Up-cycled Tees

In the spirit of transformation and the renewal of spring I bring to you a re-purposing project that will turn that stack of old t-shirts with good intentions of being brought to a resale shop into a new shirt for that toddler in your life.

I had a step by step tutorial ready just for this until my computer gave the blue screen of death.  Adding to the awesomeness that can come with relying on technology, my Ipod has decided not to transfer photos. Plan B is to offer you some great links to women who have already figured out how awesome it is to re-purpose old T’s and have had the cooperation of technology to publish what they’ve done. Why reinvent the wheel? Right?

To create the pattern for mine I was inspired by Dana at Made. Her 90 minute shirt tutorial is easy to use and produces a great tee for your little guy (or gal). I took apart a reglan onsie that fit Cedar and copied the pieces with a bit of a seam allowance onto a brown grocery bag.

After my pattern was finished I cut out pieces from old t-shirts I had gathered. Since mine was a raglan shirt and not an envelope I opted to use instructions on putting together this style tee from this  raglan sleeve dress tutorial (excluding the elastic and girly touches).  I left the bottom hem unfinished on two of the shirts a la Tee for Two by Patterns by Figgy’s. In about 2 1/2 hours Cedar had 4 more new summer shirts that he can refuse to wear in favor of his birthday suit.

Three of the shirts I made for my son by re-purposing old t-shirts:

I love Rae’s tips and advice on patterns for sewing knit t-shirts. Her creativity with  embellishments makes me smile 😀

Here are a few other recycled t-shirt links for your browsing pleasure.

  • A cute dress from Create and Delegate. I also think I need to make quite a few of these for a certain little girl.
  • I made a few of upcycled t-shirt dresses from I Am Momma-Hear me Roar for Willow in the fall. I had so much fun I couldn’t stop until I ran out of t-shirts! LOVE the t-shirt to cardigan idea and I think that Willow’s wardrobe is beckoning for one. Or two.

There are so many fantastic ideas out there for up-cycling the knit shirts in your giveaway box or those hiding in the corners of your dresser. It’s one of my favorite ways to give my kids something that is re-used, non-toxic, inexpensive, and mama-made.

Before long you’ll find yourself in your husbands closet convincing him that he only needs 7 shirts and the rest could find better uses supplying you with lots of material to work with!

How do you re-purpose your clothes?


*this post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday


  1. This is one of my favorite things to do! I also make capes from old t-shirts… you can find the tutorial here: http://www.thesoutherninstitute.com/2011/03/super-hero-cape-and-power-cuff-tutorial.html

  2. Fun, this gives me one more thing to add to my list of cool things to do!