Old, worn out leggings, gym pants and yoga pants usually end up in landfill, but here's a simple method to repurpose them into 3 useful items.
Leggings can make new hair ties, soft cleaning cloths and spare elastic. No sewing required!
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I wear my leggings to death and this particular pair was downgraded to painting and gardening, BUT that was before they became see through!
Now, they are really too worn-out to be useful for clothing and with our journey to zero waste I just couldn't throw them in the bin without attempting to repurpose or upcycle them into something useful again.
Because leggings are typically made from synthetic fabrics, they can't really be composted and they do release micro-fibres into the water.
This technique works great on kids leggings too that are too worn for donating to the opshop or thrift store.
What you will need:
> Clean, Worn out old leggings
> A spare 5 minutes
Here is a snapshot of a not so worn out pair of pants, and what I salvaged from my old pair.
I kept 100% of the fabric!
First, lay the leggings out on the floor or a clear surface.
Make sure there is nothing underneath as you don't want to be cutting up other items in the process.
Step 1. Make Hair Ties
Leggings make awesome hair ties that are not only soft and gentle, but stay in position more effectively than standard hair ties meaning you don't have to tie them as tight.
Huge bonus for long or thick hair and preventing headaches at the end of the day.
To create hair ties;
> Begin at the very bottom of one leg and cutting directly across about 1-2 inches in.
This creates your fist hair band, and as the leggings are already the right shape, there is no need to do anything more.
>Continue cutting strips across the bottom of each leg until you read the top of the legs.
You should now have a huge pile of hair ties.
This was great timing for me as I was down to my last few hair bands and now I don't have to buy any for quite a long time OR deal with the plastic they come with.
My leggings were 3/4 length and I got about 20 hair ties out of it.
Step 2. Harvest Spare Elastic
Providing the waist band is still stretchy and functional, this can be snipped off in the same way as you cut the hair bands.
This will leave you with the perfect size elastic for your waist.
Why is this useful?
Because this can replace elastic in skirts OR be used to create a belt OR to create a new skirt from other re-purposed fabric.
There are probably many more uses for this, but those are what came to mind as something I will likely do with it.
3. Create Soft Cleaning Cloths
This step will use up the remaining fabric, so its important to do this last!
You can simply use what is remaining as one cloth just as it is, but I wanted smaller cloths and will use this for cleaning the TV and PC screens and maybe a little dusting (if I ever get around to it).
>Cut along each of the seams on the remaining fabric which will give you 2 pieces, then cut both of these in half.
You can choose how big or small you want it.
(And, it has to be said, it will kinda depend on the size of your bum......the bigger the better...so be proud if you belong to the big booty club).
As the leggings are so worn, the fabric has become really super soft so this will be great for all sorts of things.
As you can see, I got a little messy during some painting around the house, but it surprised me how well the paint stayed on the fabric.
Makes me think that you can potentially paint your own patterns onto plain leggings....although, I don't think I'd have the skill or patience!
So, a big cheers to keeping leggings out of landfill and not needing to go to the shop!
Are you guilty of hanging on to clothes that are well past their wearability?
Maybe you have a few pairs of leggings in your stash too!
Next time you need a new pair of leggings, consider getting making the switch to more sustainable option, like these organic bamboo leggings.
Got old t-shirts too?
Of course you do, everyone has!
Here's a couple of things you can do with them;
> Make T-shirt Yarn
(also works with leggings)
>Make a NO-SEW T-shirt Bag