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Re-purposing: Stained Tshirt into a Shrug



Oil and water don’t mix.

Either do oil and children.
I’m not sure what kind of greasy mess got on the front of my little girl’s rose-y colored shirt…..but it was something big.  And it ruined the shirt.  (Some colors hide grease stains well….but this shirt didn’t.  D a r n. )
So instead of throwing it away…….I turned it into a shrug.
Complete with a ruffled edge.
Perfect over a longer T-shirt.
And now I kind of wish I had one for me.  
(Time to look in my closet for stained shirts…)

Want to make your own?
I started with this cute little slightly puffed-sleeved shirt. 
(This was a dark drizzly day, awful for taking pictures, so you can’t even see the oil stains on the front.  I promise they’re there. Ha!)
I first cut off the bottom elastic and then cut the shirt bottom off, about 1.5 inches below the arm hole.  (You’ll have to decide if you want your shrug longer or shorter and cut the shirt accordingly.)
Then I cut off the neck seam and cut down the front of the shirt and rounded each side and corner to meet the bottom of the shirt. (Make sure to make each side even and symmetrical to the other side, so it looks balanced after the shirt is done.  If you need to cut one side and then fold it in half and line it up with the other side and then cut it, that may help…)
Then cut the bottom half of the shirt into strips.  How wide you make your strips depends on how long the shirt was originally.  But you’ll need to measure around the outer edge of your newly cut shrug and double the length to use as the measurement for your ruffle length.  For example, my shrug measured 45 inches around the entire outer edge (where the ruffles would go).  So I knew that I needed about a 90 inch long strip to make my ruffle.  You can use a little less or a little more….it just depends on how full you like the look of your ruffle. 
So I had enough fabric from the bottom of my shirt to piece together enough 2.5 inch wide strips, to make a 90 inch long strip.
Then I folded over one edge towards the inside, a 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch, and then sewed it in place.
Then I sewed the two ends of the long strip together with right sides together……making one continuous piece.  Then along the unsewn edge, I made a basting stitch a 1/4 inch away from the edge and left the ends long.
Then I gathered and evenly spread the fabric until it was the same length as the outer edge of the shrug.  And then I pinned the ruffle to the outer edge of the shrug, with right sides together.  (Need help with gathering?  Click here for more info.)
Then I sewed right along that outer edge, attaching the ruffle to the shrug, removing pins as I sewed.  I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then I made another seam about 1/8 of an inch away from the edge……just to help keep the ruffle secured in place.
Then press the seam open, pressing that raw edge away from the outer edge of the ruffle and towards the inside of the shrug.
Then top-stitch all the way around the inside edge of that new seam, about an 1/8 of an inch away from the  seam.  (I actually increased the length of my stitch length, to help keep the knit from stretching as I was sewing.)  And as you’re sewing, make sure to catch the raw edges that are underneath, that you pressed over in that direction.
(**If you’d like, you can attach a ribbon to each inside seam, so that the shrug can be tied closed.  Just an option.)
And that’s it.
A new ruffly shrug. 
Perfect with a skirt. 
Darling with cropped pants or capri’s.
Nice and light for the summer.

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  6. SheShi says:

    wowww….so amazing….I love this idea very much…thanks for sharing

  7. mutuelle dentaire 500 says:

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  8. M Digby says:

    Adorably clever! I see this post is from a couple years ago but I still can’t wait to make this…thanks!

  9. Katrina Marie says:

    I LOVE ruffled shrugs on little girls, so CUTE! I’ll be making some of these too, but for teaching purposes on my Kids Sewing DVDs. Creatively, Katrina Marie

  10. kalai says:

    Love your projects…Really u make a great wardrobe from used clothing…hats off…have tried a few and going to try more..thanks and luv ..

