In my journey to continue reducing the amount of waste my family produces, I’ve been trying to make as many zero-waste decisions as possible. While cleaning out my closet, I found two t-shirts that were too sad and tired to be given away. Since we already have an abundance of rags, I saved these t-shirts until I came up with a good way to upcycle them. And I finally did a couple of weeks ago! I turned 2 old t-shirts into a pretty, cozy and reversible DIY cowl!
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This t-shirt upcycle is a great way to breathe new life into tired clothing. This would be an awesome way to re-use a graphic tee, or something that’s too sentimental to part with! In my case, it was simply a matter of trying to avoid sending them to the landfill.
You should also check out this post of 20 more ideas for repurposing old t-shirts.
As I wrote this post I realized there were easier ways I could have make the cowl, but oh well. Embrace the imperfections, right?! 😀
How to make a DIY Cowl
Start by cutting rectangles out of the body of the t-shirt. I cut out as large a rectangle as I could while avoiding any grubby sections. I used my Olfa rotary cutter to square them up and cut out the rectangles from the second t-shirt in the same size.
(Just ignore the interfacing I added to edges, I was planning to embroider the cowl before I decided to crochet a trim instead.)
Sew down the short sides of the rectangles to create tubes.
Put the tubes right sides together and sew all along ONE edge. Flip it and press the seam flat.
Now things get awkward. lol. I had to sew it incorrectly and rip it out once before I got it right.
So with the wrong sides still together, fold in the seam allowance and pin. This serves as a guide so you know how to pin and sew the rest of it.
Now flip it back out so it’s right sides together as much as possible. Pin around the edge and sew around as much as you can, leaving a gap of a couple of inches.
It will look like a big pile of twisted mess. But trust me, that’s how it should look!
Flip it right sides out and press the seam flat.
Hand stitch the gap closed with a ladder stitch.
Now if you are using graphic tees or something patterned, your DIY cowl could be done! Since my t-shirts are very plain I opted to add a crocheted trim to the edges.
I used a DK weight yarn that I had in my stash.
The first step is to use a big darning needle to stitch a row of blanket stitch around the top and bottom edges. Make your stitches about 1/4″ apart.
I decided to use a cream colour on one edge and a dusty pink on the other.
Now we add a row of single crochet. One stitch per blanket stitch.
Now we make it pretty with a scallop!
*Skip 1 stitch, 4 DC, Sk 1, Slip 1* repeat all the way around.
It’s so pretty! And reversible!
If you’re interested in more zero-waste projects, check these out: