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Tutorial Tuesday: Shirt to Scarf, Headband, and Bowtie

April 6, 2010

I’ve been holding on to this anchor-print shirt for just about forever, but since it’s made of polyester and I’m not a big fan of the feel of polyester clothing, it’s just been languishing in my closet. Recently I decided to try to sell it, but that’s when I noticed that my cats had damaged it by climbing around in my closet. They have been known to use my clothing as ladders to get on top of the clothes rack. Terrible creatures. Since it was already damaged I felt I had free reign to cut it up and harvest the fabric, but I tried to stay true to the Native American spirit of using every part of the buffalo. Turns out you can make a lot of things from one shirt. Here are just a few.

Shirt to cut up
Sewing machine

1. Lay your shirt flat front-down and measure the length and across the back at the narrowest point. This will determine the size of your scarf. My shirt was 18 inches at the narrowest point, meaning that my scarf was going to be 18 by 18 inches square. You probably don’t want yours much smaller than this.

2. Cut your shirt apart at the side and collar seams so you just have the back piece. Cut out your 18 by 18 inch square. Remove any terrible cats who repeatedly jump on top of your project.

3. Hem the edges of your square. Here’s a trick for doing the hemming: use your sewing machine guide to sew 1/4″ from the edges all the way around the square, then fold on that sewn line and iron. Fold again, encasing the raw edge, iron flat, and sew down your hem. It saves you from having to measure your hem.


1. You should still have a couple of sleeves from your shirt, right? Cut one apart from the rest of the shirt leftovers.

2. Cut off the shirt cuff and measure the width of your shirt sleeve. Divide this by 4.

3. Cut your shirt sleeve at the seam, then cut it into 4 strips of equal width. Cut them to equal lengths.

4. Sew 2 strips short ends together. Repeat with the other 2 strips. Iron the seams open.

5. Right sides together, sew the 2 long strips together along the long edge and one of the short edges. Leave one short edge open and turn the tubes right-side-out.

6. Iron flat and topstitch on the edges. Fold in the short end of the tube that you left open, iron, and topstitch it closed.

The last thing I made from my shirt was a bowtie, using my previous tutorial. I modified it a little and used a bit of striped ribbon for the center.

Probably best not to wear them all together….

This is my revenge for the shirt damage (though I think it was probably the other cat), and for refusing to get off of my ironing board. I lost track of the number of times I removed her, only to have her jump right back up.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 9:46 pm

    Oh – I love your tutorial! The pieces turned out great (and I would def. wear them together!;-)

    So chic!

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