  11. Brenda Rhodes says:

    I love this shrug. A great way to save an otherwise ruined shirt. I did want to tell you of this stain cleaner I have discovered. Years ago my husband used it as a hand cleaner, but now some dollar stores have it in the detergent aisle. It is called M 30 Stain Remover. It is in a round tub about as big around as a saucer. This stuff is fantastic. I have even had it take an oil stain out of my husband khaki shorts that were washed and dried, spot untreated. Put some on the spot, let it sit for about 15 mins, scrub alittle big with you knuckles and wash as you normally would. Spot gone! I have done this many times and haven’t had a fail yet! Best thing is this tub is less than $2.00!! It even took pink bubble gum out of my grand daughters white cotton lace dress-first time. It is made my Martin Labortories. I don’t know how this had stayed quiet all these years. (I still would have made tihe shrug because it is too cute!)

  12. J. says:

    I will love you forever! My girls’ recently-purchased Easter dresses needed shrugs and I couldn’t find the right color. I bought two long-sleeved t-shirts, brought them home with the intent to find a way to make them into shrugs, and came across your tutorial! I’ve finished one and it turned out great (I’ll blog about it at some point) and am working on the second.

    What I really want to know, though, is how you are so genius/magical that cutting three strips off the bottom of the shirt, then making the ruffle from that, seems to come out to be a perfect length.

  13. Amanda Mc. says:

    Thank you for this…. I will be adding one of these to my own wardrobe. I was also just thinking the other day, my niece needs a shrug to go with her birthday dres….again…thanks!

  14. MariaandMore says:

    Adorable! I think my girls need one each! And, in case you ever have another greasy stain they are EASY to get out. All you need is a little WD-40 (spray on the stain) and then rub some Dawn dishwashing liquid into the WD-40. Let sit a few minutes and then launder as normal. According to Linda Cobb, the “Queen of Clean” the WD-40 “re-activates” the grease and the Dawn takes it away. I do this ALL the time and it works like magic. It has also worked with the other dishwashing liquids I’ve tried.

  15. yolanda says:

    I just love your website. You are so creative and inspiring! I love your ideas, AND I WANTED TO ASK YOU’RE DAUGHTER IS SO CUTE AND I NOTICE THAT SHE HAS A BEAUTIFUL HAIR, CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT DO YOU PUT ON HER HAIR???


  16. chitchy says:

    You know what? I really wish I were your daughter!

  17. Pam says:

    This is absolutely adorable and so do-able. Hope you don’t mind, but I’m pinning this to do in the future.

  18. Desiree says:

    I am featuring your EXTRAORDINARY idea tomorrow on my blog… Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. Linda N says:

    I just love your website. You are so creative and inspiring! I love your ideas.

  20. Suzy says:

    This is so cute! I want to make one for myself.

  21. Trina Christensen says:

    Love this idea! You are very talented.

  22. Debi M says:

    So cute, I wish my girls were little again so I could make such cute things for them

  23. Kristan says:

    Hi Ashley, thanks so much for posting this! I saw it on Pinterest today and immediately knew what I was doing with the orange long sleeve tee that has been on my closet floor for a month (because it too had an oil stain!). Your post inspired me to just do something with it already, and I’m happy to report that I now have a super cute mommy-sized shrug all ready for fall. Thank you again!

  24. Sab says:

    Very nice and clever!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    I see a lot of comments about using Dawn liquid dish detergent to remove oil stains, and they're right. Dawn is commonly used to bathe wildlife that are rescued after an oil spill because it removes oil so well. Good for ducks, and good for our laundry!

  26. Andrew and Crystal says:

    Oh, huge grr. I tried this out on a WAY too stretchy tee shirt and totally killed the ruffle. It was meant for myself and I wanted it a little longer, but the shirt was too short and therefore the ruffle bits would've been way too small. So sad!!!! Now I'll be turning the remaining shirt into flower petals or something. It's pretty bad. But, never fear! I'm going to try again.

  27. shelley says:

    Wow, this is FABULOUS!! One of the best repurposing projects I have ever seen. I just discovered your blog, I'm so impressed with all you have done. Can't wait to dig deeper – you have so many tutorials I'm almost drooling. Thanks for sharing – I know from experience how much time and effort it takes to post tutorials. And I'm going to join all the other ladies in saying that I want to try this shrug for myself too!

  28. Heather says:

    late comment! I saw this post last summer and put it in my "to do" folder…I finally came back to it and posted about your creativity!


