When we were kids, my mother used to recycle fabric by taking apart hers, or other people’s, old clothes and make new clothes for us. One pair of men’s denim overalls would make a couple of pairs of pants and some shorts for the both of us.
Her dresses could make dresses and shirts for us. She was quite skilled with a sewing machine and a pair of scissors. She didn’t need a pattern. She could see what she wanted to make.
Today, people buy more clothes than they can reasonably wear, then toss it out because they get tired of it before it wears out. Too bad for them. As a prepper, its your gain.
Those clothes end up in a variety of charity and other resale shops. Take advantage of it! Next time you shop in the local Goodwill, don’t go planning to buy a certain item for a certain person. Although, that is useful too!
If you are a quilter, check out shirts, dresses and skirts for any suitable fabric for quilting. Look in all departments. Even children’s clothes can make a good number of quilt blocks.
Denim will come in handy for all sorts of things from making hammocks to bags of all sorts for a variety of purposes.
Lastly, save the scraps of fabric after sewing a project. The pieces can be used as patches for other garments or items. Quilters already know they can be used to make quilts.
By this time you should have quite a few quilt tops made. Have you priced quilt batting yet? The good stuff is unreasonably high dollar. The cheap stuff is, well, cheap.
An alternative is to do like our grandmothers and great grandmothers did for generations past. Use an old worn out blanket or quilt as batting for the new quilt. Sometimes they would put new quilt tops on for the third time. The quilt blocks were made of scraps of fabric left over from clothing past.
Another use for old cloth is to shred it into fine or very small fibers to be included in your mix for hand made paper.
Lastly, fabric you don’t want to reuse but is still “good” goes into the rag bag. Use it to clean messes and do dishes. They go to the shop or garage to clean up paint and oil, then to the trash they go.
The secret to reusing fabric is knowing what is worth the effort and what is not. If the fabric tears too easily, it’s probably not any good. If it is thread bare, toss it out!