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.
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
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
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
I wanted a new nightgown, and figured there must be something in my wardrobe that I could fashion into one rather than buying one. A touristy tee shirt that someone had given me was just the thing. Nice and soft, but too short. I like long nightgowns for the cold temps here in NY.
And the cheesy, glittery seashell motif had to go. I found some soft fabric in my stash to add the length I wanted. And another matching piece to cover up the seashells--had to line this bit with a piece of muslin to keep the pesky seashells from showing through.
I'm happy with how my new nightie turned out and saved some money too. I had to scrunch the fabric up in the photos in order to get it all in the pictures.
By Gloria from Western NY
I just came across an amazing website called SuperNaturale with instructions on making your own underwear out of t-shirts! It has detailed instructions and a pattern you can print out. I can't wait to make use of some of the cute t-shirts I have *cough* grown out of.
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.
Lay the t-shirt flat, starting at one side of the neckline and ending up at the other side of the neckline, cut a deep 8 inch U SHAPE.
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
Back in the 60's, I saved all my pantyhose for crafts or wearing with pants. I decided I needed some way to keep them and ended up making an old shirt into a storage bag.
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
If you get tired of them, there are always crafters on freecycle.org looking for free craft items!
You could sew the bottom halves together to make a "quilt gut" - batting for a quilt. Or you could use the bottom halves as cloth diapers. Just cut straight across, under the sleeves, then turn the raw edges under & zigzag stitch all the way around the diaper. You would have to use regular large safety pins instead of diaper pins because the difference in fabric. I've never had a problem with them popping loose & sticking a baby.
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)
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.
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.
Use an old favorite tee, by making a pillow out of it. Just buy or use a pillow form and make a cover by just sewing the t-shirt and matching material on 3 sides and inset pillow. Then handstitch the remaining seam.
This video shows a simple innovative idea to re-purpose a t-shirts into a cute halter top.