Recent Upcycled projects

I haven’t been doing very much blogging, or writing for that matter, but I have managed to do a couple upcycling or refashioning projects.

I love the idea of converting something used for one purpose into something for another.  A long sleeve T-shirt into a tank top or a pair of jeans into a purse or a men’s shirt into a sundress. The hardest part for me is cutting. I’m always afraid I will cut something wrong and it won’t fit and then I won’t have enough fabric less to try something else.

Here are a couple projects that were mostly successful.

ruffle neck top

This was a long sleeve, crew neck t-shirt. The shirt itself was fine, except the sleeves were about an inch too short and drove me nuts. With this reconstruction, I cut out the neck and cut off the sleeves. I used strips from the sleeves to make the ruffled neckline. I also tapered the side seams just a bit.

This came out quite well and it now one of my favorite shirts, despite having to fend off three sets of fingers from pushing things on my sewing machine’s touch screen.

Print shirt refashion

The second shirt I did was from a three-quarter length sleeve tunic. The fabric is a very light cotton and I loved the print, but the shirt was an XL and I am not. This one took a lot of debating. The shirt was on and off the dummy several times.

Finally I decided to use a pattern, so I wouldn’t end up with something that didn’t fit at all. So I cut away and ended up with a really cute shirt.

Then I wore it. There isn’t enough weight in the shirt to keep it on my shoulders. So after a morning of pulling it back on a hundred times, I safety pinned the shoulders to my bra strap. Later sewed little ribbons and snaps at the shoulders to fit around my bra straps and keep the shirt on. Once it stays in place, it is the perfect thing for the 90 degree days we’ve been having.

This shirt is another of my favorites. It also was a long sleeve, stretched out T-shirt. I saw a project on Pinterest and thought this would be the perfect shirt to try it on. The shirt was so bad that if I messed it up, I wasn’t losing anything. So I cut off the neck and cut slits around the remaining neckline to weave together. The first attempt was awful. I cut the slits longer and that worked better. It even partially fixed the twisted shape of the shirt. (Where I got the idea.)

Blue shirt reconstructionThen I tried the technique on the sleeve and really like how that came out.

Unfortunately, when I finished, I found I had been a little exuberant with the rotary cutter and cut a half-inch slit in the middle of the back.

Luckily my sewing machine has an embroidery function and I was able to embroider over the hole. I put a matching design on the lower front. close up of embroidery

I am currently trying to make a nightgown from a pattern that my mother used. It has been a disaster. The pattern said easy and there were only two pieces. I figured it would only take me a couple hours to complete.

Somehow the neckline came out a step away from a stranglehold. I cut it off, planning to add new straps and some ruffles. At the moment it has the problem of being too small and too big, for me at least, at the same time.

I have it pinned to my dressmaker’s dummy with straps that tie around your neck and a sash. It could be a cute sundress, but it wouldn’t be something I would wear. At least it’s not terrible ugly and I have four more yards of fabric to try again.


  1. I love projects like this! My problem is deciding what to do next and then finding all the stuff I need to do it with. I’m amazed at how much you get done with three little ones around.


    1. I’m with you on trying to decide. I get so many ideas and such a limited time to tackle them. Theses t-shirts were so much fun though.


  2. You need to take before photos too!


  3. You suggested this really well!


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