Saturday , 19 October 2019
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Up-cycle old clothes to make Christmas décor

Ninoshka Alvares-Delaney

We spend so much time shopping for the perfect Christmas decorations to adorn our house during the holiday season. What if we had our own decorations, customized to our own taste, which will last us for years to come? Ever thought about up-cycling old clothes to create lasting memories? Do you have an old sweater that has a hole and you don’t know what to do with it? Or your favourite pair of jeans that does not fit you anymore? Or a shirt that once belonged to your late grandfather, whose memories you want to cherish forever?

With a little bit of patience and creativity, a sewing kit and some glue, you can make your own Christmas decorations this year.

Baubles for the Christmas tree: Baubles can be made by wrapping strips of old fabric over an old plastic ball. Alternatively, you can stuff old socks with pieces of fabric, or foam in the shape of a ball and tie up the top with a satin ribbon. Add some sparkles or beads and sequins to make it bright and colourful.

Christmas wreath: Use a circular frame like a wire, a hoop or a pressure cooker washer. Tie strips of fabrics around the frame and attach a satin bow to one end. The more strips you use, the denser and more attractive the wreath will look. For best results, use Christmas colours such as green, brown, white, red and gold. A more colourful wreath can be used all year round.

Christmas stockings: Use any fabric from an old sweater to an old pair of jeans to make Christmas stockings. Cut out two pieces in the shape of a stocking. Sew on the two edges together with thick yarn or contrasting embroidery thread. You can further customize each stocking by painting or embroidering the names of family members. Similarly, you can make Santa hats.

Decorative snow man: Old white socks or sleeves of white sweaters, or the legs of an old pair of white leggings can be used to make tiny decorative snow men to display around the house. Stuff the socks or sleeves with foam or pieces of fabric to create a cylindrical form. Sew shut both the edges. Tie the cylinder a little off centre to create a snow man shape. Sew on buttons for the eyes, nose and mouth. Use another strip of T-shirt fabric to create a hat and muffler for the snow man.

Cushion Covers: Make a patchwork of old fabric pieces in Christmas colours. Alternatively, applique Christmas motifs such as stars, angels, bells or triangular Christmas trees on a solid coloured base. Re-purpose old button down shirts to make the back of the cushion cover. To preserve the memory of a loved one, you can also make a cushion cover out of their old garment.

Table clothes: Edges of a solid coloured table cloth can be appliqued in Christmas colours such as red, green and white. Paint or embroider Christmas messages on the table cloth to give it a festive feel.

Gift wrapping: Wrapping presents in fabric has been a very old practice. The Japanese have been using Furoshiki wrapping cloths for the longest time to wrap gifts. Koreans use a Bojagi cloth. They believe that keeping something wrapped protects good luck. Wrapping gifts in fabric is not only eco-friendly, but also hassle free as compared to paper and plastic. It’s easy to wrap just about anything in fabric, from boxed gifts, to wine bottles, books to groceries. A few things to keep in mind when wrapping presents in fabric is to make sure that the fabric is thick and sturdy enough to take the weight of the present. Use a square piece of fabric that is at least three times the size of the gift. You can use old table cloths, a handkerchief or a bandana. The fabric can be lined in a contrast colour to make the wrapping more interesting. Make sure that the edges of the fabric are finished and do not fray. An alternative to fabric gift wrapping is the use of homemade cloth bags made out of old clothes.

Think about it! This year, using your old clothes to make Christmas decorations and wrap gifts will not only help you save money, but will be a huge load off the environment. Unfortunately, a lot of ready to use decorations available in the market are made out of plastic. Imagine how grateful mother earth will be if you adopt this small change in your lifestyle this Christmas season.

Have a Merry Christmas and stay stylish!

(Writer is a fashion designer and is available at

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