Ten Ways to Upcycle Your T-Shirt – Part 1

If you have joined the What a Waste Facebook swap shop  (I blogged about this last week) you’d have seen that I asked for a bunch of tee-shirts for a blog project. I have decided to a mini series of upcycling tee-shirts in different ways, and this week is part one.

Today we are going to make a quick DIY tote bag; and see what we have left to work with!

So there are loads of tote bag DIYS floating about but I am going to break it down for you in 3 easy steps.


Old T-shirt

Fabric Scissors

Bag for size reference

Sewing Machine & Thread


Lay your chosen t-shirt out on a flat surface – and cut off the sleeves and around the neckline as shown below – Use one sleeve as the template to cut off the other one so you have an even shape – and cut one half of the neckline – and fold over to keep it symmetrical.

Using your chosen bag for reference – lay it on top of the t-shirt and decide how deep you want to make your tote – cut along the bottom in a straight line

Turn the t-shirt inside out and sew along the hem

Turn it the right way (does this make it 4 steps??!) and you are done! BOOM!

Now please put the rest of the t-shirt parts you didn’t use to one side and lets see what we have.


Now – what shall we do with the rest of the t-shirt? So we are left with the hem band, two sleeves and the neck… let me show you how to make a really cute turban headband with the hem strip!


For an adult’s head the strips (you need two) need to be 20-22in long; my hem measures just under 20in but the jersey is quite stretchy and I have a small head so it should be fine!

Cut the hem strip at the side seams – making two equal strips.

Lay them on top of each other – wrong side facing upwards; in a cross as shown below. Fold one end over so that the ends meet – and repeat on the other side

Bring all the raw edges together and sew!  Trim the corners at an angle to stop this edges peeking out when you wear it and ta-da – turbans away!

Next week I will walk you through making a half-moon pouch purse with the sleeves and I will think of something for the neckband! Stay Tuned!

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