Now your t-shirts really can suit you to a T!
September 1, 2008 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Like so many other people, you have a stack of old t-shirts you never wear. Perhaps you've gotten beyond wearing obscene slogans or Strawberry Shortcake logos. Or you feel it's time to retire that “Team Hillary” shirt. Or your favourite old shirt no longer fits over the impressive pecs/food hump you've acquired since high school. Or you've had it with MeFi and you want a way to repurpose/savage your MeFi blue t-shirt. No need to be at a loss! You might just settle for making a different style of t-shirt, but you can also use those t-shirts to make diapers for your baby, clothes for your toddler, or adult-sized undies, skirts or dresses. Or a bikini. Just beware of saggage. I mean, of the bikini, after it gets water-logged. You also might make tote bags or pillows, car seat covers, baby wipes, or dusters. If you get really ambitious, you can make a t-shirt quilt, taking inspiration from the many examples on the net. If I haven't given you enough ideas, you can turn to the ever authoritative and exhaustive AskMe, or you can do some further reading on the topic. Just don't get so carried away that you wind up having to go to work topless tomorrow. Unless, of course, your career path requires that anyway.
posted by orange swan (25 comments total) 82 users marked this as a favorite
This is awesome because I've lost 40kg in the past year so I've got about twenty shirts that just look like sacks on me.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:58 PM on September 1, 2008

You'll pry my two-sizes-too-large Swans Filth shirt from my cold, dead hands, however.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:00 PM on September 1, 2008

I don't see much on how to deep-six a pritned t-shirt message you now find embarassing, rather than cutting off the front and using the back as raw material for smaller items. I have a couple for which I love the color but am sick of explaining the picture to everyone (yes, I've bought from shirt.woot). Admin-designers, please hope me!
posted by wendell at 5:09 PM on September 1, 2008

These make me wish I had a sewing machine.
posted by Forktine at 5:11 PM on September 1, 2008

My old t-shirts go to the true Valhalla of old loved clothing: cleaning dirty chain grease and road scum out of the underbits of a motorcycle. Short of nappies, I can't think of a more terrible or useful end to a garment.
Let's all have a minute to remember all of the fallen t-shirts.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:16 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sacrilege! My "I spent last night at Your Mother's (Mt Clemens, MI)" shirt will never go out of style!
posted by JaredSeth at 5:17 PM on September 1, 2008

Fantastic post! Thanks for gathering all these ideas in one place together. You may have just inspired me to get out the sewing machine (which has been shoved up the back of a cupboard for over a year ... I think I remember how to use it ...)
posted by Megami at 5:31 PM on September 1, 2008

You know what might make an interesting project? A t-shirt exchange. Somebody needs to take that idea an expand upon it dramatically, and make it better, but always remember that the core concept was mine. Ta.
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:38 PM on September 1, 2008


I'm a big t-shirt cutter-upper (see profile), and I was pretty dang disappointed with T-Shirt Nation, so this will be a fun resource for me.

Presently I have a collection of several tees I mean to make into a one-sleeve shift tunic, with alternating stripes from each shirt forming a starburst design emanating from the sleeveless side's waistline. The fragmented text and logos pleases me.

Working with tees is a great way to learn to sew, because it's awfully forgiving and you don't have to hem everything. But for those of you who don't have a sewing machine? GET ONE! A cheap one's fine! Best $100 you can spend, imo.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:53 PM on September 1, 2008

But, *sniff* I discovered long ago that T-shirts that fit me but I no longer wear are not big enough to be undies for me. BADONK.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:54 PM on September 1, 2008

Wow. I can't decide whether to make a lacy camisole or bikini top out of my braille t-shirt. The underwear thing it too cool! I've got tshirts in my 'sewing pile' because they were going to be pillows or a quilt, but I like the undies better.

Great post, thanks!
posted by lysdexic at 6:28 PM on September 1, 2008

So all the free T-Shirts I got at Microsoft during my years contracting there might actually have a use? Then again, who wants to wear a V-Chat bikini?
posted by maxwelton at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2008

Well, with the underwear option (there's a boxer pattern) now you can truly say 'kiss my ass, M$!'
posted by lysdexic at 6:46 PM on September 1, 2008

(T-Shirt Nation? I meant Generation T.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:58 PM on September 1, 2008

These make me wish I had a sewing machine. -Forktine

These make me wish I wore t-shirts with stuff printed on them.
posted by porpoise at 7:51 PM on September 1, 2008

/congratulations turgid dahlia.
posted by nickyskye at 8:13 PM on September 1, 2008

My sister-in-law took lots of old t-shirts and made an awesome quilt out of them. She cut the relevant sections from the t-shirt that had the graphics on them and used them as quilt squares. It came out really nifty and was a neat way to save all those nostalgic band, school, and vacation t-shirts without leaving them languishing in the bottom dresser drawer.
posted by chiababe at 8:28 PM on September 1, 2008

I just turned a whole bunch of cool artsy shirts that don't fit any more into wall art - bought stretcher bars from an art supply store, cut out the part of the shirt with the design, stretched and staplegunned it together. Cheap, easy, fast, and I don't have to give up having the images around, just because the physical shirt's now the wrong size.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:29 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could always send it to Haiti.
posted by rokusan at 2:30 AM on September 2, 2008

the livejournal community t-shirt surgery is a great way to inject some self-doubt into an otherwise crafty life. they wield scissors like samurai.
posted by soma lkzx at 5:20 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is great--I have too many T-shirts as it is... wait, there's a MeFi shirt?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:24 AM on September 2, 2008

I've actually been toying with the quilt idea for a while -- I did a lot of theater in an era when the answer to "what do we do for the cast and crew for a thank you gift?" was "do up a t-shirt". I may dig them all out and see how many I have, and either make up a commemorative throw or a bunch of throw pillows (depending on how many I have).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on September 2, 2008

I was going to mention rug hooking, but then I realized that the metafilter post where I learned about it was also an Orange Swan original. Although I am much saddened to see that the lovely rug made out of recycled kimonos is now only available in the print edition of rug hooking magazine. Some of Ms.Fumio Hachisuka's other work is viewable online at her website, but it doesn't appear to be updated very often.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:49 PM on September 2, 2008

I dyed a bunch of old white t-shirts dark red, cut them into strips, sewed the strips together, then knitted the strips into a satchel. Very labor intensive, but I ended up with a useful item that I love, so it was worth it.

I started making a t-shirt quilt for my bed, but lost interest. The cat now has a cool t-shirt quilt.
posted by medeine at 8:55 PM on September 2, 2008

> Or [maybe] you want a way to repurpose/savage your MeFi blue t-shirt

I already have a catalogue of ways to savage my MeFi shirt.
posted by anatinus at 11:10 PM on September 3, 2008

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