Following the success of last week’s DIY projects, I figured I’d stick with the recycling/credit crunching/crafting theme and offer some bright ideas on what to do with your old t-shirts. Following an epic clear out this weekend I found myself encumbered with a number of my boyfriend’s old Iron Maiden shirts.
While back in my ~skater girl~ youth I would have worn them oversized quite happily with a pair of baggy cords, these days I like to pretend my style is a little more refined. I’m all for charity donation but sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Whether you’re in love with a shirt, have a lingering fondness for the print or just can’t bear to part with something with memories, here are a few other options…
1) Cushion cover
Fairly easy guide with good instructions and pictures from Savvy Seams. While a zip is a neat option, I’m willing to tell you from experience that 1) zipper foots aren’t that cheap and 2) sewing a zip onto jersey without a serger is nigh on impossible to do neatly. Oh, and 3) invisible zips are the hardest of all zips to sew on. So I’d suggest that unless you’re an expert sewer already you swap this for sticky back Velcro. This basically operates like sticky tape, except it’s Velcro. Awesome for all craft projects.
Alternatively, turn your shirt inside out and sew up the arms and bottom. Turn right way out, stuff with stuffing, sew up neck. Rough and ready but much quicker!
pic c/o Savvy Seams
2) Tote bag
Oh hai, it’s Martha Stewart! Skip forward to around 5:30 (unless you want to learn about decorating with gourds). This is a SUPER easy idea and really cute. We all know how bad plastic bags are (and how annoying they are when you find your kitchen drawers full of them) so this a neat idea. Basic sewing skillz are all you need, although I’d suggest zigzag stitching around the opening as they suggest.
pic c/o Martha Stewart
Slightly epic, but if you’ve had a mass clearout or fancy an ongoing challenge, this is the project for you. This guide on Straw looks initially quite long-winded but it’s actually pretty easy. Basically all you need to remember is make a template for your quilt squares, to interface the whole thing, and to get something nice to back it with if you want it to be warm. I made one without bothering to back it and just use it as a throw sort of thing – if you’re using old, slightly worn shirts I don’t think it matters so much if you ‘finish’ it neatly.
If you’re in America, you could also try TshirtQuilt who do all the hard work for you for a fairly reasonable fee!
pic c/o TShirtQuilt
4) Rag rug
My mum was obsessed with rag rugs when I was a kid. We used to make them all the time when I was off school sick! Here’s a guide from the Vintage Chica – it’s pretty easy but it does rely on you having some existing knowledge of crochet. Minimal, admittedly, but you need to have a vague idea at least. Alternatively there’s a guide at The Des Moines Register (uhm, obviously) which uses those great plastic rug canvases. These are cheap and available at most crafts stores for not very much. You could even give it a bash with a hessian type material if you sealed the edges!
Pic c/o Vintage Chica
I haven’t attempted this at all but it looks like a lot of fun. The instructions come from SuperNaturale and are pretty easy to follow – there’s even a nicely PDFd pattern! Having made underwear on my fashion degree I can’t help but look at the instructions and fear my tutor taking the seams apart and laughing at me, but who cares, snazzy Iron Maiden pants will soon be mine…
Pic c/o SuperNaturale
6) General household items
Cleaning rags! Rags for curling your hair! Stuff handbags and shoes with them to keep their shape! Stick them in one of those record cover frames from Urban Outfitters! Use them for a garment cover – slip a clean shirt over fancy or fragile frocks hanging in your wardrobe! Reupholster a chair! Make a skirt! Cut off the logo and sew it on something else! Go bananas. But tell us about it!