Upcycle a Boring T-shirt Into a Cool Modern One With This Tutorial

7 Materials
30 Minutes

I’m willing to bet you’ve got a plain white T-shirt somewhere in your closet, just like every other person in the world. If you’re like me, you probably don’t end up wearing those plain white T’s too often. After all, they can be kind of boring. I decided to pull one out and transform it into something cool and new, and I love the way it turned out! So pull out your own and follow these steps and before you know it you’ll be rocking your new no-longer-plain white T.

Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  • White T-shirt
  • Bandana headband
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Pen
  • Ruler
easy DIY t-shirt
Measure your bandana

Lay your bandana down on a flat surface and place your shirt on top of it. Make a small snip in the bandana on either side of the shirt so that you know where to cut. You want the bandana to be the same length as the shirt. 


Cut your bandana
Cut your bandana


Fold the bandana, lining up the small cuts that you made, and cut along those lines. You can use a ruler to help you keep it straight. 

Bandana to T-shirt upcycle
Cut open the bandana

Now you’re going to unfold your bandana and cut it open at the seams so that you have two separate pieces.

Sew together your bandana
Sew the bandana back together

Place one piece on top of the other so that the right sides are touching each other, then pin them together. Take it to your sewing machine and sew them together on both sides.

Prep your DIY shirt
Fold your shirt

Take your T-shirt and turn it inside out. Then fold it lengthwise, so that the sleeves are touching each other. Pin it in place.

Cut your T-shirt for your DIY upcycle
Cut your shirt

Using your ruler, draw lines on your shirt in the width of your bandana. I chose to put mine on the upper half of the shirt, over the chest, but you can choose where you want it! Then cut along those lines.

Arrange your bandana
Arrange your bandana

Open up both sides of the shirt and lie them flat on your work surface. You may need to move around your pins as you do. Then you’re going to arrange your bandana so that the seams are matched up with the side seams of your shirt. Use pins to hold it all together.

Sew your DIY T-shirt upcycle
Put together your shirt

Sew the bandana into the shirt, then turn it so that it’s right side out. Iron the bandana, making sure to get the seams.

DIY cropped t-shirt upcycle
Cut the bottom

You could totally leave the shirt as is, but if you want to make it into a more crop-top look, take your ruler and mark where you want your shirt to end. Then cut along that line.

Fold your sleeves
Fold your sleeves

To give it that extra touch of style, fold the sleeves up. Just one fold will give you a chic and fashionable look. 

DIY T-shirt design

And you’re done! I love the way my shirt came out. Instead of a plain white T-shirt that I hardly ever wore, I now have a super cool piece that I’m so excited to show off. The best thing about this project is that you can really make it your own. Choose a bandana with a pattern you love, and really make it yours. I’d love to see how yours turn out, so be sure to drop a picture in the comments below! 


Suggested materials:

  • White t-shirt
  • Bandana
  • Scissors
See all materials

Join the conversation

3 of 7 comments
  • Jeanne Martin
    Jeanne Martin
    on Oct 15, 2020

    Ha! I've kept my absolute favorite t-shirt for over a year now hoping someone would develop a cleaner that would get a seriously stubborn stain out. The stain is at the bust area and now I know how I'm going to fix it! I sew and never thought of this, why not??? Thank you for the perfect solution!!

    FYI for those with a similar problem, don't throw it away: My nice nylon jacket got an ember burn at a bonfire a few years back. I sewed a beautiful little humming bird patch over it. Problem solved! (And I still get comliments on it). 😁

  • Sandy
    on Nov 16, 2020

    What is a bandana you refer to. I know of red or blue cloth kerchiefs that cowboys wear around their necks. Are you talking about a tube top of sorts.

    Thank you for an answer because I’m interested in this project. Sandy

    • J
      on Dec 15, 2020

      bandannas are a available at most discount stores like Walmart or at fabric stores in the craft department. But you could use any fabric that you like.

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