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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Filed under Baby, Children, Clothing, Re-purposing, Sewing


156 Responses to “Re-purposing: Stained Tshirt into a Shrug”
  1. 1
    Melanie Beth says:

    So cute! Kinda makes me want to make one for myself!

  2. 2
    Sweet Audrey says:

    Beautiful. It's so cute!!!!

  3. 3
    Sarah says:

    your blog is my favorite craft blog, i love everything!

    This is fabulous, it's super cute and my 3 year old seems to make the biggest messes, she'd love this and we definitely have some oil stained shirts!! thanks!

  4. 4
    Charlene says:

    Here's my almost foolproof recipe for getting oil stains out. First, scrub the area with Dawn Dishwashing liquid, then wash regular. If that doesn't work, you need to "reactivate" the oil with a bit of WD 40, then put Dawn on the oil stain, scrub, then wash.

    Truly, it works almost all the time.

    But, that shrug is pretty cute – I'll have to look around and see if my daughter has any shirts I can make one for her with.

  5. 5
    Sara says:

    So cool! Thanks for sharing.

  6. 6
    Allison @ Allie Browns Layouts says:

    Oh my goodness girl that is amazing! I love it!!

  7. 7
    Kirsten says:

    You always amaze me with your creative repurposing but this one takes the cake. I. Am. A.mazed.

  8. 8
    Jill says:

    I like it a lot!! It looks darling on your daughter.

  9. 9
    Andrea says:

    That is really cute. Thanks for the how-to.

    Andrea @

  10. 10
    Heather says:

    You are simply amazing I just love all your projects! Thanks for teaching us all new things!

  11. 11
    Jenn says:

    Amazing. I'm thinking now back to all those stained shirts I've tossed mearly because of the stain. :(

  12. 12
    tomiannie says:

    I totally love this — it looks fantastic!

  13. 13
    Jenglamgirl says:

    WAY TO GO!!!! love it so much more as a shrug. I adore that muted pink color too. I have a shirt I love and a bracelet in that color. ;) Jenn

  14. 14
    The Hardy Things in Life says:

    So CUTE!! I am going to have to make one for the girls and well maybe one for me too!! Thanks!

  15. 15
    thoughts of a Wicked Stepmother says:

    Cute shrug!!! very cute! Did you know that dawn dish soap will take out most grease and oil stains? It has saved a couple of my favorites. But I will keep this under my hat all the same, I love it! Thank you!

  16. 16
    Mandy says:

    love this!! definitely bookmark-worthy!! mandy,

  17. 17
    Rachel says:

    So cute and so easy!!! I'm looking for stained shirts right now. I usually use them for play or camping or painting, but this is way to cute an idea.


  18. 18
    Grammy Suzzy says:

    How do you do it??? See what most would lead to a "toss out" or "dust rag" and turn it into the most amazing treasure!

  19. 19
    somestratt says:

    So adorable! Try "Goop" hand cleaner. You can find it in the home/car area at Walmart. It is for mechanic's hands and works even after you have dried that stain in the dryer. Just use an old toothbrush and scrub a little (or more) into your stain and put through the wash. A staple at our house. I swear my kids use their shirts as napkins….maybe I need to make some cloth napkins!

  20. 20
    Danse De La Fleur says:

    That is such a brilliant idea! I have been looking for a similar shrug.. now I just may have to make one myself! :)

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  21. 21
    Ashley says:

    Ooooh, thanks for the tips on stains. I understand the kids getting oily stains…..but it frustrates me when I get one on something of mine. Now I have some great tips to try. Thank you, thank you!

    Glad you're all enjoying the project!! :)

  22. 22
    The Hillbilly Housewife says:

    Adorable…the shrug is cute too :)

  23. 23
    Rhonda says:

    Adorable! I agree, I cannot do laundry without Dawn for grease spots! It is the best. It even works after you run the clothes through the dryer and then see it!

  24. 24
    Janna says:

    I was going to ask for a sewing machine for my bday next month. Now I have a a great project in mind. I have actually saved a couple of my daughters stained tees in hopes of repurposing them somehow. Thanks for the idea!

  25. 25
    Mary says:

    This is so cute! What a great way to save a shirt.

  26. 26
    The Morrisseys says:

    Way Cute! Another tip on getting oil stains out- Coke. As long as you haven't put the stain through the dryer, and nice soaking in coke will pull that stain right out. Love your blog!

  27. 27
    Maripat says:

    You are a genius. You have such an eye for creative solutions. Love your blog

  28. 28
    Marjorie says:

    Darling! Love that shrug ;)

  29. 29
    The Mecham Family says:

    You really are amazing!

  30. 30
    Heather | Cookie Mondays says:

    I love it! Itt's even cuter than the original shirt!!

  31. 31
    Amy says:

    I'm so making one of these for myself! I ruined a shirt the day I bought it and have kept it because it just felt wrong to spend the money on it and then throw it out for a little stain on the front. THANKS!

