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How to Repurpose Household Textiles

by Nikki Willhite


Anytime you recycle, repurpose or reuse something, you save money.


There are so many ways to reuse household textiles. There are many items in the typical household, or that you can purchase used,  that can serve you for a bit longer if you just take the time to make a few changes.


Here are some suggestions:




- Potholders are a very simple sewing project. You can use layers of old towels to make them thick, leftover scraps of fabric from sewing projects, or you can unravel an old yarn sweater and crochet or knit them.


- Cotton yarn dries quickly and makes good washrags. You can also cut down towels and just hem or serge the edges to make wash rags.


- If you are tired of wasting money on paper towels, make extra washcloths and use them instead.




- If you need pillowcases, make them yourself out of sheets. Again, this is a very simple sewing project. Use one of your own sheets, cutting out part of the fabric if necessary, or purchase a used sheet. Don't be afraid to use thrift store sheets. They are not putting out new sheets on beds when you stay at a hotel. Most of the new washing machines have sanitary cycles.


- Pillow shams can be made out of pieces of towels, bedspreads, or fabric.


- Pillows for the bed can be cut out of pieces of bedspreads. There are some lovely vintage embroidered chenille bedspreads that can be cut up and made into wonderful pillows. They usually sell cheap because of age spots.


- If you keep liquid on your bedside table, you need a piece of fabric to protect your table. This can be a no-sew iron project, or you can piece fabrics together and quilt the project, or just hem a piece of fabric.




- Lots of color and pattern on a dining room table makes it look more inviting. Use fabrics and yarn to make placemats, table runners, and napkins.


- Old drapes make wonderful table runners and placemats. Again you can use the iron and some hemming tape if you don't want to sew.


- One of the easiest ways to make napkins is to cut them out of old tablecloths.


- Protect your table by making hot pads for your casseroles.



- Braided rugs can be crocheted from strips of fabric or made from yarn. Once you start making household items out of yarn, you will never give an old sweater away. Just pull the yarn off the sweater and wind it into balls. The more colors and texture you have, the more interesting your projects. Save even small balls, as yarn is easily tied together to extend the length.


- Always think twice before discarding draperies. In addition to the possibly in the dining room, depending on the fabric, there are many craft projects to consider. You can make stuffed toys for children, costumes, Christmas decorations, use them for the backing of other projects, use some of the fabric to add a side or bottom border to other drapes, make bed skirts and pillow shams, and even clothing. There is a lot of fabric in a pair of draperies and lots of possibilities.




- Learn to rethink your clothing. Embellishments change the look of a garment. Shortening jackets makes your legs look longer. Taking sleeves off garments gives you layering possibilities. Heavier weight fabrics can be made into purses and tote bags.


Look around your home and plan ahead. When you make a textile purchase, think of the future and what you might do with the fabric when you no longer want to use it for the reason you are buying it.


What is in your house that I have not mentioned?  How about aprons, mats to protect hot food, casserole carriers, pet beds, picnic and camping items, dress up clothes, mini-stage curtains, doll clothing, and more. Each family is different. I cannot go into any of the rooms in my house without finding textiles.


Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose, Save money. Find a new creative outlet and have fun being frugal.


About the Author: Nikki Willhite, mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing articles on the topic of frugal living for over a decade. Visit her at - where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money!








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