Get Creative: 3 Ways to Repurpose Long Sleeve T-Shirts (and Why You Should)

If you are like most people, you probably have closets, dressers or storage totes that are filled with clothing that you no longer wear. Whether it’s promotional t-shirts that were given to you by various businesses or organizations, garments that are stained or have holes or just apparel items that you don’t particularly like anymore, there is a good chance that you have at least a few pieces of clothing lying around that you aren’t quite sure what to do with.

While clothing was once meant to last for several years, today, it’s common to replace garments nearly every season. Trends change quickly and the fast fashion industry has made it easy and affordable to update our wardrobes on an on-going basis. The downside to this, though, is that all of that unwanted clothing eventually has to go somewhere. Often, it ends up in landfills where it takes a long time to break down and can leach chemicals from dyes and fabric treatments into the environment. The fast fashion industry may be convenient, but it has also taken a serious toll on the world in which we live.

If you have old long sleeve t-shirts lying around and you aren’t sure what to do with them, don’t throw them in the trash. Instead, breathe new life into them by repurposing them. In doing so, you will be doing your part to keep your old clothing out of landfills. Plus, you’ll get to make something that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Keep reading to discover a few creative ways to repurpose long sleeve t-shirts.

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Why Repurposing Old Clothing Is Important


Before we dive into the specific ways in which you can repurpose your old t-shirts, it’s important to understand why recycling old clothing is so important. If you simply throw your old garments in the trash, it’s easy to forget about them. Once they are out of your home, though, they don’t just disappear. They are taken to landfills. And despite what many people seem to think, the space in these landfills is not infinite. Eventually, they will become full. Clothing takes a long time to break down, so a single garment can take up valuable space in an already overflowing landfill for decades.

Keep in mind, too, that as your clothing does break down, its components seep into the soil and water. The dyes and fabric treatments used during the manufacturing process make their way into the environment as garments deteriorate. Many synthetic fabrics are made of materials that are similar to plastic, and those plastic-like fibers can also make their way into waterways and cause problems to local wildlife.

Repurposing and recycling your old clothing is one of the best things that you can do to protect the environment. Fortunately, there are all sorts of creative ways to transform old long sleeve t-shirts, from The Adair Group, into something entirely new.

T-Shirt Belt

In just a few simple steps, you can transform your former favorite t-shirt into your new favorite belt. For this project, all you will need is an old t-shirt, two D-rings, scissors or a rotary cutter, a safety pin and a needle and thread. Start by cutting your t-shirt into four strips that are approximately 2.5 inches wide. Use a safety pin to fasten the four strips together–the braid. Using a four-strand braid instead of a three-strand one creates a belt that is both sturdy and stylish. Once you have reached the end, tie a knot. Sew both ends and then wrap one end around your D-rings and sew a few times to secure. That’s all there is to it!

Woven T-Shirt Pillow

If you have several t-shirts lying around that you would like to repurpose, making woven t-shirt pillows is a fun and functional project. All you need is a peg loom, some old t-shirts that have been cut into strips, masking tape and string. This project is great for kids, too, and it’s a fun way to learn the basic principles of weaving.


T-Shirt Tote

Don’t know how to sew? No problem! This no-sew t-shirt tote is a quick and easy project that will allow you to breathe new life into an old t-shirt. Aside from your t-shirt, the only supplies needed are a safety pin and scissors.

Start by cutting the sleeves off your tee. Then, cut a strip from the fabric you cut off. They should be about half an inch in width. Pull the ends of the strip to stretch it out and make the sides curl inward. Cut the neck out of the shirt to form the bag’s top opening. Cut a small slit in the bottom hem of the shirt. Next, attach a safety pin to one end of your fabric strip and feed it into the hole. Guide it all the way through and pull back out the same hole. Pull tight and tie a knot. It’s up to you whether to trim the ends or leave them dangling.



If you want to repurpose your old clothes, the projects listed above are just a few of the many options. You can paint your old shirts to create one-of-a-kind designs that are uniquely “you,” use them to make costumes and much, much more. There are all sorts of clothing upcycling hacks and tutorials online, so you should have no problem finding one that is perfectly suited to your skills and your interests. Repurposing your old long sleeve t-shirts is a great way to lower your environmental impact and make great use of things that are already lying around your house. Get creative and you are sure to come up with some awesome ways to reuse your old clothing.