Seeking some creative inspirations because you don’t know what to do with old t-shirts? Whether you have plain, graphic or striped tees, explore easy t-shirt upcycle ideas that are available for you to try next!
From yoga tops to crop tops, mini skirts and t-shirt dresses, I’ve rounded up trendy and stylish refashion t-shirt ideas for you to try. If you are considering to upcycle any old tees from a concert, thrift store or even the back of the closet, then search no further because you are in the right place.
Simple t-shirt is the most popular material for upcycle beginners. The material stretches in all four directions and knit fabric is easy to work with without dedicating yourself to complicated sewing techniques.
Old t-shirts also lend themselves to easy no sew hacks. Alter a neckline, crop the length and modify a sleeve silhouette with DIY no sew t-shirt refashion that demonstrate how to reconstruct old tees without sewing.
When it comes to upcycled clothing, there are craft t-shirt ideas for all skill levels. Cutting, dyeing and blending mixed media fabrications are just a few of the things to do with old t-shirts to give them a new life.
Some people find it intimating when first learning how to upcycle clothes, however we have the perfect assortment of beginner project ideas for you to explore when deciding what to do with old tees. Follow the step-by-step photos, detailed instructions and informational video to improve your DIY clothing skills with these easy t-shirt transformations.
How To Recycle Old T-Shirts Into New Clothes
It’s exciting to see the transition when you recycle old t-shirts into new clothes. Whether you have an oversized t-shirt or skin-tight tee, it’s important to make sure you have enough material to work with.
While you are searching for fun project ideas in the Upcycle Clothing Designer website, evaluate the style, material and amount of fabric require to complete the design. Scan through the measurements in the tutorial and compare with your size.
You may mid it necessary to add or subtract sizing based on your specs. Follow the guidelines to take body measurements for clothes so you are able to find the right numbers to work on.
Prepare your old t-shirt by throwing it in the washing machine so that you can remove any crinkles or creases beforehand. It’s important to work with flat fabric so that the cutlines and seams are accurate.
Having your basic measurements and full specs of the t-shirt will give you clear blueprint for how to map your brand new clothing from a blank canvas. Double check your sewing kit so that you have all the materials ready to go!
DIY Upcycle Old T-Shirt Project Materials:
- Old T-Shirt
- Sewing Machine
- Fabric Chalk
- Measuring Tape
- Straight Pins
Repurpose Old T-Shirts
Old t-shirts are a great repurpose material to convert into new clothes with quick simple reconstruction techniques. Whether you add notions like elastic or trims, or perform alterations on the neckline or hemming, there are countless methods to recycle, reuse or repurpose old t-shirts.
If you find any cool graphic t-shirt while thrift shopping or buried in the back of the closet when spring cleaning, then here are basic t-shirt alteration tips and techniques for your next DIY fashion:
- Alter the neckline by modifying the neck opening to a one-shoulder top or off-the-shoulder t-shirt. Learn how to make a neckband with a clean professional finish.
- Practice sewing narrow zigzag and overlock stitch to join knit fabrics together along a new seam.
- Create your own design with elastic shoulder straps. Spaghetti straps high neck top and strap tank top from t-shirt are fun ways to add elastic detail.
- Learn how to sew and insert elastic inside the sleeve, neck opening, hemline, and waist opening.
- Explore different ways to make ruffles. Use the bias circular method to make a ruffle crop top from t-shirt or use elastic to make a tiered ruffle mini skirt from t-shirt.
- Manually gather the fabric to create bunching. The side shirring dress from t-shirt shows how to use a wide stitch width and pull on the back thread to shirr the fabric.
- Become familiar with t-shirt cutting techniques. Try these cool t-shirt cutting ideas, it only takes a pair of scissors to attempt the no sew projects.
With basic tools and simple instructions, you will instantly find ways to repurpose old t-shirts into brand new clothes. Start with baby steps and explore different ways to upgrade boring old tees.
DIY Upcycle Old T-Shirt Project Tips:
Upcycling old t-shirts requires creativity, imagination and reconstruction ingenuity. I’ve put together easy t-shirt upcycle projects for you to follow along with.
Each DIY project comes with specific sewing tips to help guide you through smoothly. Before starting out, review the tricks and hacks that will help you successfully complete the t-shirt transformation every time.
- Sewing Tips: Sewing knit t-shirt requires a little bit of practice. Depending on the weight of fabrication, you may experience the fabric being damaged or eaten up by the feed dogs. If that happen to you, I recommend changing from a regular sewing foot to a walking foot so that you avoid the unnecessary difficulties.
- Needle & Thread: Choose a needle size that is 70/10 or 80/12 for medium or lightweight lycra knit t-shirt material. The point of the needle should be rounded with a ballpoint instead of having a sharp tip. If you have a polyester blend thread, it’s the best thread option for t-shirts.
- Tension: When sewing knits, change the sewing machine tension setting to 4-5 range for light to medium weight knits. Test the tension on a scrap of fabric to find the best results for your sewing machine.
- Cutting Tools: I generally use sharp fabric scissors to deconstruct any t-shirt. When the project suggests finishing with a raw cut edges, I recommend going with a rotary cutter with cutting mat underneath. The cutting tool is also great for making spaghetti straps with clean cutlines.
- Fabric Chalk: For light colored or white t-shirts, I use black fabric chalk to create new style lines. The chalk is easily removable by simply adding water and rubbing the fabric against itself.
- Fabric Glue: If you are trying to upcycle clothes without sewing, adhesive bonds and fusible tapes are a great alternatives to using a needle and thread. Here are the best fabric glues to use when working with knit material t-shirts.