Lifestyle

Memories are made like this!

Why not hold on to some precious family memories, and save money at the same time, by recycling your child’s clothes. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Published

Nearly all parents will have a box or two of keepsakes of when their child was a baby. A first hat, perhaps, or the outfit they wore when they left the hospital. These items hold some of the fondest memories in our lives. It seems a shame to store them in a box where no one is going to see them.

While donating old clothes and things is the perfect way to pass on items to a family who needs them, sometimes the memories attached are too meaningful to let go. Or in some cases, those beloved items will have fallen victim to baby stains and can’t be donated.

...there are many ways to breathe new life into baby clothes and blankets.

If you can’t bear to part with them, there are many ways to breathe new life into baby clothes and blankets. Whether you pick something from this list or experiment with a different craft, we hope this has inspired you to think twice before throwing items away or leaving them to gather dust.

MEMORY BEAR

This is a great way to reuse all those clothes that your little one seems to grow out of overnight. Sewing a stuffed bear may sound difficult, but there are many free and beginner-friendly patterns to follow online.

When you’re finished, you’ll be left with a cute little teddy bear to cherish for years to come. Leave it on display as a memory bear, or let it become a new sleeping buddy for your child– or even wait to pass it down to younger kids and grandkids.

When you’re crafting your bear, choose softer fabrics such as old pyjamas or sleepsuits for an extra-cuddly friend.

MEMORY BOOK

For a project that doesn’t require sewing, you could use old clothes and fabric to create and decorate a memory book or album. Use a large piece of fabric for the cover and fill the pages with pieces of other items along with photographs of when your children used to wear them. That way, when you look back and remember times past, you’ll have a piece of them with you as well as a photo to look at.

PATCHWORK BLANKETS

This involves using a patchwork technique where you take square pieces of fabric from old clothes or blankets and sew them together into a new patchwork blanket.

This is a wonderful way of preserving memories, as each patch will tell a different story of when your little ones were babies – and you can make use of multiple items too. If you’re handy with a needle, you could even embroider each piece with important names or dates.

Your patchwork blanket can then be passed down to other family members and on to future generations who can add their own patches and make the blanket grow.

CUSHIONS

A cushion made from pre-loved baby clothes could make a great decorative piece for your bedroom or even a gift for grandparents.

They’re simple to make, and you can do all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on what fabric you have available.

Use the same patchwork method that you would use for creating the blanket. For an even quicker project, buy a plain ready-made cushion and use the old clothes to create an appliqué design on the front instead.

Baubles made in the shape of your child’s first initial go down a treat as each year they get to put their own special bauble on the tree.

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas is probably the last thing you want to think about now that spring is on the way. But you can make some delightful decorations that will hold memories for the entire family, and they can be brought out year after year,

Transform old clothes, blankets, or muslins into patchwork stockings. Make fabric baubles in the shapes of snowmen, angels, penguins, or polar bears with spare buttons for their eyes or other details. Baubles made in the shape of your child’s first initial go down a treat as each year they get to put their own special bauble on the tree.

When the tree is looking full, you could craft advent wreaths by making 24 little fabric pockets that you can hang from a string and fill with treats for each day.

If you’ve got some old Christmas outfits taking up storage space, you could also try turning them into a memory ‘reindeer’.

DOLLS’ CLOTHES

Many children go through a phase of looking after a favourite doll as if it were their ‘baby’. A simple way to help them play out the fantasy and get more use out of old clothes is to repurpose them as outfits for the dolls. This can also work for stuffed animals.

NEW CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES

Transforming pre-loved clothes into new garments can be a fun and sustainable way to extend their useful life.

For those who have had more practice with a needle and thread, or own a sewing machine, you could use the same patchwork technique to make skirts or bags. Lightweight muslin cloth can be turned into a pair of light pyjamas for summertime.

You could also add to existing clothes: for example, covering pockets with bright patterned fabric can jazz up an otherwise plain pair of jeans. Or make new pockets for clothes – it will give your kids a place to keep all the things they collect when they’re out and about.

Scraps of fabric that you don’t know what to do with, or that are left over from another project, can also be used to patch up holes in clothes to make them last longer.

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