Recycling old clothing into new items is not only green, but also, great fun. Making rugs and other craft items from recycled t-shirts is a popular activity. This is a guide about crafts using recycled t-shirts.
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Take an old child's shirt, preferably with spaghetti straps. Turn it inside out and sew the bottom of the shirt. Turn it right way and you're done. Great for small games and books. We also use them in the summer for each child's swimsuit and towel.
By coville123 from Brockville, Ontario
Do you have a t-shirt you just can't seem to give up but it has some stains or tears? Well, make it into a pillow. First cut the design or pattern from the front of the shirt into a square, then sew material that coordinates with the shirt around the center. When you have the size you like, take the back of the t-shirt if it's in good condition and make the back of the pillow, sew together and stuff. Now you have a new favorite pillow
By Beesplace from Indiana PA
I take old T-shirts and cut off the binding around the neck. There is no need to cut deeper as this will stretch far enough making a scoop neckline. Then comes the fun part. Use a decorative stitch on your sewing machine to sew around the neckline. You can make as many rows as you like. Use different colors. I crochet little flowers with fine thread and hand sew them onto the T-shirt. On me, most Ts are a little tight around the bottom, so I cut aways up the side and hem. You can think of lots of ideas using these ideas as a base.
Source: I got my inspiration on the Internet. Google "refashion T-shirts." Lots of good ideas.
By hopeful from Salem OR
I somehow got a hole in a decorative t-shirt I only wore once, right in the front. There was no way of fixing it so that I could wear it again so I decided to cut just above the hole and make a pillow out of it.
I bought a fleece pillow at a garage sale and used that for my insert. I laid the t-shirt over a piece of fabric that I had in my stash and made the back envelope style (meaning the fabrics overlap at the back to insert the form).
Sew on all 4 sides and turn at the envelope opening. Then where the opening is, sew on a strip of hook and loop tape on each side for closure. The second picture shows this.
By Elaine from Belle Plaine, IA
Here is a video that shows how to turn a T-shirt into a no sew pillow. I found it easier to watch this video with the volume off. This is one of the projects I really enjoy.
A great way to use T-shirts that are no longer wearable is to make a pet blanket or throw. Just cut the center out of the T-shirt and sew each square together. Fold the outside edges under to hem.
You can donate these to a local pet shelter. They can use them for bedding, drying animals, or most anything. This recycling idea keeps those T-shirts out of the landfills, and also helps much deserving animals.
By Bittyfrog from Tupelo, MS
My daughter had a stain on one of her shirts that I was unable to get out, and she had another shirt that she had outgrown. I decided to use the outgrown shirt to create something to decorate the shirt that had the stain. This is the result!
Approximate Time: About 1 hour
You can also use this same concept to decorate pillows, towels, and other items.
By Rachel's Mom from Wilkesboro, NC
I made my daughter (age 5) a jumpsuit from my dad's old shirt. I didn't have a pattern, but I think it turned out OK. She loves it anyway.
By Ruth from England
I know that most stores sell cloth bags to reuse for groceries, etc., but you can make your own with a bit of cutting and sewing. Take an old T shirt and lay it out flat on a table. Cut off the sleeves at the armhole seam and scoop out the neckline. Then, sew a seam or 2 across the bottom hemline. You now have a recycled shopping bag! The scooped out neckline is where you pack the groceries and the armholes become the handles. These are also great to make for kids to take their things to the pool. Smaller ones can be made from kid T shirts.
I saw these for sale on the Martha Stewart website for $20!
Source: Martha Stewart website
By Jan from Gainesville, GA
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Here are questions related to Crafts Using Recycled T-Shirts.
I'm looking for some information. I recently learned to crochet and am practicing making rag rugs (all shapes) and tote bags with recycled t-shirts that I cut up into strips.
At first, my family was really excited about my rugs and I made lots. They gave me all their discarded t-shirts and stuff. I now have mountains of old t-shirts which aren't good to give away, but perfect to recycle into other things. The problem is, now my family is begging me not to make them any more rugs, place mats and bags because they have so many. I still have literally a mountain of old stuff which I would love to use, but I have no idea for what else to make with them.
Does anyone have any ideas please? I really hate to throw them away, but they are taking up so much storage space for nothing, at the moment. Any thoughts, please?
By cett from Malta, Europe
All the items you've made for gifts, could also be sold at craft shows or do a "yard Boutique"; like a rummage sale, but no rummage, just hand made "gifts". I do them about once a month from May through Sept. Make some pocket change with your creativeness :0)
Okay, so I'm an extremely sentimental soul. I have this shirt that's no longer wearable, but the image on the front, which I adore, is still entirely intact. I would love to immortalize this article of clothing (I've been looking into converting it into a pillow, for instance), but there's a slight issue: all of the craft ideas I've stumbled upon are geared toward t-shirt material.
The top is made of extremely flimsy material (which was ultimately its downfall as an article of clothing), and I have my doubts as to whether or not it would work in most of the crafting scenarios I've looked into thus far. Any ideas?
Do what I have done with aprons... simply hang it up on the wall, with maybe a scarf around the hanger like an outfit. If you can't save it, keep it intact. I googled "using clothes as art" and came up with hundreds of ideas. Good luck!
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
I have access to a lot of inexpensive used t-shirts and I was wondering if anyone has any craft ideas. I can't crochet but I guess I could learn. I was thinking maybe rugs or something that would take advantage of the myriad colors I'll have available.
Anna from Indiana
Does anyone know what I can make out of old T-shirts? Something I can wear or what not.
Amanda from SC
By Lily 59
Find the biggest logo and cut all the others into same-sized squares. Leave some white around each logo when cutting. After sewing the squares together, I bought a queen sized sheet made from that "tee-shirt material", filled it with Warm & Natural, turned the edges over from the bottom and sewed a binding. Be sure and wash the sheet and the tee shirts before making the quilt.
The quilt is not real heavy and that thing has been washed a hundred times without it falling apart (only by God's merciful Grace because I didn't actually know what I was doing when I made it). (03/05/2008)
As you braid every few feet, go back and wind your braid into an oval and hand-sew each new ring of braid to the ring that went before using a slip or other invisible stitch (I prefer nylon upholstery thread as it is indestructible). Make your braids fairly tight as this adds strength to the rug. You can make a huge braid out of dozens of old T-shirts then go back and sew it into an oval later, but I find it less tedious to sew as you go.
Don't be afraid to change colors every so often to make concentric stripes. The nice thing about doing it this way is that you can use T-shirts that have moderate staining or minor wear that otherwise would go into the trash because the braiding hides a lot of sins (just don't use parts that have worn so thin they compromise the strength of your rug). These make good doorway, bathroom, or kitchen-sink rugs because you can wash them.
Unlike "real" colonial wool rugs, you can just throw these in a big soapy bucket of hot water to soak overnight, throw them over the railing of your deck, hose them down, and let them dry in the sun. (07/24/2008)