Rescue Those Old Tshirts!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Give your old T-shirts a new life!

-by Sarah Bankoff

Clothing and cloth in general is one of the most recyclable, and reusable products there is. If you’re anything like me, you have piles of clothes that you don’t wear anymore but can’t quite bring yourself to get rid of.

Clothing should NEVER be thrown out, no matter how stained, ripped or ragged it is, there are always alternative uses for it. If the item in question is still good to wear, but just out of style or too big or too small, get creative!

My favorite way to remake old t-shirts is to turn them into tank tops! (Men’s shirts, old concert tees, or that fabulous vintage tee that’s too big to wear but too awesome to get rid of work best for this.)

To do this, turn the shirt inside out. Cut the sleeves off on the inside edge of the hem (save them to wear as sleeve headbands!), and cut the bottom edge of the shirt off, about two inches from the bottom to form a fabric loop. Cut this loop to make two long strips of fabric.

Now, measure about an inch (from the tip of your finger to your first knuckle) from the side of the shirt, and cut up the side of the shirt all the way to the armhole, making sure to keep the cut even. (If the shirt is really big, cut away more of the fabric until its as form fitting as you’d like.) Do this on both sides. You should end up with an open sided apron-looking thing, attached at the top by the neckband. Put this on, and decide how large you want your armholes to be.

Mark the spot where you want the shirt to close under your arms on both sides with a pencil or chalk. Lay the shirt back on the floor, fold it over and make sure your marks on both sides are even.

Then, take your scissors and start to make little slits in the fabric (make sure you make holes in both sides, so you can lace it up!) a few centimeters in from the edge, starting at your markings and moving down the outside edge of the shirt, keeping them about 1 to 2 inches apart. (You can also do this with a grommet punch if you have one lying around).

Once you have all your holes made, take the fabric strips you made by cutting off the bottom edge, and use them to lace up the sides of the shirt, one to each side. Start at the top, right under the armhole, and pull the strip through until the ends are even with each other. Cross them over, and lace up the sides, ending at the bottom hole with a knot.  Alternatively, you could use ribbons, shoelaces, or contrasting fabric from another recycled item.

Then, put on your new fitted shirt and go show off your crafty DIY-ness!

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