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Readers Respond: What Do You Do With Old Race T-Shirts?

Responses: 26


Updated November 18, 2008

Are you ready to part with the mountain of old charity walk or race t-shirts that are cluttering up your closets? Tell us about your creative solutions to put those t-shirts to good use or preserve the memories of those events.

Photos of Memory Quilts and Crafts: Send photos to walking@aboutguide.com

T-shirt Quilt

I am in the process of making a lap quilt of the front section of my t-shirts. It's really easy to achieve. First, the t-shirts need to be stabilized with Wonder Under ironed directly on the back of the shirt. Wonder Under can be found at any craft/fabric store. Then, let your creative placement of the printed t-shirts take place and sew them together. It makes a nice memory quilt and also serves as a motivation tool.
—Guest Terrie Celentano

Take and Photo and Donate the Shirt

I suggest pinning the t-shirts on a neutral background and taking a photograph of them which can be enlarged on any size you wish including a wall size image. The, I would donate the clean T Shirts to a charity. In this way you can have your memories as well as support a good cause.
—Guest richard karberg

Tees into Pillows

I cover pillow forms with tees. Turn the tee inside out, sew side edges inside sleeve area and below neck edges, leaving the bottom open. Trim away the excess. Turn right side out and insert pillow form. Cut away extra material if the tee is very long. Fold hem under and stitch closed. I like these pillows because they can be tossed in the wash and have the comfort of the tee shirt material.

No Waste

I made a T-shirt quilt out of my husband's old fraternity t-shirts. I cut the extra material into 10.5 inch squares, rags, and scraps. The squares I am using to make another blanket, the rags help me save on paper towels, and the scraps I am going to use as stuffing to make a pillow. So no waste! You could also cut them into strips to make a rag rug.
—Guest Jennifer

T-shirts into Bags

My friend Deb got creative and has a winter hobby of turning t-shirts into bags! Brilliant! http://www.tbagsbydeb.etsy.com Great for groceries, trips to the library, shopping...better than recycling, RE-USE!
—Guest Anijka

Headscarves for Chemo Patients

You can donate your clean and unused race t-shirts to us, and we make Bal-Danna (tm) scarves out of them to be donated to patients going through chemotherapy. A cotton race tee is a perfect way to gently cover a tender head that has lost hair as a side effect of chemo treatments. Color t-shirts are left alone; white t-shirts are tie-dyed or fabric painted. Visit us at www.chicagolandheadhuggers.org for more information!
—Guest Chicagoland Head Huggers

Framed T-shirts as Wall Art

I travel a lot for work. Instead of "airport" souvenirs I buy the kids Harley T-Shirts from the places I have been. When they are to small or worn, torn...we cut out the picture from the front and back and put it on their walls. Cut a square/circle and frame it now their wall is covered in the pictures and places I have been. For myself, I have postcards for all the places or I write my name and the boys names in the sand and frame with shells glued to the outside of the frame.
—Guest Alex

Rag Rugs

I use them to make rugs...They are cut into strips and woven on an old antique loom. I'd love to get your unwanted t-shirts. Thanks!! John yatescojohn@yahoo.com
—Guest John O'

altered Ts

There are a few cool books full of ideas for cut and altered t-shirt fashions. Check your library.


1. The race quilt is a great idea. If you don't sew, there are companies that will make your quilt for you. 2. The LDS church as a rag pile for clothes that are donated but are stained/ripped or otherwise unusable. I'm sure others do too. 3. I haven't gotten to this point yet, but I'm hoping too :)
—Guest Bella Mariposa

2 Ideas for Old Race T-shirts

1. Esp.for shirts that aren't suitable for donations: Cut out the printed portion of the t-shirts and stitch them together making a small quilt backed with soft flannel. 2. Take PHOTOS of the shirts that hold nice memories for you - in our digital age - you need not even have hard copies unless you want them. Then DONATE the actual shirts to an orgnization such as our local soup kitchen that does NOT charge people in need for clothing.
—Guest Karen T - Oceanside


Use them as polishing cloths or to wash cars, floors tc
—Guest Missy337

T-shirt Quilt

I have a friend whose wife took all of his T shirts and made a wonderful memory quilt out of them. Now when he wants to see them he just covers up and snuggles in.
—Guest MARTY


Pick 12 to 16 of your favorite shirts and make a t-shirt quilt. Some local quilt stores may have names of local quilters if you do not have a quilter in the family.
—Guest Cheri

Old tee shirts

I use the largest ones to sleep in. Before donating, I suggest putting on the sentimental ones and taking a picture of you wearing it--pictures take up much less space. Your own kids or relatives might enjoy them too.
—Guest Mary Fulton

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