  32. 32
    Joanna says:

    So so cute and so easy!!

  33. 33
    Sara says:

    super cute shrug…hey if you ever have an oil or grease stain on clothes try putting dish soap on it, honestly it can work wonders. Love your blog.

  34. 34
    Aly says:

    So Clever and So Cute! I might have to cut up a non-stained t-shirt.

  35. 35
    lilyzmama says:

    I love it… so crafty

  36. 36
    Maggie Mae says:

    I'm new to your blog. I spent two days going through all of your blogs. You are very creative! So many fun things. This shrug is super cute.

  37. 37
    Melanie says:

    that is super adorable. I should do this with my girls' shirts that are just tooooo short! It looks really simple too, just time in gathering, which I am soooo slow at.

  38. 38
    Theresa says:

    AMAZING! I love being able to take something old and turn it into something new. Your blog is inspiring and practical (and I say practical in a very good sort of way!)

  39. 39
    Kell says:

    I must make one for my daughter! She just peeked over my shoulder and said "I WANT THAT, your machine is out, I'll get a shirt RIGHT NOW!" hahaha

  40. 40
    Jaimie says:

    Very cute.. you are so creative. I would never think to repurpose in that situation.

  41. 41
    The Noalls says:

    Oh my gosh, Ashley. That is seriously SO cute and so smart and thrifty! How do you think of these things? I bet your cute little lady is a girly girl to the core with all these cute things you make for her :)

  42. 42
    The Noalls says:

    So I was glancing over the comments and my two cents is: liquid detergent. I think it works better than Shout! I have a generic perfume/dye-free kind for the baby, and it's gotten out everything I've tried so far! Just rub it all over the stain (even a stain that Shout left once–ironic!) and wash. Cheap and easy.

  43. 43
    inday_adin says:

    That is so cute! You always have great ideas. :)

  44. 44
    laura says:

    too cute! thanks for sharing your great re-purposing ideas!

  45. 45
    Cheryl says:

    That is super cute. Oil always seems to just beeline for kid's clothes.

  46. 46
    kodie says:

    you are AMAZING! i cannot believe how you come up with this stuff! time to raid my 4 year old's dresser!!

  47. 47
    Jake and RaNette Free says:

    I really love how this turned out – Added to my "MUST TRY THIS" list. Thanks!

  48. 48
    Daisha says:

    Brilliant! I want to make one for myself.

  49. 49
    Luna says:

    OOOOOOOh… I think we have a few shirts that might be getting too short that could become shrugs!

  50. 50
    Keriann says:

    ok so i have to admit i mostly just look and say awe cute to all the kids re-purposed clothing posts since it's usually girls stuff and I have a house full of boys but….

    This was so clever I had to comment! Genius!!

  51. 51
    Megan Hoover says:

    you are such a wonderful seamstress! and so clever, too. I love this idea and with 3 kids of my own (2 girls) I'm sure I can find SOMETHING with stains on it. thanks for posting!

  52. 52
    Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama says:

    This is absolutely adorable…and I actually really want one for myself! Now I'm tempted to dig through my own closet, searching for stained shirts to alter!

  53. 53
    My Everythings says:

    That is dang cute.

  54. 54
    Tiffany says:

    omg that is adorable!!! I was on the hunt for a black one for myself forever!!! I wanted it to wear with some sleeveless summer dresses I had found on clearance for $5-9. But I like my arms to be covered. But I couldn't find the right kind-one that covered the arms, wasn't too dressy AND didn't cover the entire dress front. If I could actually sew I could have made one myself…

  55. 55
    Nancy says:

    seriously you are so smart. Why haven't I thought of that before? I'm going to have to try that in my size.

  56. 56
    Tauni says:

    This may be the cutest little girls recycle I have seen. ADORABLE!!!

  57. 57
    Alala says:

    You are truly talented. Thank you for sharing your creative gift with us!

  58. 58
    Amy says:

    I love this!! What an inspiration–and I definitely want to make one for myself too! Thanks for sharing!!

  59. 59
    Jessica says:

    Love this! I would like one for me too. :)

  60. 60
    iram fartash says:

    wao you are one talented lady and you really know how to convert junk into gold :)

  61. 61
    怡君 says:


  62. 62
    Wulan says:

    I love it… i wanna make one for my daughter…thanks for sharing the idea and tuto..

    Again..i love it lots

  63. 63
    Kelly O. says:

    my fave tutorial in a long time!
    thank you!

  64. 64
    Jenny says:

    This would even warrant buying a $5 shirt from Wal-Mart! I intend to make one for my teenage daughter who needs a couple of these for some summer sun dresses. Very cute and imaginative!

  65. 65
    Jennifer says:

    I have to agree with everyone who said they wanted one for themselves! I have the perfect shirt on RIGHT NOW that has a salad dressing stain on it (not sure what it is about a pregnant belly that attracts everything I eat to fall on my shirt).

