Frankenstein clothes

I tend to wear clothes until they die. Faded, stained, ripped, or going threadbare it’s often the case that by the time I want to retire an item, it has no re-use value to anyone else. This is what brought me to the joys of Frankenstein clothing. Sometimes, when an item is very dead, the answer is to cut it up for rag rugging. However, as fans of The Princess Bride know only too well, there’s a big difference between mostly dead, and all dead.

I’ve a number of skirts and tops that are a consequence of taking things that were mostly dead, and seeing what could be rescued. At time of writing, I’m doing my most overt take on this to date – Frankenstein’s T-Shirt. I have three t-shirts that my son has mostly killed, and have been removing bits of them and reassembling them into a single, undead t-shirt. There will be no attempt on this occasion to make it look anything other than like a fiendish cobbling together, and all being well, that will be a key part of its charm.

A lot of energy and resources go into the production of clothes, which we tend to treat as disposable. Anything that can be passed on, should be. For the rest, there are crafting options, and people like me who will take in mostly dead things and breathe uncanny new life into them. Also, if you’re learning to craft, the fabric from dead clothes is free of cost, and it doesn’t matter if you cock it up while learning. There are a number of traditional crafts – quilting, rag rugging, appliqué, that can happily turn your mostly dead things into lovely new things. So rather than throwing away a dead t-shirt, you get a no cost crafting opportunity and a whole new something.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

11 responses to “Frankenstein clothes

  • Sageleaf

    Hmm…I love this. 🙂 I’m going to be doing a month of decluttering in May, and I know I’ll be sending some clothes on. But those that can’t be…well, I need to learn about rag-rugging. 🙂 Or, at the very least, turn my clothes into rags. Hehe. Thanks for the idea!

  • Gregory Hart

    Even better for me as a knitter. Turn the said old shirts, pants or any other old piece of clothing in to yarn for my knitting by cutting them into strips and rolling them into a ball for a latter use.

    • Nimue Brown

      I’ve tried that for rag rugging, I found it shed a lot of fibers – I’m guessing the nature of the fabric is key here, yes? Or is there some other trick I wot not of?

      • ghart98ghart98

        That and depends on how you do it. Do you rip the fabric or use siscors to cut the fabric? If you rip the fabric apart by tearing, then it causes it to ravel the threads apart. If you do the latter, the thread will still come loose but not as bad. You also want to stay away from very old fabric because they tend to dry rot and well, that will definitely fall apart on you.

      • Nimue Brown

        Thank you! My guess is that ‘old fabric’ was the culprit – it was a long time ago, I didn’t repeat it but will certainly consider it now. T-shirt and Jersey fabrics would take it well, I suspect.

  • bone&silver

    We throw away kilos of clothes every year, & it all goes to landfill- some nylons & synthetics will take centuries to decompose- recycling is wonderful, good on you! And yes, I wear my teenage son’s old tshirts too 🙂

  • Siobhan Johnson

    You can also pick up large bags of other people’s crafting waste (fabric, etc) from antique malls, car boots etc for literally £1. Some charity shops will let you take broken jewelry, wood, electronics or ripped clothes for free or a small donation, and if you ever need things in bulk, those charity shops may also sell you the clothes they can’t sell by the kilo. There are also places like the scrapstore in Salford that take donations from large manufacture and sell on for very little. You can get metres and metres of the same fabric from these places. It’s amazing what you can make out of crap. Or Not-Crap. I’m very impressed by your Franken-shirt, I would have just put those for rugging myself. It’s always fun to find out new ways you can push the boundaries of usefulness!

  • jrose88

    That reminds me, somewhere I have a stash of old t-shirts I keep meaning to turn into homemade reusable shopping bags.

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