Old T-shirts, we all have them, don’t we? Don’t be embarrassed about hoarding all the memorable T-shirts and those you’re fond of. We all are guilty of it.
But sometimes it becomes too much and it’d be wrong to waste them. So what can you do? You can make many cool things and accessories with your old T-shirts.
That’s right! You don’t have to just keep them as a souvenir, you can use them in your daily life. Finally, you’ll find a use for them.
There are many cool ways to recycle your old T-shirts. Below, we’ll mention 10 of them and how you can achieve them. Be with us to the end.
1. Make a Quilt
If you know the basic procedure for a normal quilt, then a t-shirt quilt will be simple for you if you have the correct supplies.
Supplies that you’ll need to make a quilt;
- Sewing machine
- Lightweight fusible interfacing
- Lightweight blanket. It will be put in the middle to make it thicker.
- Rulers, the more the merrier.
- Fabric that you’ll put on the back.
You should know that it will take time to finish making a quilt. But it’s totally worth it.
- Take a square/rectangle template. Use this to cut your t-shirts.
- Then pick up the fusible interfacing to cut the shape of the template.
- Now, iron the squares towards the fusible interfacing. What this does is that it makes sure the stretching of the fabric never happens during sewing. Otherwise, you might not be able to match the shirts properly.
- Sew all the pieces together into a quilt.
- Now you can complete the quilt by adding the big fabric on the back. Close the sides of the quilt after putting the thick blanket inside. Cover and stitch the edges.
2. Make a Racerback Tank
Racerback tops have armhole with large width at the back. And a slim portion of the fabric is just in the middle of the back, horizontally.
Pick a T-shirt you want to cut up. It’s not necessary that the shirt is fit unless you want a fitted tank top. Depends on you. If it’s only bought and not used then wash it as this fabric tend to shrink after washing. You don’t want a tank top that’s too small for you. You want a T-shirt that fits you properly before you cut it up and turn it into a racerback top.
Take a scissor and cut its sleeves off.
Start cutting from just below the armpits and finish at the shoulder joint.
Mark the hem properly. Then cut it off.
Create a kind of long strand with this cut off piece. Cut just under the bottom hem, follow the stitching to make it even. After cutting you get this large ring of fabric. Snip it close to one of the seams so that you get a long strand of fabric. This will be used later for decoration.
Keep the back of the shirt facing towards you.
Trim the armholes until there are few inches of fabric between the armholes. Don’t cut the armholes in front.
Measure properly so that you trim evenly on both sides.
Mark the center of the neckline at the back. Then draw a V-shape at the back of the shirt. Cut accordingly. The meeting point of the V-shape should be in the middle of the armholes at the back. This will help when you will tie up the back.
Don’t cut at the front. Leave the front as it is.
If you want a plain back on your racerback then you are finished. You can wear it now. The next Steps are for a more fashionable racerback.
Take the bottom of the V-shape measure few inches and mark it.
Now with the strand, you got before from the hem, tie the bottom up. The fabric strand will accumulate the fabric at the back.
Final Step: Start wrapping the fabric with the fabric strand while moving downward. Wrap tight until the armholes take a “rope” shape. Do it until you reach the bottom. We have an dedicated article for this, have a look at this.
3. Make an Apron
What you’ll need;
- Cleaned T-shirt
- If the shirt has no design in front, take an Iron-on appliqué
Tip: Bear this in your mind that the shirt size and the apron size will be same. So if you’re making the apron for children, choose a shirt that is for children.
Variations: You can apply tie-dye technique to your shirt. These will hide the effect of the spills.
- Lay your shirt on a flat surface and smooth it out.
- From armpit up to the collar, cut the arms. But don’t cut the collar.
- Now lay the shirt so that the back side is upwards. At the back, cut just below the collar. Separate the back from the collar.
- Then cut in a straight line, armpit to armpit at the back. Store the extra piece.
- Now from each of the bottom corners start to cut upward separating the fabrics, until 3 inches of space is This 3 inches piece will be then turned into the ties for the back.
- Mark the halfway point of the piece at the back. Start cutting it from the left and snip it up to the halfway Then cut left to right. Once you go to the right end, snip UPWARDS. This way that back piece will become the two ties needed for the apron.
Extra tips: Use the arms and stitch them on as pockets.
4. Make a Pillow
- Rotary cutter
- T-shirt, any size but XL is preferred.
- Lay the shirt so that the design of the t-shirt is upwards. Then pin both the sides together with enough pins.
- Cut around the design. Try to keep as much fabric around the design as you can.
- Fold the piece into four layers. Cut a square of 2 x 2 square inches from the top-right corner, make sure to cut all the layers.
- Unfold it and cut strips which should be a ¾ inch wide and 2 inches long in all the layers of the fabric.
- Knot the pairs of strips around. Leave about five strips without knotting to add stuffing in the pillow.
- Now put stuffing(anything you want, should be soft) inside the pillow. Complete the knot of the rest of the tabs. That step will complete making a pillow.
5. Make a Tote or Handbag
Why use plastic or paper bags when you can make cool totes from your t-shirts? No reason!
- 3- 5 straight pins
- Heavy and thick cotton T-shirt
- Dinner plate
- Pencil or pen
- Sewing machine
- Choose a t-shirt you want to make a tote with. Then smooth it out on a flat Take a scissor and cut the sleeves.
- Don’t cut the seam as this gives your tote strength!
- Take a plate and position it about halfway to the neckline.
- Trace around the plate using your pencil or chalk. This is where you’ll cut to make the opening of your tote.
