8 Ideas to Recycle a Men's Shirt and Give It a Second Life

Handbags, dresses, bows, wallets...There are countless ways to recycle a men's shirt. We'll tell you the best ideas here.
8 Ideas to Recycle a Men's Shirt and Give It a Second Life

Written by Jonatan Menguez

Last update: 30 May, 2023

There’s usually no shortage of popular garments like shirts in people’s closets. However, there are many circumstances that make them unusable for their main function, whether it be because the size is too small or because they’re very worn. But with the following ideas to recycle a men’s shirt, it’s possible to give these garments a new life.

Removing stains, sewing potential holes, or placing patches aren’t the only ways to give men’s shirts a new life. With slight modifications, shirts can have numerous functions. Thanks to their design and quality, some can be used to adorn cushions, store money, or transformed into other useful garments.

Why recycle a men’s shirt?

Many men’s shirts are made of quality materials that never go out of style. The main reason for their disuse, in general, is wear and tear due to the passage of time. They can also generate tears or the fabric may stretch out.

In all these cases, it’s possible to turn to a series of ideas to recycle a man’s shirt. All you need are a few basic tools, such as scissors, needles, pins, and tweezers, to start working on this project. Some items, such as Oxford fabrics, have the advantage of being attractive enough to become decorations or be transformed into different accessories.

The best ideas to recycle a man’s shirt and give it a new life

Never rush to throw away or donate that shirt you no longer use. After a good wash, it’s possible to give it a second chance as an ornament for the home or as a different garment.

The thick white and colored threads that make up the dotted feel of the shirts can be transformed into bows, sleeves, aprons, and even wallets.

We think you may also like to read this article: Five Ideas to Decorate Your Living Room with Recycled Materials

1. Shrink it down

It’s likely that, with the frequency of use and washing, shirts will stretch out more than normal. However, this is not a reason to discard them. If the fabric is still in good shape, then the following method can be used to adjust them back to the ideal size.

First of all, you should put the shirt on inside out, in order to take the measurements from the wrong side. To do this, use some pins and insert them in the excess of the sleeves, bottom, and sides.

Once the marks have been made, mark them with a pencil or pen to have a clear reference before cutting. Following this line, remove the excess with scissors. To finish, close the shape of the shirt by knitting the edges by hand or with a sewing machine.

2  Shrinking it for women is one of the ideas to recycle a men’s shirt

There are different ways to transform that unused shirt into a women’s garment that will give it new life. If you have a shirt from a parent, parent, or sibling, with the following methods it is possible to shrink it and make it fashionable again:

  • With bobby pins. By adjusting the excess parts with bobby pins, it’s possible to reduce the size of the shirt. However, this only works if the garment is to be worn with something on top, as these pins are easily visible.
  • With a washing machine. Many shirts are usually made smaller by washing them in hot water. A washing machine program using temperatures of 80 or 90 degrees Celsius is sufficient.
  • With a tumble dryer. The dryer, by default, usually treats clothes with high temperatures, so it can be an effective way to reduce the size.
  • With knots. Tying your shirt in a front or side knot has been part of youth fashion for decades. Maybe that big shirt can be worn again with this simple method.
Lavadora caliente para achicar una camisa y reutilizarla.
High temperatures in the washing machine might help you shrink down old shirts.

Like this article? We think you may also like to read: Straight Jeans: What They Are and How to Combine Them

3. Baby Accessories

Some shirt designs look great as baby bibs. Simply cut out the center of it to shape it into a bandana, match it and remove the excess. For more precision, you can use a bandana mold as a reference.

In the same way, it’s possible to make bibs to prevent the little ones from staining their clothes. This is an ideal job on the sewing machine, although it can also be done by hand.

4. Create a wallet

This may seem impossible, but it’s very simple. The key to transform a man’s shirt into a wallet is to use the sleeves.

After cutting the sleeves, make some folds in them and apply stitches by hand or with a sewing machine. The sleeve has to be positioned in such a way that it generates a nook to hold bills.

5. Ideas to recycle a man’s shirt and turn it into different women’s garments

One more step in reusing shirts is to turn them into a new garment. There are different methods that can take advantage of the design that you liked so much of that fabric to give it new functions:

  • A top. This is a shorter feminine garment is widely used during the warmer months. Making it from a shirt is very simple: just cut the collar and sleeves.
  • A dress. Making a dress involves more complex work. First, you have to take a long-sleeved shirt and mark with pins the sleeve and wrist area. The purpose is to sew elastic to it, after turning the garment. The same action should be performed in the waist area, but with a thicker elastic.
  • A blouse. This is to reduce the garment by cutting the lower area, the neck, and the sleeves in half.
  • Balloon sleeves. This type of sleeve, also known as puffed sleeves, is still a trend and is easy to create. Just cut the sleeves off a men’s shirt and add some elastic to each sleeve.

6. Eyeglass cases

In addition to making wallets, sleeves can also be used to create eyeglass cases. The same shirt buttons are used to open and close the new accessory.

Something similar, although with some more precise cuts, can be done with cushions. In this way, the favorite designs are used to display again on the couch.

7. Use the shirt in the kitchen

Although it may seem that they have little relation, a shirt can end up in the kitchen in the form of an apron, cutting the total of the sleeves. Or in the form of placemats.

8. Other ideas for recycling a man’s shirt

Apart from clothing and cases, these garments can be derived into very unexpected objects and accessories:

  • Pet clothes. With a few light touches, it’s possible to keep your pets warm during the cold months with old men’s shirts.
  • A wallet. Requires more complex work, cutting the shirt and folding it to one side to get the cavity of a purse. Then, attach the grab handles.
  • A collar. By cutting the hard collar of men’s shirts and attaching a clasp in the middle, it’s possible to get a new thin collar.
Recycle a shirt
Before throwing away a shirt, it’s better to think of alternatives that will allow you to recycle it and give the shirt a new life.

Reusing and recycling are also ideas for recycling a men’s shirt

The shirt doesn’t even need to be transformed into a garment or accessory. If it’s still in good condition, it’s often possible to restore it, starting with a good wash.

If it has stains, try using some stain remover for several minutes beforehand. For potential tears, a patch can be sewn on top. If the sleeves are badly worn, you can even cut them off to make it a short-sleeved shirt.

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