Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Upcycle an old t-shirt into a cute shrug

I love the NPR shows “This American Life” and “Radio Lab.” If you haven’t listened to them you are missing out on some of the greatest journalism and human interest stories. But anyway, a few times a year they do fund raising and solicit donations before their show. And while I don’t do fund raising, I’m not to proud to do my own soliciting [insert shameless begging to “follow” our blog, and to “like” us on Facebook and to convince others to do the same].

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

If you remember from my Mother’s Day post (here) I hate the word supple. I also hate the word moist and I despise when people say “expecially” when they mean especially, and “saltsa” when they mean salsa. But a new word that I really love is….UPCYCLE. It’s like recycle, but you’re making something even better out of it…and if I say, “I upcycle” people might actually think I exercise.

So when I found this tutorial (here) about how to make a cute shrug out of an old t-shirt, I was excited to UPCYLE. This was a great idea and I decided to  add a little more somethin’ somethin’ to this tutorial.

You will need:
An old t-shirt
Thread to match (or contrast)
Sewing machine
Safety Pin

First, cut your shirt up the middle of the side you want to be the front (if you have a graphic on the front, you might want that in the back so flip the shirt over and you the blank side as the front)
Then cut out the neck. I like to leave it in one piece because I’m going make a headband out of it later.

Then round out the corners. I cut one side and then used the scrap piece to guide me cutting the other side so it was even.

Then fold the edge over about an inch and pin to form a casing.

Sew the casing.

Then sew a basting stitch on the ribbon (I used the length of the casing on the shirt plus 2/3 more).
Gather the ribbon by pulling on the bottom thread. Now pin ribbon so that the basting stitch lines up with the casing stitch. Then sew.

Take your safety pin and attach it to the ribbon and string through the casing.

 And put on your shrug...or ask your very shy daughter to model it...

Just in case you don't want to do that whole ribbon thing, I did a simple one....

There you have it. That's how you make a t-shirt into a shrug. We just upcycled together...twice! Whew…I love those kind of workouts, when you don’t have to sweat and it doesn’t hurt. “Expecially” when you have something cute to show for it!
(Writing that word twice in my blog is part of my word aversion therapy!)


  1. Noreen, I love you! I find myself printing up all your ideas and I have good intentions of making them. What I want to know is how you find time to do all these crafty things with your schedule. Gonna go upcycle something...

  2. ooooooooo i'm going to go cut all my stained old tees up!! Brilliant find!

  3. I was surfing net and fortunately came across this site and found very interesting stuff here. Its really fun to read. I enjoyed a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. cute tees