DIY: Recycle Your Winter Wear – Turn Your Coat into Diaper Covers

by , 03/11/09

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The days are getting longer. The sun feels a bit warmer. Could it be that spring is in the air? Yes, it’s time for your kids to shed their frumpy winter coats and don smart tees and dresses (I trust that they are already doing this). Thankfully, thrift stores are still able to take your old coats, but that doesn’t reduce the 1 trillion tons of discarded clothing and textiles we pack into landfills each year. Here’s what you can do with your outgrown, or worn out, winter coats… turn them into diaper covers!

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Of note, some clothing companies such as Patagonia and UNIQLO collect and recycle worn garments purchased from their shelves. Patagonia makes this process simple, and others, such as LL Bean, go miles further with their Reduce, Reuse, Resole program. For a “reasonable fee” they will repair items including LL Bean boots and jackets.

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There are also various websites geared toward recycling clothing. Swapstyle is an online swap meet for garments, and there are various forums in which witty moms and inventive dads discuss how to turn the old garment into a new garment. Yet the most ingenious repurposing of winter clothing that I’ve come across is by a mom who turns old coats into… diaper covers. On the Very Baby community website, you can find detailed instructions on how to make your own diapers. I assumed this process would be a bit bulky to say the least, but ‘motherhen’ expressed its simplicity.

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“I’ve used coats before for a wrap style cover. It’s best if they’re 80-100% wool,” she comments in the forum. “The one I used had this horrible nylon lining right on the wool, so I ripped it off. Other than that, I used one layer because it was dense.” You’ll need a seam ripper to get started, and you can use all the insulation you reap to stuff a plush toy.

Regardless of motherhen’s assurances, the process is fairly involved, especially if you are salvaging material… for example, the shell of a quilt-style coat (the more sewing involved in making the coat, the harder it is to take it apart). Beginners are encouraged to stick with fleece (above) or wool outerwear to start.

*above photo from sarahtar’s flickr

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