Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion using Elbe Textile's free Carine T-shirt pattern

Upcycling a cast-off T-shirt

Here’s the ‘before’ picture: just one of my husband’s tees that was no longer useful as-is because the armpits were all crusted up with deodorant after a couple of years of wearing this regularly. Otherwise the material was in ‘very good used condition’, as they say, and I like the geeky audio-theme motifs on the front. My husband is a sound designer and I’m a professor of sound media, so it’s appropriate that we both get to wear this garment during its lifetime.

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt up-cycle "before"

Enter the free Carine T-shirt pattern from Elbe Textiles. It’s a cropped tee with a curved hemline, and it was really fast to print out and tape together. This might be the quickest finished object I’ve ever sewn, given how fast preparing the pattern was.

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion using Elbe Textile's free Carine T-shirt pattern

I was able to place both the front and the back pattern pieces on the existing front and back of the old t-shirt, while still avoiding the ruined areas around the armpits.

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion using Elbe Textile's free Carine T-shirt pattern

One trick with refashioning anything is to try to use as many of the original finished details as possible (for example, existing hems, button plackets, pockets, etc.). In this case I couldn’t use the original bottom hem or the collar, but I was able to cut the sleeve pieces to incorporate the original sleeve hem as shown below.

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion - How to use the existing sleeve hem for the new sleeve

I like the updated look, and I’m glad to have been able to use an existing pattern rather than just kinda hacking away at the old t-shirt until I had something better. (I’m pretty bad at recognizing when it’s time to stop hacking before something turns into a giant disaster.)

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion using Elbe Textile's free Carine T-shirt pattern

Also happy to have given this garment a few extra years of life, rather than sending it to recycling, or worse, to landfill.

Frivolous at Last - T-shirt refashion using Elbe Textile's free Carine T-shirt pattern

I have a bag full of about a dozen old large T-shirts in my stash, waiting to be up-cycled. Alex of Sewrendipity recently shared a list of refashioning and up-cycling resources, including this link that has lots of T-shirt hacking inspiration: https://www.pinterest.com/wobisobi/wobisobi-tee-shirt-diy/

And I’ve also had great luck using Dave’s old Tees to make these really cute tank tops.

Do you do anything to up-cycle old tees? Any ideas or inspiration to share?

Thanks for stopping by!

–Lori

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Upcycling a cast-off T-shirt

  1. You’ve really pointed one of all our weaknesses which is hanging onto things for “sentimental” reasons – a slippery slope when pondering a move 🙂 But in refashioning, repurposing an item, it will make more sense to keep and use it longer. Inspiring post which just had to be shared!

    Liked by 1 person

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