Having some old t shirts and wondering what to do with them? You can upcycle or repurpose them. upcycling refers to the process of taking back t shirt cloths to a practical, usable form without minimizing their value for reuse. Following are some ideas on how you can go about the whole process.

Repurposing t shirts into Dresses & Skirts

Generally, T shirts can be repurposed into many forms clothing that you can wear especially when undertaking household activities. These garments include skirts, dresses and leg warmers


Old t shirts can be used to make fantastic skirts. This is awesome but you need to make sure that you try to match between the colors to use in cases where mixing is required. Here are some simple steps that you can follow to arrive to the best outfit that you need;

1: You need a thread, needle, scissor and a string or if you wish a rubber band. Cut the t shirts along the line on either side.

This will be determined by your skirt choice whether short or long. Folding the shirt will help you make straight cuts with smooth edges.

2: Turn over the t shirt and fold about 1 cm of the cut side. Place the string (or rubber band in case you have one), under the cloth to use it when adjusting the waist.

3: Tear a small part of the skirt which will be used to adjust the waist then sew the cut sides together from top to bottom.

Your skirt is now ready to use. This is an easier way of repurposing an old t shirt.


You can also use old t shirts to make well-fitting dresses. All you need is the sewing tools and the t-shirts. Measure your burst to ensure that you do not make a buggy dress for yourself. This can also be used to make dresses for the kids and toddlers.

You need to put on the t shirt and measure the length of the dress you need. Pin the back of the shirt with an elastic band to guide on how to cut it off to make it fit for your waist and burst. After that, sew the shirt and let the marks made help you in doing so.

Additionally, modify the collar of the tee depending on the design of your dress choice. Turn the dress to the right side and it is now ready to wear.


T shirts can also be uses to come up with other forms of clothing such as leg warmers. From a long sleeved t shirt, cut the two sleeves into identical pieces using a pair of scissors. From a different colored t shirt, cut two straight strips of about 1.5 cm wide.

Fold the top of the sleeves and sew a line of stitching all-round the top of the sheath. Ensure that you leave an opening round the cloth.

Using a safety pin, yarn the cut strip round through the created channel for adjusting the legwarmers.

No sew t shirt Reconstruction

In the above section, the ideas involve sewing. Following are some ideas to reuse your old tee without sewing

How to make a tote bag from an old t shirt

Tote bags are very useful especially when it comes to shopping in the groceries. This can be made by following the following steps;

1; Cut off the sleeves of your tee at once to obtain a similar shape on both sides. You are also required to cut the neckline to obtain a circular or oval shape.

2; determine the depth you need for your bag. You are advised to consider the material type used as some fabric stretch on adding weight on them.

3; Cut the fringe where you need your bag’s bottom to be then tie it into a knot. However, you can cut many fringes and tie them in pairs at the bottom of the tote.

4; Turn your t shirt such that the knots tied are in the inside at the bottom of the tote bag. The straps at the top of the bag cut either in circular or oval form will be your holding straps.

Infinite scarf

You can make an infinite scarf from old t shirts. This can be done by cutting the lower parts of the cloth leaving behind the top region for another use. Taking the upper piece cut it into small strips of about 1cm wide. This is to be done horizontally across the whole piece leaving 1 inch part at the top to hold the cut strips together.

After you are through with cutting the strips, put the uncut side around your hand then stretch the cut strips to enlarge them making them longer. Rap the edges around your neck and you will be amazed by how the scarf will fit round your neck. Despite the stretching, it will also form ridges like curls which will give it a perfect final outlook without sewing.

Ruffled scarf

In addition to this, you can also make a ruffled scarf from old tee by cutting six round pieces from the shirts body. This will be made easier if you use a plate or a circular item to cut off the pieces.

Now having a total of 12 circular pieces, cut each of them into a spiral using a free hand. Don’t worry about their irregular shape for when you arrange them to make a scarf you won’t notice their imperfect shapes.

Stretch each coiled spiral pieces and put them into two sections of six each. Put them together so as to have one end. By use of glue, strengthen the section where the two ends meet and your scarf will be ready for use.

T-Shirt Grocery Bag

Further, you can use old t shirt to construct a bag used for shopping. In fact, this is a perfect method of taking care of our environment as you do not have to use polythene bags that pollute the environment.

To do this, you need to cut the shirt’s sleeves as well as the neck. It is also advised that you cut deep around the neckline then make the armholes bigger and longer. This is done to ensure that the straps are large enough to be held without difficulties.

After you are through with this, turn your t shirt inside out and using glue bind the two edges at the bottom of the shirt. You can also twist the straps for holding the bag if at all you need them twisted or braided. This is quite a perfect bag to go shopping with.

Tee Shirt Halter

Generally, a halter will hold a top or dress leaving your shoulders and back bare. This can be perfect dressing attire that you can make especially during summer so as to leave your body free for aeration.

This is achieved by cutting the top of a tee using a pair of scissors to make straps. These straps are tied together to make a knot that is adjusted to hold the top or dress in position.

Pillow Cases

Old t-shirts can also be used to make pillow cases. This is done by cutting off the neckline of the t-shirt then binding the bottom of the shirt in such a way that you can adjust it to remove and return the pillow for cleaning. Additionally, depending on your choice, you can decide on whether to add fringes or not.

Craft ideas for old t shirts

Briefly discuss as many as possible and let the discussions be brief.


Generally, this refers to a substance made of two stitched layers with cotton wool or a soft material in between to protect the sandwiched material from shifting. This can be made by sorting your tees by their color depending on the desired design of your final product.

