How can I reuse or recycle an old pair of trousers?

trousersWe’ve covered old jeans before – and again when speaking specifically about making bags out of them – but these are a bit different.

I was sorting through my “in storage” clothing last week – stuff that’s in limbo, I don’t really think I’ll be wearing it again but can’t bring myself to take it to the charity shop/fabric recycling bin just yet – and I found my favourite work trousers from back in the day when I actually wore trousers for work. These were THE BEST WORK PANTS IN THE WORLD. They fitted me perfectly – hanging low, with long wide legs just as I like, had deep pockets at just the right place/angle and given the heavy, woolliness of them, they looked suitably work-y even when teamed with a never-ironed black shirt. I remember being really quite distraught when the fabric wore through at the bum. *nostalgic sob*.

So, anyway, I found these trousers last week and it was fun remembering all the good times we had together – all the time we ran up the stairs together, or sat at my desk together, or even those times when we soaked up puddles together – so it felt heartless to just send them off to be recycled.

Even with the worn/holey bum being out of action, there is quite a lot of good fabric because of the wide legs. I thought they might make a fun clutch purse or something – but wanted to run it by you crafty people first, in case you had any more awesome ideas. I am thinking crafty stuff primarily but any reuse suggestions would be great.

So ideas?

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24 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle an old pair of trousers?”

  1. Dave says:

    It sounds like they were a fabulous design for you, so why not try to mend them? Either find a way to re-fabric the bum, or carefully take them apart and make a pattern from them. Not sure I could do it, but it’s an idea.

  2. Tamara says:

    again, since they were a fabulous design, if you do not decide to mend them or can’t, take some butcher paper or old newspapers or wrapping paper… and cut the pants along the seams… lay the pieces down on the paper, and make yourself a pattern for a new pair… of pants…

    then proceed to clutch-ville…

  3. Kara says:

    If the legs are wide enough, you can actually make a new seat for the trousers and turn them into city shorts! Just rip the side seams, and use the old back as a pattern. You’ll probably have to piece the crotch a bit but there should be enough fabric for that.

  4. Oraxia says:

    I’m not sure how feasible it would be given the amount and shape of fabric from a pair of pants, but you might also be able to make a nice blazer or jacket out of the fabric.

    I really like Kara’s idea of turning them into shorts, though :)

  5. Green Blog says:

    A great way to reuse fabric is to re-upholster a chair or create a small throw pillow.

  6. Brilliant question. It goes a little back to what Green SAHM was discussing a while ago about the emotional attachment we can get to clothes. Especially the hand-me-down items.

    I’m sure there’s potential to turn them into something else, perhaps even dusters?

  7. Cory says:

    I’ve gotten rid of too many perfect-fit pants that got ripped or worn through, only to later regret that I could never find a pair that fit the same. I think you should keep them as a pattern for new pants. If you can’t sew, you can always take them to a tailor/seamstress and ask if they can do the same.

  8. The tihing about old clothes in particular is that the material/ fabric has a residual financial value. Donating the clothes through a charity does actually help them financially as well. We recycle all our old clothes through recyclers around the UK and they donate part of the cash generated to certain good cauuses.

  9. J says:

    Cut them to make shorts, or probably you could make a bag.

    You can do something similar to this:

  10. I think shorts is the way to go my friend!


  11. F says:

    Yep I was thinking of making them into a handbag as J suggested above. Then they can still go everywhere with you and if you cut off the legs and use them for the bag straps then your old pants can be carried not worn and still be at work with you without being sat on for a change!

    The other option is to make a cushion out of them with two little roll cushions out of the legs! That way you can snuggle up with them at home and take them with you travelling

  12. Nicole says:

    Maybe you could take them to a tailor and have them re-created.

  13. Deb says:

    Lots of ideas come to mind,,,
    tool bag, remote control holder that hangs on your couch/chair, stationary/bill sectional bag, book covers, cell phone covers, cuffs for a plain jane shirt, organizer bags for trips, water bottle covers, backpack, sewing organizer, jewelry wraps, belts, hat trims, glove box organizer,,, just a few ideas.

  14. marie says:

    If they’re wool or cotton, the compost bin may be the best place for them!

  15. sksews says:

    I love to felt wool fabric and then use it for small projects. I just throw it in the wash with the appropriate color and into the dryer on hot with tennis balls. This usually takes several repetitions, and I usually only wash stuff when I have a load that I need + it has extra room, so this may take me months to accomplish. As a crafter/sewer/packrat, I’m constantly doing stuff like that. If you love the fit though, definitely make the pattern first. If you sew and don’t know how, check out I know some old issues of Threads covered this. I’m sure a tailor could handle it too.

  16. Bad Monkey says:

    How about using them for Strawberry planter, tie the ends up and cut holes along the legs, fill up with compost and then plant your strawberries in and nail them to fence or wall, or donate them to local allotment to make scarecrow.

  17. I donate my old clothes to the salvation army, through the green bins placed on most supermarket forecourts/car parks. Not only does this help another person by a clothing donation it also helps generate much needed money for the good work the salvation army do in the UK and worldwide.

  18. Dickie says:

    Great idea I dont have the skills to carry out this task, emnding trousers is sometimes trickey enough for me, I like the idea though, trousers can quickly become shorts. Saves wasting them although I would take the simple step of just using scissors.

  19. Dickie says:

    Great idea I dont have the skills to carry out this task, mending trousers is sometimes tricky enough for me, I like the idea though, trousers can quickly become shorts. Saves wasting them although I would take the simple step of just using scissors.

  20. Dean says:

    Where I live in the US I am able to take old clothes or
    any fabric except leather that is past use as clothing, etc
    to a charity which sells it for reuse in automobile upholstery
    and padding. For anything that is past reusing, you might check to see if this reusage is possible where you are.

  21. Medeea says:

    Turn them into a skirt.
    Remove all stitches, iron and take it to a tailor.

  22. Uluska says:

    Remake them into a vest and you’ll have more adventures together.

  23. Uluska says:

    With proper paint you can repaint them.

  24. Billy Parker says:

    We use old workwear style trousers to make clip on tool pockets.

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