Upcycled Kids’ T-Shirts

I’ve been coming up with all sorts of things to do to avoid working on my bra pattern. My latest project was upcycled t-shirts for my kids.

My husband came home with a stack of old men’s work t-shirts someone had brought into his office. For some reason he thought I would use the fabric to make something 🙂

I used rub-off patterns to make the shirts, since I’m usually happier with the fit of kids’ clothes when I go that route rather than using commercial patterns.

I fiddled with my finicky serger and actually got it to work for this project, using ideas from the book The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide: Troubleshooting for Any Overlock Brand or Model. I highly recommend this book for everyone with a serger. There was one suggestion from this book that didn’t work for me, though – they suggested using larger needles to prevent skipped stitches, but I found smaller needles did the trick. I finally ended up using a size 10 Schmetz universal needle for the right needle and a size 12 ELx705 overlock needle on the left, even though those special needles are not recommended for my machine.

I used rolled hems on the long sleeve t-shirts, and when I went to switch the foot back to the normal position I stripped out the screw that holds the stitch finger in place. Figures. It is always something with this machine. I used craft glue to glue the stitch finger into the normal position, so I guess there will be no more rolled hems for a while. I am so looking forward to the day when I have the money saved up for a new serger.
Upcycled kids shirts 2

Posted in Sewing
3 comments on “Upcycled Kids’ T-Shirts
  1. Good idea to use the shirts for the kids. I always agonized over how fast mine grew and I almost couldn’t keep up! This is a quick idea!


  2. John Yingling says:

    How about a home sewn coverstitch hem? Serge the raw edge, turn at 3/4″, and topstitch with a twin needle directly above the serving threads. It looks very factory, and has the stretch needed at the hem.


    • Leila says:

      I’ve tried double needle hems (usually without serging first because I couldn’t get my cheap serger to go through a single layer of knit), and I’ve had trouble with the straight stitches popping, especially on kids’ clothes. They stretch their clothes out in crazy ways! Now that I’ve got my serger working better, I can get it to serge a single layer of knit if I use some wash away stabilizer, so I plan to test out different threads and tensions to see if I can make a double needle hem that won’t pop.


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