- Cut through the line with the scissors.
- Turn the piece inside out. Then pin the bottom side along its hem.
- Take your sewing machine and sew the bottom side of the T-shirt with its hem closed. You can reinforce it by sewing a second time over the same hem!
The sewing of your bag is finished.
Turn the bag right side- out. Your own tote bag is now complete!
Fill it with groceries, clothes, library books, etc! Keep one in the car, they’re handy!
6. Make a Flower Ring
You will need these supplies;
- A hot glue gun
- A 1 circle of a felt piece.
- A piece of the hem of a shirt
- Lots of circles from the t-shirt (similar size like the felt circle)
- Take a circle you took from a t-shirt. Foldit over a toothpick. Put a drop of glue.
- Press the circle on the felt circle
- Keep adding more circles, pushing them together as close as possible.
- Just when it becomes hard to squeeze more circles in. Take the scissors and trim the top of the circles until you are satisfied with the shape.
- Take the piece of hem and create a loop according to your finger and hot glue it. This will be the ring you’ll wear on your finger.
- Glue the hem ring at the bottom of the flower and it’s done!
You can also make necklaces, earrings etc…the possibilities are practically endless!
Tip: Make sure that you don’t get it wet when you wash your hands. Take it off! You don’t want to wear a soggy ring!
7. Make Your Own Napkins
Why buy napkins or extra fabrics for napkins? When you can use your old T-shirts for this purpose!
You’ll need the supplies below;
- Old T-shirts
- Sewing Machine
- Rotary Cutter
- Cut any 2 squares from your chosen T-shirt with the rotary cutter and mat.
- Put the squares together, the edges side by side.
- Leave about 1/4 inch for seam allowance, sew the 2 squares all around leaving 2-3 inches as an opening to turn it inside-out.
- Cut off the extra parts at the edges.
- Turn your napkin inside out using the opening hole you made at Step 3.
- Put the edges inside and press the napkin strongly.
- Use a decorative stitch to sew all the sides of your Regular stitches are fine too.
That’s it! This is how you make a T-shirt napkin.
8. Make an Eye-catching Ring-let T-shirt Scarf
This eye-catching ringlet t-shirt scarf is a way to recycle your old t-shirts. It takes very little work as there is no sewing whatsoever. It requires very little concentration and very little time.
If you have a lot of shirts with vibrant colors that will make this scarf more colorful.
You know what’s the best thing about this? It’s that you’ll need only a few old t-shirts and scissors for your supplies. That’s about it!
So gather some t-shirts of your favorite colors.
- First off, cut the hems off. We’ll use them later!
- Now cut strips from the fabric of the shirts. Make them about 3-4 inches wide. The more strips you’ll gather, the longer the scarf will be.
- Stretch these strips as much as you can. It makes them thinner.
- Take a strip and make a loop by wrapping it around your hand.
- Make as many as you can. It’ll make your scarf longer.
- Now take the hems you cut off before. Cut them into 5 inch long strips. Tie all the loops together with these making a long chain.
That’s it! You’re done making an easy, comfy and cute t-shirt scarf!
9. Make a Dog Toy
Dogs who love your smell and rolls in your laundry will go bonkers when you’ll hand them this toy.
For this one, You'll need;
- Gently used 2 t-shirts that has your smell. Different colors if possible.
- A pair of scissors.
Tip: The more the merrier. If you can manage more t-shirts you can make a more colorful version!
- Start cutting slits 2-3 inches wide at the bottom of the shirts.
- After you’re done cutting the slits, take a slit and rip through. Continue the same procedure with all the strips. You’ll have the needed strips of fabric for your next Step.
- Collect your strips together and tie them off in one end. Make three divisions among strips. Do a braid of the strips like braiding hair.
- Once you’ve completed braiding the whole length, tie both ends strongly. Cut any extra or loose parts of the strips.
This toy might come in handy in an epic tug-of-war !or might distract your dog to stop it from going to the trash can again and again and lets your furniture off the hook from the torture. Nonetheless, it’s an easy, simple and entertaining toy and a special gift for your pet.
10. Make Produce Bags
Why should you buy bags for carrying produce and staple foods when there’s a way to fulfilling this purpose by recycling your old t-shirts? No one should.
Now for this you’ll need these supplies;
- T-shirt, thicker is preferred
- Fabric Scissors or rotary cutter
- Marker for holes
- Take a T-shirt and turn it inside-out. Mark an area with a bag shape. Small or large, as you prefer.
- Cut both layers of fabric. You’ll get two identical pieces. It’s up to you if you want to leave the hemor cut it off.
- Stitch these 2 pieces together. Close the borders but leave the opening of the bag untouched.
- To prevent damaging or fraying, stitch the edge in a zigzag way narrowly.
- Take a ruler and a marker. Draw multiple small dashes on the whole fabric. These dashes are where you’ll cut holes.
Important: Leave about four inches around the top, this will be your handle.
- Cut the dash lines you marked before using a scissor/rotary cutter. Make sure your cuts are wobbly. Why wobbly? Later you’ll know.
- Cut a long slit about four inches from the top side. This will work as your handle.
- Then streeeeeeatch your bag.
That’s it! Now when you’ll dry the bag after washing it, the wobbly slits will curl up giving it a nice look. They’re ready for you to use
As a conclusion, just want to remind you that these are only 10 of many many ways of recycling old t-shirts. Go through all of them on online and YouTube and find a use for all the t-shirts you’re wasting in the wardrobe. Have a good day!