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Ideas for Recycling old Bed Sheets and Pillowcases

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You just bought, or may be received as a gift, a new set of sheets and pillow cases; yet, you cannot bear to dispose of the old ones. Although no longer new, the old set still has some life left. So what are you going to do with it?

There are a few things those sheets and pillowcases can be turned into. This article will explore a couple of options. 

Let's start with pillowcases, as they are almost ready to go as they are. 

Laundry bag
For those delicate items that don't need to be placed in the washing machine unprotected

Materials needed:
Sewing machine

If your pillow case comes with a zipper, then there is no need to make any modifications to it. The pillow case is ready for use as is. However, if your pillow case comes with buttons or a flap, then you will need to change it to fit your needs.

1. Remove any buttons the pillowcase may have.

2. Fold the border about 1 inch inside the pillowcase. It is better to use a sewing machine to sew the border all around while leaving openings on one side of the pillowcase. If a sewing machine is not available, you may stitch by hand using the backstitch.

3. Once done with the sewing, thread the cord through one of the openings and run it all the way around until it exits from the other opening.

4. Secure the ends of the cord to make sure they will not get lost inside the sewn border.

When you are ready to use it, place the items you want to safely wash and pull the cord to close the pillowcase. Tie a knot that will not get undone in the wash, yet it will be easy to open once the wash is done. 

Other uses for pillowcases:
If the pillowcase has a zipper, you can use it to store neatly folded sweaters during the warm seasons.
If you modify the pillowcase to close with a cord, it can also be used to store small toys and stuffed animals. 

Now, let's turn our attention to the bed sheets.

If you need more bags than you have pillowcases, you may want to turn to an old sheet. 

Materials needed:
Old sheet
Sewing machine

1. Cut up the sheet in several pieces. Make sure to cut them double the size needed, so that all you will need to do is fold the piece and sew on two sides only.

2. When the pieces have been cut, sew the two lengths in order to create a bag.

3. Follow the directions given above for the laundry bag, starting at the second step.

Dish towels
If the sheet is made of pure cotton, you may also choose to make dish towels out of it from the parts of sheet that are not worn out.

Materials needed:
Old sheet
Sewing machine
Needle and thread

1. Cut the sheet in pieces large enough to create dish towels.

2. With the sewing machine, create a border all the way around to avoid fraying. 

3. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to make a loop

4. Secure the ends of the loop at one corner of the dishcloth using either the sewing machine or the backstitch. 

Another use for a sheet completely made out of cotton is to turn some pieces into dust rags. 

Protective Pillow Covers
Old sheets, made of mixed materials, may also be cut up to create protective pillow coverings. Sometimes, a pillowcase is not enough to keep the pillow clean from regular use. Using an extra protective layer will keep the pillow fresh longer.  

1. Measure the pillow you want to cover and then cut the sheet into a piece large enough to cover the pillow, taking into consideration its fluffiness.

2. Sew the lengths of the fabric to form the cover.

3. Use buttons or a zipper to create the closing.

Baby Blanket Backing
An old sheet may also be used as a backing to a baby blanket, so that the sheet, and not the fleece or wool of the blanket, comes in contact with the baby's skin. 

1. Cut a piece of sheet about ½ inch larger than the blanket.

2. Carefully fold the extra border on the inside, between the blanket and the sheet and stitch it all the way around to secure all four sides.

Old sheets and pillow cases can find a new life when cut and modified to create new items to use around the house.

More about this author: Elena dal Friuli

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