Thursday, May 2, 2013

Upcycle Tutorial - Baby Blanket to Kid's T-Shirt

During Kid's Clothes Week I made a couple of t-shirts for Lucy using baby blankets and I got such a lovely and positive response for them! Thank you! So I thought I'd share a quick tutorial showing how I cut the pattern from the blanket in order to get the blanket edges to form hems and cuffs. It's a great short cut!


I've found that my local fabric stores have a really boring range of jersey fabric - it's all solid colours with tiny selection of prints. I've found that the best way to get interesting jersey without buying online is to hunt through thrift stores and buy items that can be upcycled, which is how I came up with this idea.

If you are like me and your children are still young but not babies anymore, I bet you have lots of these little blankets in your cupboards somewhere!

I've made two now, and have been able to get size 3T t-shirts from the blankets, but I don't think I would have had enough fabric for a bigger size. If you need a bigger size, you will need a larger size blanket or use an adult size top and use existing cuffs and hems.

What you need:
  • A baby blanket with bound edges (mine were approx. 65 x 65cm / 26" x 26")
  • Your favourite t-shirt pattern (I use this one)
  • Rotary cutter / scissors
  • Sewing machine or overlocker

 Take your blanket and open it out. Fold the outside edges in so they meet in the middle.


Neaten it up so the blanket binding is aligned. Place your back and front pattern pieces along the folds on either side. Pin or use pattern weights to keep in place - I use small cans of food from my pantry!

You can see that I leave the bottom of the pattern overhanging the blanket - this is because you don't need a seam allowance, as there will be no hemming.


Cut your pattern pieces and remove them. You will then have this:


Depending on how much fabric you have remaining, you can keep the fabric folded as above, or you can open it out and fold the upper edge down. Whichever way you can get the most fabric to successfully cut your sleeve piece on a fold.

This time I didn't have enough fabric left to create a full length sleeve, so I went for a 3/4 length. If you a sewing for summer, you can shorten it further for a short sleeved tee.


Your pattern pieces are now cut! And you can see in the picture that they already have cuffs and hems! You will most likely have enough fabric left to cut a strip for the neckline - check the pattern you are using to see how much you need.


Now sew up your tee according to the pattern's instructions. Not having to cuff and hem will make it a really quick stitching session.

Now pop it on your child and send them out to play!




I hope you will give it a try - if you make a t-shirt using this tutorial I'd love you to share! Tweet me, post a picture to my facebook timeline, send me the link to your blog or upload a picture to my Flickr pool! I love seeing what people make from my tutorials, it makes my day!

16 comments:

  1. What a fantastic idea! It's so hard to find fun knit fabrics in the shops, so I love this and will be digging through the old baby blankets today!

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  2. Awesome tutorial Ros, I love preserving hems when upcycling because you just cannot beat a knit hem done with an industrial coverstitch. Mmm and you have me longing for a rotary cutter and mat once more lol.

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    1. You don't have them?? Gah - I couldn't live without mine!!! Although after watching the Great British Sewing Bee I long for a lovely set of fabric scissors the clunk across the table as they cut! My Nan used to have a pair just like them.

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  3. Awesome idea! Good thing I haven't donated a stack of baby blankets.

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  4. Such a wonderful idea! I'm sure I have scores of those blankets from when my daughter was born. Now I guess I just have to dig through all the boxes and find them.

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  5. Too cute! Looks super comfy too :)

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  6. What a fantastic idea! Love your weight on the fabric too :-) (the two cans)

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    1. My can pattern weights were in the beginning just used for necessities sake but now I find them the perfect size and weight so I'm happy to stick with them!

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  7. Love your pattern weights!

    I think I have some baby blankets in a box in the shed. I might just have to bust them out and make Ethan some tops! Thanks for the tutorial.

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  8. What a great idea to use the blanket edging as ready-made hems and cuffs. Those tops are really cute.

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  9. I am going to go to the thrift stores to look for some boy blankets. This is such a great idea. My son has outgrown all the summer clothes we had for him. Thanks for posting this!

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  10. Great upcycling project Ros. PS... love your pattern weights! hehe! xo

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  11. I'll never pin a pattern to fabric again! Love the model.

    Anne xx

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  12. What a great idea! Little effort, great result. Just the way I like it!

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