Friday, September 24, 2010

Frugal Friday: Old T-shirts

We all have them, the old t-shirts that are mostly good, but the neck or cuffs are splitting, or there's a little hole or a stain someplace (or all of the above!). The average t-shirt is made with good cotton, and if most of that fabric is still good, then you can do a lot with it!

Most of my ideas start out with cutting away all the seams. I just turn it inside out, then cut along next to each seam, so that I'm left with several large pieces of fabric. From there the possibilities are virtually endless.

  • Use the big pieces as they are for cleaning rags (or trim off the angled parts so they are nice rectangles and squares if you prefer, so they'll fold nicely or whatever...but it's a rag remember, and nobody really cares if it's pretty). One thing I love about using worn out clothing for rags is that if it gets really gross, I can throw it away without feeling guilty, because the fabric has already fulfilled it's purpose TWICE!
  • Cut out around cool logos or embroidery (be sure to allow at least a couple of inches of extra space on all sides), and save the designs. Once you have a few, combine them into a t-shirt quilt full of memories. (I am still collecting for mine, haven't made it yet.)
  • Use pieces to patch or decorate other t-shirts (see below)
  • Make a diaper
  • Make 'kitchen cloth' (aka reusable paper towels or napkins) or cloth kleenex or 'family cloth' (aka reusable toilet paper). For these I recommend using two layers, and either zigzag or serge the edges. The fabric will not fray, so you don't need to worry about finishing raw edges, however a single layer of fabric will roll like this --->

Here is my family cloth and 'nuggert wipers' (cloth nose tissues)--each with it's 'clean' basket and 'dirty' receptacle. (I sort by color--whites are all for noses, colored are not--so if you're ever at my house, you'll know which one to grab ☺) (And for anybody who wasn't sure about the family cloth notion, see the squirty bottle? Yeah, squirt clean and then use the cloth to pat dry...see, not really so gross is it. Or yes, we do still have paper TP too...)

And here are a couple of options that involve NOT cutting up the shirt as shown above:
  • Make a diaper! (even if you don't cloth diaper, seriously check out this link, it's so cool!!)
  • Carefully cut up the body of the shirt in a big spiral to make tarn. (Here is a video tutorial as well.) Then you can knit or crochet with it!
  • Make a tote bag.

A final option, if you are dealing with just one little hole in the middle of the shirt (but the collar and cuffs are fine) is to patch it. I'd vote for doing so artistically.

Choose a design of some sort to applique over the hole, and cut it out of other t-shirt/knit fabric. Cut out a piece of lightweight iron-on interfacing that is slightly larger than the applique, and iron it onto the inside of the shirt in the desired location.

Carefully pin the applique in the location, and then satin stitch all around. (A satin stitch is a wide zigzag with a very short stitch length.)



Mallory said...

These are some great ideas! I love my old tshirts, and I hate getting rid of them. I should really make a quilt! (And I also like the tarn idea).

Joy said...

I love this post! I have done all of the above with tshirts, and more. Part of my fabric stash is a big box of old tshirts that people give me, and I use them anytime I need a good knit fabric for something small enough, like underwear for my kids. With large used quality t-shirts, I can make cute clothes for my kids that outlast ones made from new fabric at the fabric store. Check the tag for a quality brand name for fabric that will last.

Elizabeth said...

I like dissecting T's too- sometimes I'll hack off long sleeves or a band around the bottom and make matching flower pins for the shirt.

Linked Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...