From there, you will do an evaluation and measurements that are based on the size and design of your quilt. Further, stack in the soft material inside then glue the ends or stitch them to achieve the desired output.

Braided bracelets

Braided bracelets can also be made from old tees. This can be done by cutting it into small strips then putting them round your hand. You can also add some beads to enhance their final outlook making them classier.


Nautical necklaces can be made from old t-shirts. You can achieve this by cutting out long strips enough to fit your neck.

Addition of round hollow beads of different colors on the strand will help you advance its final appearance.

You can also use your aged t-shirts to make necklace pendants. This is a good idea since you can be quite assured you will love the idea. Using the pattern of your choice, add extra touches to your obvious silver neck outfits.

Woven knot necklace also comes into to the list. A lot of ladies will definitely love this improvised necklace. To make it better on your complexion, use strips from t shirts with different colors.


Headbands can also be made from old tees. This is done by cutting broad strips that are therefore used to tie your hair. You can also twist or make looped bands from the t shirts for your hair.

Knotted headband can also be made out of used shirt to add stylishness to your hairstyle. Kneading may be done using a sewing needle or a machine.

Wrapped bracelets with patterns

You can also make wrapped bracelets with patterns. You just need to collect t shirts with different colors then match the colors to come up with a bracelet. Use of a chain for the final finish especially in tying the note is highly encouraged to make it a bit unique.

Flower ring

A flower ring can be a product from old shirts. This can be prepared by folding the fabric in form of a flower which can be tied to a strand to make a ring for your fingers.

You can also craft metal tube jewelry by passing metallic tubes through cut strips of fabric from the shirts. All you need is to bring the strips together to form a necklace or even bracelet depending on the length of the made items.


It is a pretty idea to braid strips of an old t-shirt into a belt. You are highly encouraged to choose the tees’ color that will perfectly match with your jeans. This will bring out uniqueness in your outfit especially in social gatherings such as parties.

Phone holder

Phone holder can be other perfect items you can make from old t-shirts. You only need to fold the piece of cloth into a bag like structure then stitch it at the sides to fit your gadget. In fact, you will end up with a durable carry case for your gadget.

Creative Art

Further, old tees can be used for craft art. This is more so on those that rise to levels of art, that is, have decorations and impressive writings on their sides. Hanging them on the wall with an art perception can bring out the best outlook of your house furnish as combining different types of art work on t shirts offers  exceptional way of decoration

Plant hangers

Plant hangers can also be made from old shirts. This sounds pretty for you especially if you love flowers around your compound. Twisting or braiding strands of cloths from used tees can lead to a great plant or flower hanger that you can use for your house.

Flip flops

You can also make use of your tees to make flip flops for your shoes especially slippers. This is one of the best footwear ideas that when used can help put old and unused sandals into use. This is done by braiding cotton strands to make a strap fixed on your sandals.


You can use them as rugs to wipe floors especially in the kitchen. Moreover, it is very convenient if you cut strips and sew them to make a rug. This offers better service than a plain tee.

You can also turn old tees into sleeping garments. Here you use them as sleepwear until they are in a form which cannot be used anymore.


In addition to the other methods, you can donate old t shirts. Anita Davis says that Rethreaded organization helps persons ‘sew a new story’ by selling things including those from tees.


below are more upcycling ideas and tips. Enjoy

Why upcycle old t shirts?

Generally, upcycling refers to use of material and maintaining its quality and composition. In simple terms this can be described as reusing a substance. Upcycling is a vital practice since it helps minimize the level of waste products as well as the urge to have new materials.

In fact, the whole process of upcycling contributes towards the achievement of the 17 international goals of comprehensive and sustainable development.

Additionally, reuse of t shirt helps in saving energy that probably was to be used in making new ones. This helps reduce water, energy, raw materials and labor used in the industries for the manufacture of new goods hence conservation of our resources.

Further, upcycling of t-shirts can help minimize the levels of poverty in the world. For instance, materials made from used t-shirts such as skirts and bags are of great contribution to the economy of the developing countries.

Moreover, you can also use old t-shirts to earn your living by selling them in the villages and areas with high population hence minimizing the level of poverty in our today’s lifestyle.

Besides, t-shirt upcycling will help clear the water ways in your region hence minimizing water pollution. Disposal of old t shirts will lead to water pollution as on decomposition, the effluent will be washed away into the rivers hence contaminating the water sources.

Additionally, this will indirectly contribute towards less greenhouse emissions. As a result of less production of new items, carbon dioxide emission to the environment will be diminished resulting into less climate changes and global warming.

T shirt upcycling will enable you save the huge amounts that can be used in buying new items. For instance, you can use an old shirt to make a scarf, necklace or even a mopping cloth. By doing so you will save amounts that were set purposely to purchase such items.

Is it possible to recycle old t shirts into new clothes?

Recycling refers to a process in which waste products are converted into new items by breaking them down to form another different substance of lower quality than the original item. Upcycling on the other hand, refers to use of the old products for another purpose.

Recycling tees is not possible simply because the makeup of the t shirt (fiber) is usually too weak to undergo the chemical decomposition to form softer fabric that can be used to make new clothes.

However, research findings show that 20% of the textiles in many industries in the US are usually recycled into other products such as the carpets and insulation for car seats.

Further, the research shows that 30% of this waste is used in the industries for purposes such as cleaning while only 5% goes into waste.

Most of the donated old t-shirts are normally sold as second-hand apparel.