  29. Melissa says:

    Love the ruffle shrug, my oldest daughter would love that in a dark army green for her school wardrobe this coming school year.

    Here's a tip if you have oil/grease food stains where I can get about 3/4 of my stains out this way…use dawn dish soap on the oil stain! Most stains come out but a few don't. Of course that means less cute recreations on your part but does save on replacing those favorite clothes my children love.

  30. Ashley says:

    Mine was more of an oily stain, so after it was all ruffled, you couldn't even see the stain. Hope that helps!


  31. יעקב says:

    This might seem a silly question but- how did you make the ruffle if the bottom part of the shirt was all stained? I have my shirt already to cut but I'm thinking the ruffle part will be all stained, no? What to do?

  32. Super Hero Mom says:

    This is so cute! LOL Not sure if I'm quite brave enough to make it yet, I'm still learning, and haven't made any ruffles yet. But my daughter has plenty of shirts I can use to do this with!

  33. יעקב says:

    Wow. This one blew me away. SO creative! (and it was posted on my bday!) Can't wait to try. I finally got a sewing machine for by bday and I have to figure out how it works. Any ideas for altering/repurposing my old tops for little girls? (btw, the name says yakov in hebrew, my dh. my name is Michal)

  34. Beth says:

    I know I am a little slow on making this comment but I love this. I actually made a cute white one last year. I noticed they were selling one like this at Limited too for 18.50! Outrageous right? So I looked at it and thought, I could make this, so I went home and made it. I also added some bedazzle beads, which was a HORRIBLE idea. My daughter pulled at the beads and made a big ol' hole.

  35. Megan says:
    This is the link to the one I made. Thanks for the idea! You saved me $$$ by showing me how to make my own, thanks.

  36. Goldibug says:

    What a fantastic idea! I need to go to the second hand store and find a top with cinched sleeves for me LOL! The shrug turned out so much cuter then the original shirt! I love it! Can you tell? Hahaha!

  37. Shawn and Tasha says:

    I love all your ideas!! Sheesh…makes me wish I had a girl…some day, some day.:)

    1. Joy Smith says:

      3 boys of yours must be a handful!

  38. Katie Miller says:

    I love this idea! So stinkin fun! I am so in love with Ruffles lately! I have an etsy shop full of ruffles! Go check it out!

  39. Sarah says:

    I made one for myself, and it turned out great! I had to add a neck bias band because the edges showed, and continued it on to tie in the front, and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for this!

  40. L2L says:

    I love it, love it love it!!! I've been wanting to make something just like this for my little princess to wear to church over her spaghetti strap dresses, but its so hot here in okinawa, this is the perfect solution!!!!! Got to add this to my To Do list!!!!!

  41. Laura Beth says:

    I absolutely love this idea! My two girls have accidentally ruined so many shirts on taco or pizza night. Now I can turn them into some awesome. Thanks!

  42. jennifer says:

    Ok, I loved this so much I tried to make one for myself! It of course did not turn out as well, but I blogged about it on my site!

    (I gave a link back to you for the credit of the idea, so hope you are ok with this!)

  43. barneyn says:

    soo cute! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! thanks!

  44. Melissa says:

    Oh I absolutely LOVE this! Thanks so much for sharing this cool idea. Hope you don't mind but I shared it on my blog… linked ya up!

  45. Anzouya says:

    What an amazing idea! I want to try it ASAP!

  46. Krystin says:

    I made one lastnight and am wearing it to work today :)

  47. Bri says:

    I can't wait to make one! Thanks

  48. Michelle says:

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definately have to include this in my Friday Finds post!


  49. ♥Cari♥ says:

    Love it!!

  50. Amber says:

    how amazingly creative!! I never would have though of that! I have a bunch of t shirt refashions on my blog too if your interested! I think I might have to make an adult version of this..

  51. says:

    That is so cute! I can't believe it's the same shirt! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  52. Delia says:

    Oh my. I think I will try to make one for myself. Thank you for your genius!

  53. Charity says:

    This is the cutest thing ever! I have a shirt just like that of my daughter's. I may just go and chop it up now. Thanks for the idea!!!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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