Limit Textile Waste by Refashioning Scarves!

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You can turn old, unwanted scarves into a fabulous blouse! This not only reduces your textile waste when you keep your scarves rather than discarding them, but it also gives you trendy, unique fashion pieces. There are tons of ways you can upcycle or refashion your scarves; making a blouse or shirt is just one of them.

You know we love all things refashioned at Hearts, so keep reading for some inspiration on how and why you should hold onto those scarves or even buy secondhand ones just for this purpose.

Quick Facts: Scarves and Fashion Waste

  • $30.92 billion in sales annually: In 2006, more than $30 billion worth of women’s new fashion accessories were sold in the US alone, scarves included.[i]
  • $1,700 average American fashion budget: That makes up about 3.5% of the average budget.[ii]
  • 64 garments per year: 20 billion garments are purchased by Americans annually including accessories.[iii]
  • 13 million tons of textile waste per year: Of course, not all of that waste is fashion scarves, but accessories do make up a portion of that 13 million tons.[iv]

Take Action! Lengthen the Life of Your Scarves

  1. Upcycling inspiration for transforming scarves into new fashion: You don’t have to sell, throw out, or donate your scarves if you don’t wear them as scarves anymore! We love the idea of refashioning scarves into new fashion, such as knotted tops and dresses. You can also make one into a belt, watchband, camera strap, light and breezy summer blouse, bows for a pair of flat shoes, window valance, or an ear warmer. Etsy is also a great resource for patterns (check out this retro junior scarf blouse). The Fashion Spot also offers six different ways to tie a scarf into a blouse.
  2. Refashioning scarves into eco home fashion: Use a long rectangular scarf over your dinner table to use as a table runner; sew some together to make a colorful quilt and then sew some polar fleece to the bottom side for warmth; fold one to pillow-size and sew it into a pillow cover; lay a scarf on top of a coffee table and place a properly fitted piece of glass on top to protect it; hang one as wall art; or use two matching scarves as drapery ties.
  3. Upcycle with secondhand purchased scarves: When you don’t have any scarves of your own, or need more to try out some of those fabulous ideas, have a look at your local thrift stores. You never know what you will find there, and will pay far less than what a good-quality fashion or vintage scarf is worth. Some larger chain thrift stores you can check out include the Salvation Army, Value Village (also called Savers in some states), and Goodwill. Check your local yellow pages to find smaller stores in your area. Or access TheThriftShopper.com’s national directory!
  4. Buy secondhand scarves online: If you’ve scoured the second hand shops in your neighborhood but were unsuccessful, check out your online options. Some online shops to try include 3 Blondz, Second Hand Rose, and Luxury-Scarves.com.

Keep Digging: How to Choose an Eco Friendly Scarf

  • Here is a guide to buying vintage designer scarves.
Image by LoveMegan

[i] Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores. (n.d.). Retrieved from Highbeam Business: http://business.highbeam.com/industry-reports/retail/women-s-accessory-specialty-stores

[ii] Consumer Expenditures 2010. 2011, September 27. Retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.nr0.htm

[iii] Book Review: “Overdressed,” by Elizabeth L. Cline. 2012, June 21. Retrieved from BloomburgBusinessweek: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-21/book-review-overdressed-by-elizabeth-l-dot-cline

[iv] Wastes – Resource Conservation – Common Wastes & Materials. (n.d.).Retrieved from Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/textiles.htm

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