Tshirt Upcycling

I have a t-shirt problem.

I have an entire drawer devoted to t-shirts that I can’t bear to part with. It’s not that they are particularly comfortable, flattering or soft. It’s that each shirt is emblazoned with a memory or experience that I SWEAR will be lost in the black hole of my memory if I were to give it to Goodwill. 

Let’s examine the embarrassing evidence: 


Not only do I have my own college and high school t-shirts, I also collect high school t-shirts as an adult. Also they don’t tell you about this in teaching school… but every year you will spend at least $100 dollars supporting your students by buying cookie dough, over-priced grocery bags and t-shirts that say that you adopted a JV basketball player.

The next four randomly selected t-shirts:


Top left: In college we made t-shirts for our Navlympics. This is the one some of friends made for me complete with a Golden Gate Bridge to taunt my SoCal roots.
Top right: Every Silicon Valley Girl has to rep her favorite startup!
Bottom left: When I saw Jeremy Lin play at Madison Square Garden and saw this t-shirt for sale, I just HAD TO HAVE IT. (We share the same Chinese character for our last name)
Bottom right: Camp t-shirts GALORE. Please excuse the sorta creepy theme. It makes sense if you read Matthew chapter 4. I am not saying come follow me. JESUS is saying come follow me.

(Once I realized I’d have to refold every t-shirt I laid on the floor to photograph, I stopped at eight but trust me when I say that there are dozens more.)

I know that t-shirts are great for sleeping and working out but realized I don’t like sleeping with sleeves (I am the friend who is always complaining that it is TOO HOT). In terms of work out clothes, once discovered the glories of Lululemon, I have a hard time reaching for a tshirt when I can grab a tank/sportsbra/sweat-wicking/performance enhancing all-in-one top! Everyone has their favorite gear that they keep reaching for. Sorry clothes, it’s just the way it is. I have favorites.

I started trolling around Pinterest to see what useful thing I could do with my t-shirts that would excuse me from giving them away.

First I was tempted by this:



But then I remembered two very important facts:

  1. I already have five “TV” throws/blankets.
  2. I struggle with sewing straight.

Then my eyes saw this:

Holy batman. Functional, cute AND free??

This is the tutorial I followed. Here’s my version:

1. Cut the t-shirt.


2.  Sew the rounded end. I used a zig-zag stitch because I heard it’s stronger. Notice how forgiving this project is because you don’t need to sew straight.  



3. You can flip it inside out or not.  Start cutting slits into your bag. This is when you thank yourself for spending the extra $2 bucks and buying a rotary cutter. 


4. Stretch and pull the bag.


It’s really hard to take selfies while pulling both ends of a bag.

5. Donezo! I brought these bags to NY and they were great for as a laundry bag, shoe bag or a back up shopping bag.Image


2 thoughts on “Tshirt Upcycling

  1. OK, apparently I’m on a Summer Candy commenting spree, but HEY THAT T-SHIRT QUILT IS FROM THOMAS’S HOMETOWN. Hendersonville, TN. And love the UT shirts in it. And…great idea! T-shirts are a real issue at our house, too.

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