October 8th, 2017

How to reuse old tights

I often wear skirts, including in winter, and so far I've been unable to find tights that lasted longer than a few weeks. Having to buy a few new pairs of tights every winter is aggravating enough, but what really bothers me is what to do with the old, worn-out ones. I try to make them last as long as I can, using nail polish to keeptiny holes from developing into ladders and sewing up tears when I can and never buying tights made of thin material, but no matter what I do, I end up with piles of unusable tights every year.

Since I don't like throwing things away, here are a few things I've found I could do with them:

  • Rags for cleaning windows and dusting furniture. They work just as well as any other rag; the downside is that you only need one or two for that purpose...

  • Stuffing for toys. Knitted animals make great gifts for children (or grown-ups, on occasions...), and bigger toys require a lot of stuffing. Old tights remain rather soft, unlike cotton fabric, for instance, which makes harder stuffing.

  • Knitting material: this is a bit more time-consuming, but it can come in handy depending on what you need to make. You just have to spread out the legs of the tights and make horizontal cuts about 1 or 2 cm apart, as if you wanted to cut your tights into rings, stopping 2 cm from the edge. You'll end up with rings of fabric that are all stuck together. Now, instead of finishing the cut and ending up with a detached ring, make a series of diagonal cuts between your rings. This way, you'll end up with a long strip of material can be used for knitting or crocheting. You can use it to make bathroom mats, bags, or just about anything where elasticity would be helpful. Just remember, when you cut the rings, to keep them relatively wide, as the fabric will roll up upon itself and end up much thinner than it appears at first.

  • Bandages for poultices: okay, not everybody needs poultices on a daily basis, but I've recently been told to use green clay as a natural remedy to ward off knee pains. You need a bandage to hold the clay in place, and an old, clean pair of tights can do the trick: it's elastic, so it's comfortable enough and stays in place correctly. Don't use tights to bind open wounds, of course, but as long as you don't have to worry about using sterile material, this works perfectly well.

  • Elastic bands: simply cut a ring out of your tights and use it as needed. It won't work if you need a small band, but the upside is that you can adjust the strength by cutting a more or less wide ring. Also, when knitting elaborate colourwork (okay, I'm a little obsessed with knitting, don't judge me), you can use a 15 cm-wide section to wrap around the balls of yarn you're not currently using. It will keep them from unravelling and getting tangled.

If you have any other uses I haven't thought of, all suggestions are welcome!