smartthread blog

Drab to Fab with Drapes!

June 23, 2017

Carol Burnett

It’s been more than 40 years since The Carol Burnett Show parodied the classic film, Gone with the Wind, but for me, it’s always been one of my favorite textile recycling reminders. When most people think about recycling, they picture glass bottles, cardboard and plastic products. Although these are certainly important, what about textiles?

In fact, what IS a textile? A textile simply refers to any material made of interlacing fibers, and more than 95% of them can be recycled or reused in some way. Used clothing, shoes, handbags, belts, stuffed animals and much more can all serve a much higher purpose than adding to landfill waste. When you recycle textiles, nearly half are reused as apparel, with the remainder re-used as commercial wiping cloths or reprocessed and remanufactured as furniture stuffing, upholstery, home insulation, building materials and more.

Textile recycling using curtains is often showcased in popular cinema. Although Carol Burnett is by far the most creative re-user of drapes I’ve seen, let’s not forget about Captain von Trap’s children running around in a clothing made from drapes intended for the trash in The Sound of Music! The drapes dress Carol spoofs is originally worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, and Amy Adams’ character in the 2007 Disney movie Enchanted cuts the curtains still hanging over the windows to make her dress!


Our current reality is this: the average person in the U.S. throws away 81 pounds of textiles a year. Making clothing out of curtains is just one example of creative textile recycling. At SMART, our goal is to continue to provide resources for you to recycle and reuse your textiles. Continue to read our blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest ways you can help our planet. Be sure to check out our #CoolCraftWednesdays for craft-specific inspiration!