Children’s Clothing Series: Upcycled Boy’s Tee

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Boy's Tee Shirt

By repurposing two of dad’s old tees you can make a trendy t-shirt for a child, and what little boy wouldn’t LOVE to wear his dad’s clothes!?

With Earth Day falling in April, I felt it was important to create an Earth-friendly project for my latest New Year’s Resolution challenge - to create one item of children’s clothing each month during 2013.

I grabbed two of my husband’s old t-shirts that were misshapen through regular washing and wearing, my favorite child’s tee pattern - I am using the Raglan Tee pattern from the book Sewing for Boys and my favorite Fiskars orange handled scissors.



Re-using old t-shirts is not only Earth-friendly, is also saves you time. You can avoid having to hem the bottom edge as well as the sleeves of your new tee if you line up your pattern correctly.

Start by salvaging the front and back of the first tee you are going to use as the main body of your child’s tee. I cut up the side seam and along the underarm sleeve, on both sides. For ease, you can also remove the sleeves.

Opening tee


Next, fold the front piece in half and pin on your front pattern piece. Be sure to reuse the bottom hem that is already finished on the tee as it will save you from having to hem it yourself! Repeat for the back piece and cut them both out.


Cutting front pattern


Take the second tee that you are using for the sleeves and lay flat on your cutting table. Pin on the sleeve pattern piece to the front and again, line up the pattern so that you can reuse the hem that is already sewn. Cut out your sleeves.

Cutting sleeves


You will also be able to salvage enough fabric from either tee to cut a neckband if your pattern requires it.  Now, follow your pattern directions and sew up your tee. The pattern I am using is a cute raglan sleeve pattern. It is quick to sew up and the finished garment is adorable! I recommend using a ballpoint needle on your sewing machine which is great for working with jersey knits.

Sewing the tee


If your sewing machine does not have a ‘stretch fabric’ setting, you may want to sew your tee up with a loose zig zag stitch instead of a straight stitch. Test your stitches on a piece of scrap fabric beforehand.


Sewing side seams


Because you are not having to sew hems, you will be able to sew up the tee in record time!

Sewing neckline


Not only is this project quick and easy, there is a huge sense of satisfaction when you’re able to repurpose old garments and make them into something brand new and wonderful! Minimal impact, low cost and big smiles!!


Finished Tee 2


Supply List

2 tees suitable for re-purposing
Your favorite t-shirt pattern
Sewing machine