make a stylish tech cover, a cushy study pillow, or a personalized quilt, your teen will love these handmade gifts as much as you love them. Gift enough of these handmade projects and you just might reach “GOAT” status (Greatest Of All Time).