How to Reuse Clothes You Thought Were Ruined

If you’ve ever accidentally ripped a favorite top or gotten a snag in an otherwise flawless sweater, you know how devastating ruining a go-to piece can be. Unfortunately, it can happen – but that doesn’t mean you have to head straight for the trash! It turns out that there are tons of ways to repurpose broken jewelry and stained shirts – all it takes is a little DIY creativity.

1. DIY layering piece

Wearing any kind of nice, solid-colored collared shirt can be hazardous (read: easily stainable), but you don’t need to resort to throwing it out when stain remover just doesn’t cut it. Instead, cut off the uppermost part of the shirt, including the collar, and use it as a layering piece under shirts and sweaters. You’ll achieve that classic layered look without the extra bulk of wearing an actual shirt underneath. Pro tip: You can also easily turn it into a statement piece by adding beads or embellishment, which practically makes it a piece of jewelry – this tutorial shows you how.

2. Turn sweater sleeves into boot socks

We’ve all experienced that major uh-oh moment upon realizing a fave sweater has been snagged. Since life happens, you can at least salvage some of your sweater by turning the sleeves into another cozy piece: boot socks! They’ll keep your legs warm and look super chic tucked into knee-high boots over leggings or tights. Simply cut off each sleeve of the ruined sweater, and wear them with the uncut side peeking out of your boots.

3. Re-cover a throw pillow with a T-shirt

Especially if you’ve gone Greek, chances are good that you have plenty of T-shirts laying around – and maybe even some that have gone unworn. If it’s too cute to part with but isn’t necessarily the first thing you reach for in your closet, try DIY-ing it into a pillowcase!

While this DIY is particularly easy if you have some prior sewing skills, fear not if you don’t have access to a sewing machine – you can also create the pillowcase by “sewing” it with a cool knotted fringe, as shown in this no-sew tutorial.

4. Make hair ties out of old tights

If you manage to rip your tights as often as we do (seriously, is there anyone who somehow doesn’t end up with a run after only a few wears?), you’ll never need to buy hair ties again. Simply take the parts that haven’t been ruined by the run and cut them horizontally in one or two inch sections, and voila – hair ties. Bonus: they won’t break and create exposed sections of elastic and rubber, meaning they’ll be much healthier for your hair.

5. Use broken jewelry as embellishment

It’s easy to be tempted to throw out a statement necklace with a broken clasp and give it up for dead – but it turns out that it might actually make for some super pretty embellishment on another piece! You can easily use it to spruce up a plain beanie and make it new again. While this DIY involves a little needle and thread, it’s not anything super complicated. Simply remove any extra chain from the piece of jewelry with pliers. Then, use a needle and thread to attach the gemstone part of the necklace to the hat, threading your needle through the remaining metal loops on the piece.

Accidentally ruining a piece of clothing doesn’t have to ruin your day – stash these DIY ideas for the next time you have anything broken, ripped, stained or unworn lying around!