How to Make Something Beautiful out of Old T-shirts

Old T shirts

Most people have a lot of t-shirts. But sometimes, they are too old and washed out to carry on. Don’t throw them away; cut them up and make something out of them. How you need to cut your shirt depends on the project, so plan a little. You’ll be done quickly with the right technique and have little waste.

Table of Contents

Cut t-shirts into squares

Spread the t-shirt out on a flat surface.

Smooth out wrinkles and waves, and make sure the hems are flat. If you’re using a print shirt, turn the design up so you can see where you’re cutting. Solid color shirts make great rags and leftovers for other sewing projects, like toys. Print shirts are great for bags, blankets, and as patches.

Use fabric scissors to cut through the shirt below the sleeves.

Use a ruler and pen as needed to start by drawing a horizontal line on the front of the shirt. Then cut along the line. Set aside the upper part with the sleeves. Alternatively, you can use a ruler and rotary cutter. If you’re using a print shirt, cut off the sleeves first, then cut through the shirt just an inch to two inches above the design.

Turn the shirt inside out and cut open the side seam.

First, turn it inside out and then place it on a flat surface. Smooth out wrinkles and trim along the seam. Then set the two pieces aside. Use scissors or a rotary cutter to do this. If you want, you can also cut off the bottom hem.

Use fabric scissors to cut a rectangle out of the top of the shirt.

Let’s return to the top of the shirt you set aside earlier. This is the part with the sleeves. Using a ruler and pen, draw the largest possible rectangle between the sleeve, hem, and raw edge. You’ll waste less fabric if you do it first in the front and then in the back. The neckline is usually larger at the front than at the back.

Cut the sleeves with fabric scissors to create a rectangle.

First, cut the sleeves from the remaining fabric. Then turn it inside out and trim the hem. Lay the sleeves flat. Cut along the top (shoulder) edge to create a rectangle. You can leave the bottom hem as it is or cut it off. You can use a rotary cutter for this.

Use the leftovers.

These rectangles are perfect for sewing together to make a blanket. They’ll be easier to work with if you iron them. You can cut them even smaller to sew a simple doll, teddy bear, or cat toy. Below are more great project ideas.

Use t-shirt designs for crafting

Spread the shirt out on a flat surface.

Go to a table or counter. Make sure the surface is clean so the shirt doesn’t get dirty. Spread it out with the design facing up. Pull it apart with your hands.

Smooth out the part of the shirt you want to save.

Depending on the project, you can use a shirt with a repeating pattern or a design on the front. The pattern or design needs to be flat to cut it evenly. If the shirt is very wrinkled, iron it once or twice. This can be time-consuming and is optional.

Figure out how much fabric you’ll need for the edges.

For some projects, like pillows, you’ll need a lot of fabric. Other projects, like teddy bears or bracelets, use very little fabric. Once you know what you will use your shirt for, you can decide how much space you need around the design. If you want to make your shirt a pillow, you can leave the sleeves and collar on to give it a quirky look.

Cut around the design, leaving at least two inches of overhang.

Take fabric scissors and cut around the design. Carefully cut along the outside edge, leaving plenty of room to work. Set the design aside at the end. If you leave space around the design, you won’t accidentally cut off part of it.

Cut the remaining t-shirt to use the leftovers.

Don’t throw away the leftovers. Use the solid color pieces as rags or for blankets. You can cut the rest of the shirt into rectangles as a washcloth/rag.

T-shirt yarn

Get a plain shirt with no side seams.

If it has side seams, it will unravel when you take the yarn out of the shirt. Also, do not use a shirt with an image, such as a band logo or cartoon character, as such shirts cannot stretch.

Cut off the top of the shirt below the armpits.

Spread the shirt out on a flat surface. Place a ruler on the shirt below the armpits. Cut along the shirt with a rotary cutter. The ruler is your guide. Discard the top and sleeves. If you don’t have a rotary cutter, you can use a ruler and pen to draw a horizontal line, then use fabric scissors to cut along that line.

Cut off the hem.

It doesn’t have to be, but the yarn is always the same thickness and structure. Just cut off the bottom hem. You can do this with a ruler, a rotary cutter, or fabric scissors. Discard the hem.

Fold the shirt in half.

Leave a gap between the left and right edges. Take the left side of the shirt and pull it over the right. Stop when there’s a gap of about 1 inch between the left and right edges. So you have to cut less.

Cut 1-inch slits on the side of the shirt.

Stop at the gap. Cut from the left, stopping 1 inch from the right side. If you were to unfold the shirt, you could see 1-inch wide stripes that run across the shirt and stop about 1 inch from the right edge.