    This is absolutely adorable! thank you!!

  66. 66
    Aly says:

    I've been following your blog but haven't ever commented, but I just HAD to comment on this. That is adorable! How creative! I love it. I only wish I had a daughter with a stained shirt now! Thanks for sharing.

  67. 67
    sjones says:

    I have tried Everything for grease stains but this is the only one that has worked consistently! Try it!

  68. 68
    This&That says:

    Miss Ashley,

    I look at your blog darn near everyday with longing in my eyes and heart to make these cute little creations you make look so easy.

    I can sew a straight line, but anything after that terrifies me. Please keep sharing because I'm a huge fan of day dreaming. Your talent is amazing.

  69. 69
    thefinderofthings says:

    That is amazing! Love it!

  70. 70
    Always For Alex says:

    Absolutely adorable!! I have to go and make one right now.

  71. 71
    Nan says:

    Brilliant!! And my Goodwill store is filled with tshirts. And I wear tank tops all the time and need numerous shrugs for going out into public! Thanks!

  72. 72
    Selina says:

    that is GENIOUS!!! i am literally gonna dig through my girls grubby t-shirts and shrug-them-up!
    SUPER cute!
    ~selina (sis#!)

  73. 73
    Shane and Brandi says:

    I was so excited about this post! It is so cute!

  74. 74
    Justin says:

    I love your blog and look at it almost daily. I think your shrug is cuter then the original. Good job… Again

  75. 75
    couture unraveled says:

    Ok…so that is bordering on Brilliant!!! So CUTE!!! with all the stained shirts i have thrown away the past few years…i probably could've had a hundred of these cute shrugs!! Thanks for posting the "how-to" on this!!!

  76. 76
    Mackenzie Richards says:

    Your little girl is so lucky to have such a talented and creative mommy to make all these cute things for her!! This is going to be my next project! I LOVE THIS SITE!!

  77. 77
    PurpleDream 紫夢 says:

    This is way too cute..thanks for sharing!!

  78. 78
    Kalen says:

    This is so cool! it looks like something you'd find in a store. I think I'll try to make one myself… the only trouble I always run into is not enough fabric left for ruffling once I cut apart the tshirt!

  79. 79
    dana says:

    Brilliant and darling Ashley!
    Very cute.

  80. 80
    Rachel says:

    Oh my goodness! This is so stinkin' adorable! I'm *so* doing this. Soon. This week. Maybe today! Thank you for the idea!!!

  81. 81
    Sharon says:

    Going to get a stained, out of season shirt out of the trash right now and make a plan!!! Thanks!

  82. 82
    : ) Paula says:

    I've been trying to figure out why your hand-sewn items look so good. Is it the topstitching after you sew on the ruffles?

  83. 83
    Robyn says:

    I think its cuter than the original shirt!

  84. 84
    Baiba Vigule says:

    That is so perfect! And looks very good for your kid. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  85. 85
    {Bellamere Cottage} says:

    This is simply adorable and worth losing the t-shirt over….

    I have found that regular old DAWN dish soap….the old fashioned one…….rubbed on any grease stain and laundered as usual comes right out….it's worth a try next time…maybe it would work.. But another shrug would be swell too.

    Warm blessings,

  86. 86
    The six of us! says:

    Thank you for posting this great tut!!!! I've been needing a little shug for my little one's summer dresses to be able to use them for church as well! This is the perfect fix!

  87. 87
    Stephanie says:

    oh my, I've got to try this! Thanks for sharing so cute!!

  88. 88
    Midnight Rambler says:

    This makes me wish I had a little girl to make one of these for, or even a body that I could make and wear one myself! Very cute! :o)

  89. 89
    spenceandcass says:

    I love it! I would have never thought of that!

  90. 90
    HoopDeeDoo says:

    that's just precious! i refashion lots of stained tees but i haven't tried a shrug yet. now i definitely will! thanks for sharing with us.

  91. 91
    Marianne says:

    I just discovered your blog, and I love it! I saw your post on reconstructing a dress into a skirt, and I found a dress in my closet that was a perfect candidate. Now I have a new skirt that I love!

    I love this idea for a shrug. I'll have to search my daughter's drawers for a nasty shirt- and mine, for that matter! Thanks for the darling and economical ideas!

  92. 92
    Amber says:

    This is great! I love shrugs but I've never thought to make one for my daughters. I'm adding this to my list of things to make. Thanks for taking the time to do this tutorial for us.

  93. 93
    Novel Style says:

    What a great idea! Super cute.

  94. 94
    Polly says:

    Super Cute!!

  95. 95
    Regina Moore says:


  96. 96
    Denise says:

    this is darling.

    here is another way to get rid of grease and REALLY works.

  97. 97
    MIchelle says:

    What GREAT idea! LOVE IT!!!! Going to make one right now!

  98. 98
    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!!!

  99. 99
    Delia says:

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

  100. 100
    [email protected] says:

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