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Wendy Bumgardner

The T-Shirt Mountain

By September 7, 2007

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If you've been walking at charity walks and run/walk events for a few years, you probably have the same problem I do. What to do with all of the event t-shirts?
  • Technical Fabric Shirts: These shirts made of Cool-Max, Dri-Fit or other sweat-wicking fabrics are what I wear walking, so they are welcome until the body odor builds up beyond all laundering techniques. How to Get Body Odor Out of Exercise Shirts
  • Cotton or Cotton/Poly Short Sleeved Shirts: These go to the charity bin unless I have a walking buddy who wants them. I don't wear cotton or cotton/poly shirts for walking or housework. Unless the event has sentimental value, I have no qualms about donating these to charity.
  • My Old Club Shirts: It is hard to just toss my Tough Trail Trompers shirts, although the club folded years ago and the shirts are cotton.
  • Special Event/Series Shirts: I now have a series of shirts from Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks and the Discovery Walk Festival. Those events have special sentimental value, and once in awhile I have the urge to "show the colors" and wear them.
  • Historic Shirts: I have a series of About.com shirts from the past 10 years, including shirts from the days when we were Mining Co. I also have shirts I created for my walking bulletin board group. I can't bear to part with any of those.
I've winnowed down the keepers/non-wearers to one box, which will go into the back of the closet, I guess. That's where most of them have been the past 10 years anyway.

Some walking friends have created t-shirt quilts or pillows of their sentimental t-shirts. I have difficulty with that idea as I don't know where I would use or display such a quilt or pillow. The same would be true of making shadow boxes, wall hanging, or other decor from the t-shirts.

What ideas do you have? Post them in the Comments.

Comments
September 13, 2007 at 8:26 am
(1) Rohnda says:

My brother runs marathons EVERYWHERE and is working on completing a marathon in every state. He is having his shirts made into a blanket with all 50 states.

September 13, 2007 at 8:28 am
(2) CJ Sgroi says:

Know any quilters? Have them make your tee’s into a quilt. It can be displayed or hung on a wall to remember special events.

September 13, 2007 at 8:28 am
(3) martha says:

We were told about a great idea, make your t-shirts into a quilt. We took the many t-shirts our children collected from sports, and cut the logo out and cut the rest of the shirts up for cleaning rags. We used a 8×11 inch paper as the template, this usually covers any important memory from the shirt. When there was enough squares to make a
queen size quilt we stitched them together and used it for one side of the quilt. We buy a queen flat sheet for the other side, and batting and tie the quilt. We use these for blankets on their beds, beneath the comforters. And each time you make the bed alot of memories come back.

September 13, 2007 at 9:45 am
(4) Rob says:

My wife suggested that I take the T shirts that I really like and create a quilt or wall hanging from them to highlight the graphics and empty my T shirt shelf.

September 13, 2007 at 9:47 am
(5) Jackie says:

My church uses T shirts to make diapers and sends them to the Honduras.

September 13, 2007 at 10:13 am
(6) Deb C says:

If you have enough shirts from one particular annual event, have them made into a quilt (1 tshirt square per year) and donate it to the organization to auction off as a fundraiser.

September 13, 2007 at 10:36 am
(7) Katharine says:

Making diapers for Honduras is a SUPER idea!! How can I get the template and contact information?

September 13, 2007 at 11:37 am
(8) Karen says:

You could make the pillows out of T-shirts and then donate them to a youth/senior walking group. Combine 4-6 t-shirts and make floor pillows for the younger set. I’ve seen chair covers made out of t-shirts and displayed in an exercise room.

September 13, 2007 at 11:46 am
(9) sue says:

The church had a collection for the nice-looking tees and sent them to our missionary for dispersal. Big hit!

September 13, 2007 at 12:11 pm
(10) Wendy B says:

Here are some patterns for sewing diapers from t-shirts or other cloth. Really, all you need is a 27″ square, hemmed with a serger, then folded. Or you can make pre-folded diapers.

Pre-folded diaper pattern

Flat-fold diaper pattern

September 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm
(11) WB says:

Diaper pattern:
Diaper Sewing Pattern

September 13, 2007 at 12:50 pm
(12) Jacque says:

I would think it would be cool to make a small blanket or quilt of tee’s for a certain cause (breast cancer, etc.) and give it to a person who is currently fighting that disease. It would be a concrete reminder of the ‘steps’ every day folks are making to work for a cure.

September 13, 2007 at 1:54 pm
(13) Joan says:

Back of the closet until the sentiment wears off and you can toss/donate them. I still have concert t shirts from 40 years ago. Some stood the test of time, some didn’t. Maybe, when they become my legacy to my kids, they will have some collectible value, or the kids can donate them. Until then, occaisional memory lane tours to backstage at a willy nelson concert or scapling tickets for the rolling stones is fun. Walking is an up and coming event occaision, like rock concerts of our youth. Build your collection.

September 13, 2007 at 3:43 pm
(14) Jenna says:

Tote bag! The neckline is naturally gathered, so your stuff isn’t “all out there”. The cut off sleeves make cute patch pockets for what you want/need to be handy. I use cotton or nylon webbing for straps (they don’t stretch). If the logo is small, make a hip bag with straps of pretty grosgrain or a braid from the body cut in a long spiral. Of course you’ll want to embellish, embellish, embellish!

September 14, 2007 at 10:46 pm
(15) gina says:

I am a competitive womens masters rower from Boston. I row nationally and internationally. I save all the tee shirts that are either sold or say “competitor”. I too am making a quilt when I am done rowing…whenever that will be. If I row a race each year, I save each year as the images on the tee shirts remind me of the specific races. My middle centerpiece will be the Head of Charles. That one I will earn on October 20, 2007 on the Charles River- the river I row on daily.

September 15, 2007 at 3:09 pm
(16) Scott says:

Lots of great ideas there! How about if you have some for toss-outs, using them for waxing your car. They’re great for buffing off the wax plus the workout is good for you too without over-working yourself. After a couple of waxes, or however often you wax your car, a friend of mine does at least once a WEEK, just toss the shirt out with a good use.

September 17, 2007 at 12:16 pm
(17) Wendy B says:

I put a bunch of event t-shirts into the “Free” box at my garage sale this weekend. A woman collected most of them to give away as Bingo prizes at the nursing home where she volunteers. People might want to check to see if these could be used by volunteer groups in this way. The nice thing is that they are unisex.

September 20, 2007 at 11:13 am
(18) Gail says:

How about a loomed rug? Seems appropriate that you could walk on something you walked for.

August 27, 2013 at 2:08 am
(19) Jackie B says:

I also didn’t think I would use or hang a T-shirt quilt so I finally decided to photograph my shirts and make a Poster and/or Canvas print. I thought this might appeal to others so we started a business. Check us out at http://www.digiteeze.com. We can digitally “repair” or “remove” stains; any kind of shirt or jacket can be used; we can add medals, bibs, etc. We have standard layouts and custom options. When done you can hang your poster or T-shirt print on your wall and then you get all of your stuff back so you can keep wearing your shirts if you want to or donate them to a worthy cause. Or if you decide to make a T-shirt quilt later, you can still do that!

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