Thursday, February 19, 2009

35 ways to use old T-shirts

I don't know about you all, but I seem to easily get an over abundance of old t-shirts around here. They are to poor of quality to pass on to someone else but they still have some life left in them. It has been my mission this past year or so to figure out ways to make them into things we need. Here is a collection of ways we have used them as well as ideas others have come up with.




  1. Make a skirt! This skirt took just a little time and two old polos of Ken's. There are a lot of different ways you could make skirts out of old t-shirts. Have fun and be creative! (here is a picture of another style of cute skirt.)

  2. For Tank tops. Here is a tutorial to show you how.

  3. Cheap (and pretty) Underwear. I started with ones for Megan and then have done boxers for the boys and pretty soon I plan on making them for the rest of us. :-) They are easy and quick! It isn't hard to find enough fabric either.

  4. Rags! 100% cotton t-shirts make wonderful rags when they are cut up. Cut them to the size you desire.

  5. This isn't something I would make or wear, but it can be done: A Bikini.

  6. A cute baby dress.

  7. A Scarf. Cut your t-shirts into narrow strips (around 1/4 inch wide) to make yarn and then knit a chunky scarf. This scarf took around 3 shirts. They were cotton/polyester which worked well. I have also a hat in the works made from t-shirt yarn. I think you make about anything, it would just be thick.
  8. Toddler pants. Very simple and easy and comfortable! What more could you ask for? It would work great for pajama pants too.

  9. Make a pillow. (Though personally I think I would cut off the sleeves and sew up that hole.)

  10. Make hats and mittens. The ones picture below I just used a t-shirt for the lining but it would have worked fine to use it for all of it.

  11. Sew some cute cloth diapers! This will really save you money! Not only will you not have to buy disposable diapers but you won't have to buy cloth ones either. For fabric baby wipes just cut up some more cotton t-shirts to make lovely ones! You can also make pre-fold diapers from t-shirts.

  12. Make a rug. Cut you t-shirts into strips that are around 1 inch wide and then you can crochet into a rug. You can also make a braided rug with them. This isn't my fabric of choice but I have tried it and it does work.

  13. A cute little bunny hat.

  14. You can make them into a different sort of shirt in lots of ways! (Check out all her links on the left hand side.)

  15. Make a soft cuddly doll. For this I used a white t-shirt which I then dyed with tea to make a better flesh color. T-shirt material makes a very nice body for a "baby".
  16. Doll Clothes. You don't have to worry about the knit fabric fraying and it is pretty sturdy and doll clothes don't take to much so t-shirts work just swell.
  17. Make a tote Bag. Here is a super simple tote bag. And another t-shirt tote bag tutorial. And one in a little different style using a child's long sleeve t-shirt. Here is one that doesn't require sewing. Here is yet another simple bag in a different style. And here is a hobo style bag.
  18. Or you could make a purse! Here is one using 2 t-shirts (in different colors). Here is a tie up one with lots of fringes.
  19. Make Napkins. This is something I just tried. I like to use cloth napkins and have a bunch made from woven cotton material but Ken didn't think they absorbed very well so I thought cotton knit might do better. I think it is going to work great! These are super simple to make as you just cut out a square the size you want and them put a small hem on the ages. If you want to make them really cool you could make tie dye ones!
  20. Make a jumper skirt.
  21. How about an Apron?
  22. Use them to make hot pads. Use lots of layers to make them plenty thick. (All the stained portions can be the inside layers.)
  23. Make a memory quilt. Or you can have it done for you if you want. Here are lots of pictures for inspiration.
  24. Make a dress by adding a skirt onto the bottom of the t-shirt. This is super quick and simple.
  25. Make a Baby Bib from an old t-shirt.
  26. A cute spring scarf. (no knitting required! ) Or make a patchwork scarf.
  27. A toy for a dog. (The note at the bottom says you can use t-shirts as well as dish towels.) This would be a great use for old stained up ones as it wouldn't matter at all what they look like here..
  28. Headbands. When I was younger I made those stretchy headbands out of knit material. Old t-shirts would have worked just fine. Here a lady tells how she used the top of a turtle neck.
  29. Use old t-shirts as paint frocks for kids during their art time.
  30. Old t-shirts can be used as stuffing for something like a scarecrow or anything that doesn't have to be soft and fluffy.
  31. Bum covers for little kids. I know I like to have my little girls wear shorts of something of that sort under their dresses, obviously others do as well. It not only keep them more modest but also warmer in the winter. I have also made pioneer style pantaloons out of old white t-shirts before. Be sure to put some pretty white lace on the bottom. :-)
  32. Make a newborn gown. (You know the type with the elastic in the bottom that are much easier to use than sleepers when changing diapers in the middle of the night.
  33. A nightgown.
  34. Barbie Doll sheets. The fabric works great and you don't even need to hem them.
  35. Use a combination of t-shirts sewn together to make a wrap to carry a baby.

I would love to hear any ways you use old t-shirts! It would be great fun to add to this list.

For more Frugal tips visit Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

7 comments:

momof4sweetsisters said...

Wow! You have some really great ideas I had never thought of. Thanks!

Keren said...

that was a fun list to look through :)

n*stitches said...

Great post! I love to sew and can't wait to give a few of these a try!

Miranda said...

Great Ideas! I love posts like this!

Christine said...

I love these ideas! Blessings!

marilyncavicchiaeditorpoet said...

Hi, Abbi ... I found this a long time after you posted it because I was searching for instructions on how to make a rag doll out of a tea-dyed T-shirt.

Do you remember your dyeing method? There are a lot of instructions out there, but many are for muslin rather than T-shirts, and I'd like to use what we have around.

Many thanks!

Abbi said...

Marilyn,
I don't remember exactly how I dyed the cloth. I think I brewed the tea in hot water and then while it was still hot I put the cloth to soak. I think I let it soak overnight and then rang it out and dried it in the dryer to try and set it. That is what I think I did. :-)

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