Unfold the shirt and spread it out, so the gap widens on the right side.

Unfold the shirt. Then open it up and spread it out so that the 1-inch gap becomes a 2-inch gap. You may need to move the loops you cut on the left out of the way.

Cut diagonal lines in the two-inch gap to separate the strips.

First, cut in the bottom left corner of the gap. Cut through the gap at an angle up to the nearest horizontal strip. Repeat. Cut from the bottom left to the top right until you get to the top of the shirt. Think of the gaps as 1-inch rectangles. You’ll cut from the bottom-left corner of each rectangle to the top-right corner.

Pull the t-shirt tab to curl the ends.

Hold the shirt strip loosely in one hand and use the other hand to gently pull it through your hand. The edges of the shirt then curl inwards and form a kind of tube. You may have to do this several times.

Roll the yarn into a ball.

Wrap the ends of the yarn around your index and middle fingers a few times. Let it slip off your fingers and wrap it around the sling a few more times to form a ball. Continue wrapping the yarn around the ball. Switch directions often until it runs out.

Knit or crochet with it.

Because it is so thick, it is probably unsuitable for socks, hats, or scarves. It’s great for something that wears out quickly, like dishcloths, oven mitts, and rugs.

Crafts with t-shirts

Cut open the collar and sleeves and sew or connect the bottom part to make a tote bag.

Cut off the sleeves first, then cut a deep U in the collar. Leave the shoulders intact, as they will be the handles. Turn the shirt inside out. Sew through the bottom hem, then turn the right side out. Alternatively, you can cut a border into the bottom edge and sew them together.

Make a pretty scarf out of an old shirt.

Cut off the top part below the armpits. Then, cut 2-inch wide strips through the shirt. Start on the left and end about two inches short of the right. Pull the strips to make them narrower. Then take the right side. Wrap and tie a strip of fabric around the right side to hold it together. Cut thin strips from the rest of the shirt material. For example, the hem or the sleeves remain.

Cut out the print pattern and use it as a pretty patch.

Find a shirt with a cool print, like a band logo. Crop the sides, top, and bottom of the image. Fold the cutout in half and use it as a guide for the rest. Hand-sew the pattern on. Work with a running stitch. Weave the needle up and down through the fabric. Use a thread of color that matches the patch, so everything has the same tone. You can also use embroidery floss in a contrasting color to make it stand out. Complete the punk look with safety pins and/or rivets. Such patches are great on single-colored shirts, backpacks, shoulder bags, shopping bags and denim jackets.

Make one out of several shirts

Cut several shirts into equal squares. Sew the side edges of the shirts together to create a larger rectangle. Cut a large rectangle out of cotton fabric. Sew to the back of the blanket, leaving a gap so you can turn it right. Turn the blanket right side out and sew up the seam. You can use plain, patterned, or different shirts. The fabric can be woven or jersey. Sew the fabric’s right sides together. Before turning the shirt right side out, use an iron to iron the seams between the shirt squares, so it doesn’t get as bulky. Sew through the seams of the squares again from the top to create the quilted look.

Make a runner out of the t-shirt stripes.

Cut several solid-colored shirts into strips that are 1 to 4 inches wide. Pull the strips to make them thinner and easier to work with. Use a knot hook to attach these strips to a knotted canvas. In craft stores, you can find latch hooks and a corresponding canvas made of mesh. It looks nicer if you sew sewing tape around the edges.

Pick up the bottom part of the shirt to make a face mask that doesn’t require sewing.

Cut 18 cm off at the bottom and lay this piece flat. Take the left and right sides of the shirt (the sides that will be on your hips when you wear it) and fold them toward each other until they touch. Then fold them on top of each other to create two layers. Take two hair ties or rubber bands and slip them over the right and left sides of the shirt. Then fold the edges over each other about two inches to hold the “ear loops” in place. If you need to wash the mask, remove the hair ties or rubber bands and wash the mask.

Make a ring out of a shirt.

Cut the shirt scraps into circles about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter (the exact diameter is up to you. The more, the bigger the ring will be). Fold a circle over the tip of a toothpick and place a drop of hot glue in the center. Glue the circle into a felt circle. Then work in more shirt circles. You can hot glue the top of the ring to a metal band or make a band out of the hem of a shirt by folding it around your finger and gluing the ends together.

Cut your shirt into strips to make a chain.

Cut the hem of the shirt into 1-inch wide strips. Layer the strips together until your necklace looks perfect (usually about ten layers of different colors). Join the strips at the top by wrapping another strip around them. Then glue it with hot glue to keep everything in place. Adding some beads in the middle makes it more exciting.


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