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Note that this post will be a bit lengthy and loaded with photos.

One of my ways of saving some monies is to recycle our t-shirts for my dolly family.  (^_~)

Let me try to share on how I do so for my SD17-sized boys: Mikado and Tetsu.  You can get my pattern for loose-fit SD17 T-shirt here.  Please ignore my untidy scribbles and hairy lines as it is hand-drawn.  (*^_^*)

This is a very basic pattern.  You would need to adjust the neckline depending on your design.  You see the pattern I have posted won’t go through your boy from legs up.  You would need to cut the neckline wider and deeper or you may want to consider opening it with zip or eyelets etc.

recycling t-shirt step 1Step 1: Fold your material into halves, pin the pattern pieces in place and cut out the parts with seam allowance.  Two parts for the body and two parts for the sleeves.  The alignment of the pieces should be vertically parallel to the t-shirt’s fabric grainline.

recycling t-shirt step 2Step 2: If you are making one with zip opening as I did here, then cut the desired length along the centre of the front body piece.

recycling t-shirt step 3Step 3: Pin the zip against the slip and sew around the zip.

recycling t-shirt step 4Step 4: Sew the shoulders together.  Then fold the seam allowance for the neckline and sew along.  You can use zig-zag stitch or other stitches as part of your design if you want.

recycling t-shirt step 5Step 5: When joining the sleeve to the armhole, I find it easier to sew with the sleeve on top of the body piece.  Sometimes, you might need to adjust the fit of the pieces as you sew along.  But it’s fine since the material is stretchable.

recycling t-shirt step 6Step 6: Fold the t-shirt with the right sides facing in and pin the sleeve and side together.  Sew along the arrow markings as shown.  Do so for both sides.  Then finish off by sewing up the seam allowance for the bottom of the t-shirt.

recycling t-shirt step 7Step 7: Viola!  The t-shirt is done.  The one on the right is based on the same pattern but I used eyelet opening (I haven’t strung the eyelets yet) and I cut the sleeves long.


And here are my two models.  As you can see, Mikado’s orange t-shirt is cut with a wider neckline so that he can wear it from legs up without having to take off his head.  Tetsu’s blue t-shirt is done with a placket opening like polo-t style.  You can also mix and match the colours.


Well, if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.  \(^_^)/  Meantime, enjoy sewing!