Clothing Upcycle

Ever heard of upcycling?  Upcycling is turning things you may otherwise throw away into new and usable items.  I took some inspiration from my sister-in-law Jennifer who made 4 fabulous dresses for our sweet little girl out of  ribbed tank-tops and some fabric.  Jen embellished this one with a neat applique (she's great with accessories) that just made the sweetest little simple dress. 

Precious, right?  Here is a tutorial for these sweet types of dresses if you're interested in making something like this with better explanations than I could ever provide.

Well, I thought I'd use the shirt I wore tonight and match it with some fabric I have had in my stash for well over a year to create a dress to wear around the house.  The shirt I am speaking of is actually the shirt I am wearing in the profile picture for this blog, and it has been a favorite of mine for the 7 years I have had it.  Yes, 7 years.  The shirt has seen better days--it's severely faded and was sporting a rather large hole on the bottom in front.  It was time to retire the shirt I had loved so dearly.  Inspiration struck in the form of cherry-printed fabric!

Here are the ingredients:

You'll need one old t-shirt and some fabric--enough to cover up your lower body.  I included piping in this photo thinking I'd use it but turns out it was more trouble than I cared for so I quickly nixed that idea.  I used two pieces of fabric that were 36" wide x 22" long.  (In hindsight, I would have used pieces that were not so wide, but I was flying by the seat of my pants--err, dress.  The 36 inches of fabric was a lot to gather, and well, it makes my hips look twice as wide as they actually are...  "Hindsight" is 20/20, and man, you should catch a peek of my hind side in this dress!) 

You'll want to cut your shirt to the place that you want your fabric to start (keeping in mind the 1/4" seam allowance).  I cut four inches off of my shirt, removing the unsightly hole.

Keep that 4" scrap for other crafts, like this headband.  And yes, Ma, that is your Olfa mat and cutter.  Holler if ya need 'em!

(Oh, and look at the inside of this shirt.  I am reminded that the outside of this black shirt would not have been nearly so faded had I taken the extra time to turn it inside out before laundering.  Where was that hint from Heloise when I needed it?   Lesson learned!)

Sew your fabric together, right sides in and iron the seams.  Then gather the skirt, and pin the shirt in and sew---and voila!

A beautiful dress!  Great for gardening and around the house activities.  I am sure Ralph Lauren would not approve of the way I have disgraced his shirt, but hey, it's not in the trash--so there!


  1. You are hilarious. I've made dresses similar to this and ALWAYS thought they made my hips look huge (of course you know what I was starting with) but you're right, they're great for around the house. Adorable. Great work!

  2. This is a GREAT idea! I have so many shirts that I don't wear anymore, either because I am tired of it or I can't find anything to wear with it. As soon as my folks bring my sewing machine down from storage, I am putting this idea to good use!

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