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How to Upcycle T-Shirts into a DIY Scarf

Alyson Collom | May 8, 2017

Do you love the idea of upcycling old t-shirts into a scarf? You're going to love this project tutorial by Alyson Collom. Just like magic, she shows you how Terial Magic takes the stretch out of t-shirt fabrics, allowing you to more easily sew together an attractive DIY scarf. 

Smiling happily with a DIY infinity scarf made of tshirts

I am so excited to share this t-shirt scarf project with you. Using Terial Magic to make this t-shirt scarf took away all the fear I had of working with jersey fabric. As a self-taught sewer/crafter, I never dared to make anything with slippery and unforgiving jersey fabric. I couldn’t even move past the cutting phase! I was too scared I would mess it up because of the stretch. 

When I was introduced to Terial Magic, one of its major selling points for me was its effectiveness on T-shirt fabric.  This month I was finally able to sit down and give it a try. Let me tell you, I am forever changed.  

For my first venture, I decided to start small and go with a T-shirt scarf. I love the idea of upcycling old clothing into something new and cool. I recently went to the Salvation Army to donate some excess clothing and thought I could easily get some T-shirts there, but for this project I purchased new shirts.

Supplies Required

  • Terial Magic treated T-shirts
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Needle and Thread

 

Step 1: Treat with Terial Magic

Treat the T-shirts with Terial Magic in three easy steps 1) Spray to saturate 2) Hang until damp 3) Iron to dry and smooth. Make sure they are completely saturated, this will make ensure to take the stretch out of the knit and make it cut and sew like a woven fabric.

Step 2: Cut t-shirts

Cut T-shirts into 8” x 11” rectangles.  I used 12 squares to make this scarf, which makes it around 30” when doubled and after seam allowances.

Step 3: Sewing together

Start sewing together parts of the panel - it doesn’t really matter if you want to sew together horizontally and then vertically or vertically and then horizontally. Sew together the panels, staying aware of to what direction your seam allowances are going - you want to try to make sure they are all going in the same direction to maintain a nice flatness to your scarf. Although, I will confess that I did mess up at least once, though it isn’t noticeable in my finished piece.

Important Note: I do not have a serger, which is optimal for clothing projects, but is not necessary as most regular sewing machines have a stretch stitch setting that will allow your fabric to stretch without breaking your thread. Also, a standard needle is recommended because Terial Magic takes the stretch out of knits and makes it behave like a woven.

Step 4: Sew the rectagle edges to form a tube

Once all of the blocks are sewn together, you will have one nice long solid rectangle. Fold this rectangle in half vertically and sew along the vertical length to close the rectangle making a tube. In the images above you can see both sides. 

Step 5: Match the right edges

What you want to do to complete the circle of the scarf, is sew the two raw edges together to form that circle.  The way to do this is by matching the right sides together by drawing the one end up through the tube you’ve created so that you can pull the edges up to meet the others.  

The easiest way to do this is to hold the tube in your one hand while reaching the opposite arm into the “sleeve” and grabbing the end to pull up through the sleeve to meet your other hand.  Then align the edges.

 

Step 6: Close the circle

Match the edges together to sew the circle closed , but leave a 2” opening so that you can turn the scarf inside out.

Note: Don’t worry about these lining up perfectly - I’ve seen some tutorials out there that intentionally twist the fabric to create a cool effect.

Step 7: Turn inside out

Start working the fabric through the 2” gap until you have fully turned it inside out and then hand stitch the opening shut. I used a blanket stitch for this.

Et Voila! You now have your very own T-shirt scarf - a perfect accessory for the upcoming Spring weather we have been so anxiously anticipating. Happy Spring!

Terial_BLog_InfinityScarf_3-16-17_1040.jpgTerial_BLog_InfinityScarf_3-16-17_1151.jpg

 

 

Topics: Fabric Art

Alyson Collom
Alyson Collom on May 8, 2017

Alyson Collom is a fabric artist. She also works as Operations Manager for Encanto Jewels.