Living recraft featured

Published on September 18th, 2012 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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ReCraft: How to Upcycle Old Clothes into Beautiful Things

recraft book of upcycling projects for old clothes and other second hand items

Got old clothes laying around that you’d like to get rid of… responsibly? Sure, you can drop them off at a thrift store… if they’re in good shape. But if you’ve got jeans and shirts with holes or tears in them, they’re only good for the rag bag or the trash can… right?

Those would be the options I’d likely see… fortunately, many folks are much more creative, and see all sorts of possibilities in that “junk.” We’ve given a lot of space to the concept of upcycling over the years – our readers seem to enjoy these ideas – so when Frances Lincoln Publishers offered to send me a free review copy of their forthcoming ReCraft: How to Turn Second-Hand Stuff into Beautiful Things for Your Home, Family, and Friends (affiliate link), I took them up on it. Authors Sara Duchars and Sarah Marks are definitely among those who see the potential in those old clothes (as well as other second-hand items), and they’ve shared dozens of projects that will allow you to explore your crafty side.

Sewing is definitely the main focus here: nearly all of the projects featured in ReCraft involve fabric, needles, and thread. Don’t let that scare you off, though: in addition to the projects themselves, the authors also share basic sewing practices at the beginning of the book. And if you just don’t want to go there, a handful of projects – the glitter cup candles, for instance, or secret compartment book – require no needles or thread at all (whew!). If you’re willing to give others a try, the instructions strike me as thorough and detailed: you’re not going to get lost in the middle of project. For projects requiring fabric cut in unusual shapes, the authors have even included templates in the back of the book.  There’s still plenty of room for individual expression, though: the authors even encourage that early on, as they focus on working with what you’ve got in terms of material.

ReCraft is a fun book that ought to spur the imagination of even the most non-crafty among us. It’s hitting shelves this week… if you decide to pick up a copy, let us know what you think.



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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