Upcycled Mash-Up Tee Shirt (and more)
Aug 1st, 2017 by Wendy

I don’t know why I woke up with the idea to make another of my upcycled mash-up tee shirts, especially because it has been so hot here, but I did.

I’d love to be able to design my own clothes, but I can’t. Using existing clothes and patterns is something I can do. If you aren’t already doing something like this, you might want to try it! Here are photos of my latest long sleeved shirt finished yesterday, and more photos, because once I got started on this topic, I couldn’t quit!

I made this ages ago with Vogue #8497 by Marcy Tilton pattern, a knit dress I made in the early 90’s, and a thrift store XXL tee shirt (plus the hems of another tee shirt).  I had an idea to adapt it to make my long sleeve mash-up tee shirt.

ZZ shirtLR







I tested the concept of using a purchased 1 yard knit strip (50% off!) and a thrift store knit turtleneck. I liked the combination!

proof of conceptLR







I adapted the Vogue pattern by overlapping the zigzag pattern pieces to make a one piece front and back. The short sleeve is part of the pattern fronts and backs. It seemed likely I could just cut off the sleeves of the turtleneck and attach to the ends of the short sleeves. Game on!

Cooper the Cat was sure he could help me layout the patterns. One yard was barely enough, but like Tim Gunn says, I made it work! (Okay, I had to eliminate the side placket of the pattern- see what I did instead later.)

pattern layoutLR







I scrounged around for another tee shirt to steal the neck ribbing. I found one of my old but not worn out gray tee shirts and amputated the neck ribbing, leaving enough for the seam allowance. It’s strange to me how flexible neck ribbing is- it has always worked just fine!

attaching neck ribbingLR

finished neck ribbingLR







Next I added the bottom of the thrift store tee to the bottom of my shirt fronts and backs. When you cut off the bottom of ready made tee shirts, they are already hemmed and ready to go! I’ve noticed that people often include their feet in their Instagram photos- Cooper says paws are cute too!

bottom bandLR







I removed the sleeves at the seams, so I could figure out how to cut the edge. First, I tested how it would work. Then I trimmed the “dropped shoulder” end of the sleeves and sewed them right sides together to my growing tee shirt (sewed the side seams first). I used solid black fabric to make the placket for the “high-low” side seams. All good! But I can’t wear it for a few months….

finished 1LR

finished 2LR

detail BLR







I’ve had mostly successes with my upcycled mash-up shirts. (I never photographed my one failure.) Here I am with Janie Vangool from Uppercase Magazine at Spring Quilt Market 2016 with my upcycled mash-up shirt, using purchased striped yardage and thrift store tees AND Vogue #8877 (Very Easy Very Vogue) pattern.


Janie, WendyLR

Vogue 8877LR







This is probably my all time favorite shirt- made with 4 thrift store men’s shirts. Is started with the black shirt, because it fit me the best. Then I kept swapping “body parts” and sometimes using them in the “wrong” places. The red checked sleeves came with the button tab feature. Like I said, I can’t create my own patterns, but I can play with thrift store clothing!

Short Sleeve OptionLR

Back Shirt 2015LR







I even made an upcycled mash-up quilt for the kitties using worn Smart Wool and other fancy socks. The feet had holes, but the “legs” were fine. I flattened out the legs and stitched them to batting to make the quilt top & back (one piece). I stuffed the quilt with an inner pillow made from the hole-y sock soles. Now that’s using up all the parts!








This is my most recent upcycled mash-up tee shirt, using 8 of my favorite old but not too worn tee shirts. When I finished it, it was way too big for me, but I found a way to take out 8″ in the width. It’s fun – but loud – to wear.

8 Tee upcycle FrontLR

8 Tee upcycle BackLR







I’ll end with this photo- showing me around age 16 with my first upcycled mash-up clothing- a raincoat using bread wrappers. I flat-felled the seams so it truly was waterproof. In the side by side photo, I’m wearing an upcycled tee shirt under the linen overshirt, around age 63-64. It’s crazy fun to think I’ve lived a creative life since a young girl!







*Thanks Judith Q. Garnett of Portland for mashing-up these two photos for me! @judithquinngarnett and blackdogdesignpdx.com

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