A Fashion Makeover: 15 Cool Ways to Upcycle Old T-Shirts

We’re always on the lookout for creative ways that we can upcycle and reuse old t-shirts so we don’t end up throwing them our unnecessarily. We fully admit that sometimes this really just means altering them and putting them right back in our wardrobe but hey, at least we switched things up and gave them a new lease on life, right?

Just in case you’re as intrigued by the idea of upcycling old t-shirts as we were, if not more, check out these 15 awesomely creative ideas and designs that will give you all kinds of alternatives to throwing things away!

1. Multi-patterned fabric applique shirt

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Is the main problem happening in the t-shirt department in your closet right now actually just an over abundance of plain shirts that could use a little more personality? In that case, it sounds like you’ve got almost everything you need to make this awesome fabric applique t-shirt! Particularly if you’re a sewing enthusiast who has lots of fabric scraps lying around, this is a great opportunity to get rid of small bits of material no matter their pattern, since wild visual texture is the whole goal. See what we mean on DIY Mode.

2. Scrunched tank top with tying straps

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In your spring cleaning process have you come across a t-shirt that you love the logo or front design of but the neck is stretched out or the sleeves are too tight and you just know you won’t wear it as-is anymore, even though you don’t like the idea of throwing it out? In that case, we’d suggest taking a look at how Andrea’s Notebook made scrunchy tank tops out of simple t-shirts using only scraps from the old shirt itself!

3. Baby pinafore dress

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What if you’ve decided for sure that you know you won’t wear a particular shirt again but you still think someone in your family looks good in that colour, even though it’s far too big for them? Well, that’s how people come up with creative things like this tutorial from Mom Mart for making an adorable baby dress from a bright adult sized t-shirt! Check out how they made a cute crossing pinafore step by step.

4. T-shirt to infinity scarf

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Were you pretty intrigued by the idea of saving the logo or design on the front of a t-shirt but you’re just not sure you’ll wear a tank top in the style we showed you above? Perhaps you’ve been a little bit pressed for time lately so you’re just not sure that you want to take on a lengthy alternations project. Instead, we’d urge you to consider making this insanely simple infinity scarf idea from Fashion Foot instead! They show you precisely where to make the right cuts.

5. Fringed and dip-dyed beach tank

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Have you long been a huge fan of the worn, visibly DIY style beach shirts that you see online all the time, but you didn’t think you had the spare clothing laying around to make it happen until you started your spring cleaning? Well, you’re lucky that you found that old top at the perfect time of year for making the fun tank top you’ve had your eye on for so long! This tutorial from Home Sweet Road shows you how to not only dip dye it so it’s perfectly faded for a sunny day by the water, but also how to cut perfectly sized fringe for maximum Boho beach chic.

6. Side braided workout tank

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This might sound silly, but we play favourites hard when it comes to which tops we’ll work out in. Just because we have one that we like best, however, doesn’t mean we aren’t open to the idea of changing it up a little to make it look more interesting or appealing! We actually thought the way So Much to Make added a bit of cute visual detail (and, honestly, a little bit of cool-down ventilation) by making cuts down the sides and tying them in knots was very creative and appealing indeed.

7. Simple tote bag

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We’ve been really big on eliminating plastic bags in our lives lately, so reusable tote bags are an absolute saviour whenever we’re out shopping! We find, however, that they just keep getting more and more expensive in stores the more people catch on to how useful they are. That’s why we were so crazy about the idea of making our own! Joy’s Life guides you through the surprisingly simple process of making them from old t-shirts so you really make an awesome impact on your waste production!

8. Two t-shirts into a pretty child’s nightgown

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Did we really catch your attention with the idea for turning an adult’s shirt into a little kid’s dress because the finished product was so darn cute but you’re just not sure you like the cross over style of the DIY dress we showed you earlier on our list? In that case, perhaps you’d prefer to take a look at this cute, vintage inspired kid’s nightgown instead! Over the Apple Tree guides you through the process of making it from two plain white adult t-shirts, but you could use the same idea for any colour you please.

9. Ucycled t-shirt baby bibs

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Are you still totally enamoured with the idea of saving t-shirt logos in creative ways but we just haven’t quite found the tutorial or design that’s going to hold onto your attention just yet? In that case, we present to you a super funny alternative that’s great for people with lots of t-shirts to get rid of because you can always use as many of these as possible: baby bibs! Find out how these ones were made in just a few simple steps on Domesblissity.

10. Twisted back tank top

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Are you still thinking about how much you like the idea of making yourself a creative “new” workout tank top from your old t-shirts because you like that it will feel like you’re motivating yourself with new goodies, but you won’t actually be spending money on anything new? Well, just in case you’d like more than one design for your different old shirts, here’s another alternative for you! We can’t get over how adorable we find this twisted racer back idea from Shirts.com.

11. T-shirt to baby romper

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Just in case you’re still feeling totally enamoured with the idea of turning your old shirts in DIY baby clothes, here’s an idea that’s so simple and comfy that our kids practically lived in these when they were little. Heather Handmade guides you step by step through the process of transforming an adult t-shirt into a comfy little baby onesie that will give your child something cute to wear on lounge days.

12. Patched together t-shirt dress

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Are you the kind of spring cleaner who tackles the closets of all your family members at the same time as you tackle your own? In that case, here’s an awesome project that will let you use bits and pieces from any t-shirt of any size, no matter whose closet it came from, to create an adorable kids’ garment that’ll look as good as new! Check out this tutorial from I Am Momma to learn how a cute horizontal patchwork dress can be made in just a few simple steps.

13. Braided t-shirt strip rug

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If you’ve never tried making the classic braided rug project that you’ll find countless DIY tutorials for online, then we’re sorry to tell you that you’re missing out! This is one of those projects that we’ll hoard supplies in anticipation of until we have enough and then get the whole family in on making so we can proudly display it in our home knowing we worked on it all together. Check out how My Poppet saved their old shirts, cutting them into long strips to be braided together for a rug that can be sewn together in a number of different shapes.

14. DIY peplum from oversized t-shirt

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Have you ever found a t-shirt with a logo or band you like on it at a thrift store but been immediately disappointed to realize that it was about four sizes bigger than you needed? Well, thanks to this adorable DIY peplum tutorial from Boat People Vintage, that’s actually the perfect shirt for you to snag! Take a look at their tutorial to see how they used the bottom half of the shirt to make a cute flare after tailoring the top half to fit just right.

15. T-shirt to teddy bear

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We’ve always utterly adored making cute DIY toys out of upcycled garments. There’s just something so vintage inspired and kitschy about them, and we like that knowing you made it yourself really shows your loved ones how much care went into the process of creating a nice gift just for them! These completely adorable t-shirt teddy bears with hand stitched features that are outlined on Conexion Sud are the perfect example of what we mean.

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