Recycle Your Husband's Old T Shirts



My husband, has what we can only refer to as, a t-shirt collection. From the reasonable to the ridiculous, he has collected and worn it. The quippy phrases boggle the mind "Squirrel, it's what's for dinner", "Looking for groupies", etc, etc. There are so many that I can barely close the dresser drawer, it takes the jaws of life just to put the laundry away. Behold...

Husband's Recycled T-shirt

One shirt at a time, I am slowly reducing the collection to the oldest and most tattered, not fit for recycling. Anyway, if this works on your man, then hopefully this tutorial below will be helpful.


  • Really cool old t-shirt
  • Thread
  • 1/4" to 1/2" elastic
  • safety pin
  • 1 cute child to wear pants!

Husband's Recycled T-shirt

We begin with one of Dad's treasured gems: the hookah caterpillar Grateful Dead shirt

Husband's Recycled T-Shirt

This one has 2 great images on it that I want to capture in Rowan's pants. You can fold your t-shirt to incorporate the images like I did here.

Recycled Husband's T-Shirt

Once you have your fold right, take a pair of your kiddos pants, fold them in half and lay the straight side on the fold. This is your pattern. Next you are going to cut around the pants just like you were tracing the outline on a piece of paper. Remember to include a seam allowance when you cut. About half an inch would be good.

Husband's Recycled T-shirt

Here we have cut our pieces for our kids' pants.

Husband T-shirt

Notice I was able to capture both of the super cool images! Also notice that when I laid out the pants I used as the pattern, I made sure that the bottom of the pattern pants lined up with the bottom of the t-shirt. That way I already have a finished hem on the bottom of my pants when they are done, and I save myself the extra hemming step.

Husband T-shirt

Now I place my pattern pieces right sides together and pin in place.

Husband T-shirt

The black lines show you where you will be sewing. Don't sew past this point on either side.

Husband T-shirt

Once you sew them up, re-orient the pants by grabbing the top of the sewed portion and pulling open the pants. This part was not intuitive for me, just keep messing with them until they appear. Once they are re-oriented they will look like the pants above.

Husband T-shirt

Now line up the crotch seams, pin, and sew the legs together.

Husband T-shirt

Next roll hem the waistband. Fold, then fold again and pin in place.

Husband T-shirt

Sew the hem on the waist band leaving a small opening. This is where you will thread your elastic through.

Husband T-shirt

Choose whatever size you prefer, or have on hand. This project is about recycling, so I pieced together some scrap pieces of elastic and used the 3/4 inch size.

Put a safety pin in the end of your elastic and thread it through the small opening you left in the waistband.

Husband T-shirt

Husband T-shirt

Once it is threaded all the way through, make sure there are no twists in your elastic and sew the two ends together using a zig-zag stitch.

Husband T-shirt

Sew the waistband opening closed.

Husband T-shirt

Tada! A super cool pair of grateful dead pants for Rowan, one less t-shirt to stuff into the drawer for Mommy, and one sexy man in a Dad sort of way.

Husband T-shirt

Here they are on Daddy's little deadhead...

Husband T-shirt


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Reviews More Reviews

Apr 17, 2012

How about some recycling for dress or other men's shirts? My father died recently. He wasn't much of a tee-shirt wearer (I found a good home for his undershirts with a nonprofit that helps families after fires), but I do have some of his former work shirts. Any good recycling ideas for them? I have donated some of them to a summer arts program to use as coverups for kids. Thought it would be nice to remember Dad with some crafting that I or my sister could wear. These are sizes L to XL; arm lengths work as is as we're all short in my family (my sister's the family amazon at 5'4"). Thanks.


Aug 6, 2011

Very cool idea. I have that many "old" t-shirts as well and several grand kids running around. So I gues they will all be getting some "new" pants. LOL Thanks for the inspiration. Lil Leprechaun


26 Ratings

Jun 19, 2011

ingenious! you did a super recycling job. Love to recycle things. Any More ideas? Phyl P


May 16, 2011

HI! I recycle my husband's Tee's by making them my baby's bib. The neckhole fits her small head and the full shirt covers not only the chest but her lap and arms as well. Works really well for us :-)


May 15, 2011

Before folding over your waist band make 2 buttenholes in the front, cut before sewing down waistband. Take a 32"shoestring. Cut in half and join with about 6" elastic, thread and you have a tie in front to one size fit the pants


Jan 20, 2011

nnniiiiiccccce! Great PJ's


Oct 31, 2010

Finally a way to re-use the tee's we no longer wear!!


Jul 15, 2010

This is awesome. I think some of my son's old shirts are going to become pants for my niece. And I have a couple old nightshirts for myself that might become lounge pants, even. Very cool idea!


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