Saturday, February 13, 2010

Its Easy Being Green Episode 13: Crafting with T-shirts

The episode of "Its Easy Being Green" that airs tonight is about crafting with t-shirts. There are several things that you can make out of an old t-shirt. You might recall one of the first episodes was about quilting. I had showed how to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden style quilt out of t-shirts. Here is the blog link about it, and here is part one of the 3 part video from the show. There are other t-shirt quilts out there as well. Because t-shirts are so stretchy, you might want to starch them or use a template before piecing them together.

Next I showed how to make tarn or t-shirt yarn. You can see this how to on a past blog post. Here is a set of blogs posts that I have made about making and using tarn. You can also check out Cindy's blog at for other tarn projects. She gives patterns for different things including a baby bib and items for your kitchen. Here is also a google image search for t-shirt yarn. Here is a list of tarn projects on ravelry.

The next item shown on this episode was how to make a reusable shopping bag / an easy tote bag out of a t-shirt. You might have seen this on the Martha Stewart show. You cut off the sleeves and the collar of the shirt. Turn it inside out and sew the bottom closed. Turn it right sides out and now you have a bag. Where the sleeves were are now the handles.

After that I showed how to make 5 bags out of 1 t-shirt. You can see my blog post on this here. You can also see a video how to at Fake Plastic Fish's blog. These bags are perfect for your produce instead of those plastic produce bags. The sleeve bags are good for carrying money, jewelry, and snacks in. The drawstring bags made from the bottom half of the shirt are also good for toys, gifts, and craft projects.

I was only able to explain how to make a lined tote bag out of a t-shirt on the show. Here is the step by step on how to make it.

Here is the tote bag that I made from a Friendly's work shirt. You used the bottom of the shirt for the top of the bag, because it already has a finished edge. You cut it from arm pit to arm pit and use the bottom half for the bag. Turn it inside out and sew the cut edges together, then sew the corners so that the bag lays flat when filled. For the handles I braided the bottom seams of several shirts together, then just sewed them on.

There are several books out there on different things to make out of a t-shirt. I own "Save This Shirt: Cut It. Stitch It. Wear It Now!" by Hannah Rogge. You can also visit the ravelry group Trash to Treasure's t-shirt thread for other ideas. One item that I found really cute was making a ruffled skirt out of a few old t-shirts. You could also make a t-shirt shrug, add some lace to the shirt's neck line, and much much more. Many people also use really old shirts as rags for cleaning their home and car.

One of my favorite resources for how tos on re purposing your t-shirts is Thread Banger. They also have a you tube channel and a vid-cast / podcast. I subscribe to both.

Also if you are looking for some fun and unique t-shirts to wear, checkout Threadless. I am wearing one of their shirts in this episode.

This episode of my show will be on my you tube channel in 2 weeks. The link for my you tube channel, textiles4you, is in the upper right hand side of my blog.


  1. Wow what a comprehensive post with lots of green crafting links and project ideas. Outstanding! I hope you submit this to my friend's all things eco carnival for next week. This is a really great resource for recycled crafters. Thanks for the mention and link to my recycled t-shirt yarn projects. I stumbled the post too so hopefully this gets the attention of others who may be just discovering the joys of green crafting.

  2. Thanks Cindy. I need to remember to submit stuff to the blog carnival more often.

  3. Such a great idea! Thank you, Kristy!

  4. Thanks River. I like your jewelry.

  5. I saw in a catalog where someone made a scarf out of old t- shirts. I've been wanting to try that with some t-shirts I saved from my high school days.

  6. Thats my next t-shirt project. Disney from ruffles n stuff (blog) made a really cute t-shirt scarf out of cut squares. She over lapped the squares in a diamond shape then sewed down the center of them. I really like how it drapes. Also threadbanger has a video on how to make a different kind of t-shirt scarf.