5 Ways to Upcycle T-Shirts

Upcycle T-Shirts

T-shirts are one of those things that you just seem to accumulate more and more of over the years. But you don’t have to get rid of them! Why not try to upcycle them instead into something new? After all, old t-shirts are basically free fabric, right? Check out our 5 ideas to transform and upcycle t-shirts below.

Hats From Old T-shirts

Upcycle T-Shirts

Here’s a new fresh accessory to try out. These hats made from old t-shirts are perfect for yourself or as a gift. The stretchy comfortable material can fit any sized melon – including kids. Use different colors and patterns to create a personalized, funky accessory that uses recycled materials. In this tutorial, Jessica Giardino shows you step-by-step how to use a serger to sew this fun project.

Find the project here: Serger Project: Make a Hat from Old T-Shirts

T-Shirt Pillow

Upcycle T-Shirts

This is a nice simple project for beginners. Turn your t-shirt into a display piece! In this tutorial, Tara Rex shows you how to transform your old favorite t-shirt into a decorative pillow. This project is quick and easy, only requiring some stitching and stuffing. Now that trip you took to the Black Hills or that concert you saw can be immortalized on a pillow, and not tucked away in a box.

Find the project here: Sew a Quick and Easy T-Shirt Pillow

T-Shirt Applique

A reverse applique can be a great addition to decorative pillows or blankets, but it doesn’t have to end there. This technique can also be used on t-shirts to create a unique twist. Nicole LaFoille shows you in this tutorial how to create fun detail on a basic or plain top. This is a quick and easy way to add some custom touches to your clothes that will leave others wondering, “Where did you get that shirt?”

Find the project here: Reverse Applique and T-Shirt Applique Ideas

Mastering Men’s Dress Shirts

Upcycle T-Shirts

Creating the parts of a men’s dress shirt is a great way to get started with garment making. These details can be added to customize any shirt and create a professional look. In this article, Ashley Hough teaches you how to master collars, cuffs, and pockets. These components are a great way to tailor a dress shirt to the style of the man in your life.

Find the project here: Collars, Cuffs, and Pockets: Mastering the Shirt Essentials

Taking In a Shirt

Upcycle T-Shirts

Have a shirt that is too big? Altering a shirt can be quick and easy, and you won’t find a better dress form than yourself. In this tutorial Aurora Sisneros shows you a method of taking in that requires no dress form and is as simple as try it on, pin, stitch, and fit. This technique can be used on more than just shirts. Try it out on dresses to fix the size or to create a more slimming fit to a boxy dress.

Find the project here: Taking in a Shirt

T-Shirt Quilt

Upcycle T-Shirts

Quite possibly the most popular upcycle project for a t-shirt is the infamous “t-shirt quilt”. It’s a great way to immortalize those memory pieces you can’t bear to get rid of. Making an entire quilt can be a bit of an undertaking, but the outcome of this project is so worth it!

Find the project here: Quick and Easy T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial

Next time you feel like your t-shirt drawer is getting too full, take out your sewing machine and start recycling! You might just make something beautiful. If you’re inspired by these tutorials, or have some more ideas to upcycle t-shirts, leave us a comment below!

Happy Sewing!


Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

18 Responses to “5 Ways to Upcycle T-Shirts”

  1. Katy nash

    Thank you for all the great ideas 🤗🤗🤗

  2. Liz

    Great ideas thankyou

  3. Pat

    have t shirts but don't wear them

  4. Pearl

    looking to make the t shirt quilt

  5. Pat Marsh

    Good afternoon, I have a tshirt that has stretched around the waist/hip line that I would like to add ribbing to to draw it in. Do I measure my hip measurements or do I measure the garment itself just above the hip/ waist line. I like the garment to just sit on the hips so it is not to long or short. How then do I measure the ribbing… is it 3/4 ???? ( or what percentage )of my hip line or the actual garment..many thanks

  6. corry

    I have unsubscribed from your site numerous times. Still get emails. Could you stop them please? fruitbats37@gmail.com

  7. Namutebi Beatrice Dora

    Seems great

  8. Debra

    I look forward to getting started on a new project!!!

  9. Debbie

    I like your ideas and would like to try one sometime.

  10. Marsha

    I am going to make a T-Shirt quilt for my husband. He was in the Navy for 38 years and I have shirts from all over the world. Cannot wait to get started. BTW- he retired as a Rear Admiral.