Repurpose · Sewing

Repurpose a t-shirt

This project started with an XXL commercial t-shirt that I acquired. I loved the color of the fabric (a heathered red, cool-toned jersey material).  I thought it would be fun to reuse the commercial shirt for fabric and sew it into a new shirt for myself.

The body of the commercial t-shirt was a tube (there were not side seams along the sides of the shirt).


I started out by cutting off the sleeves and the neck binding of the commercial t-shirt.  I folded the front and the back of the fabric in half and laid my coordinating pattern pieces along the two folds.

I decided also to reuse the existing commercial seams in the bottom of the shirt and along the edges of the sleeves. I have a coverstitch sewing machine but the thought of not having to finish the edges of this shirt was very appealing to me.

The pattern that I used for this project is a combination of the “V all that you can V” tee and the “Crewneck tee” from the book, Built by Wendy Home Stretch (page 118 and 107, respectively).  I combined the two patterns and tweaked them a bit (as I tend to do with most patterns that I’m not pattern testing).  I’ll share a review of these two patterns (and how I combined both together) in a separate post.


Before I start a sewing pattern I tend to trace out the pattern on to tracing paper first.  When I cut out the sleeves, I didn’t cut along the bottom edge of the pattern.  Instead I extended the underarm seams to the edge of the existing fabric.  For the neckline binding I used fabric from this same red shirt as well.


I was very happy with the end result. The fabric is very comfortable and the shade of red is one that I can wear with my skin tone.  I’ve been on a kick lately to sew t-shirts with a ballet style ruching at the neckline.

If you haven’t tried repurposing a commercial garment before, I highly recommend that you give it a try! If you find that your body size warrants a larger commercial t-shirt then mentioned above, you can repurpose two commercial shirts together that are the same colored fabric.  You could also repurpose two commercial t-shirts with contrasting fabrics.  The sleeves could be a different color then the body or you could come up with other contrasting variations with fun different toned fabrics.

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