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What To Do with Old T-Shirts // Disney Shirt Ideas

Ever wonder what to do with old t-shirts? Try this new idea! We upcycled shirts that were too small for our kids to create new Disney shirt ideas.

what do to with old t-shirts
disney shirt ideas

It kills me when one of the kids grows out of a shirt that I love. There are so many piece of their clothing that are wrapped up with favorite memories of their childhood.

But at the same time, I don’t want to just put those memories in a box somewhere to sit for years and years. So I came up with a way to repurpose and upcycle old t-shirts, while creating some new Disney shirt ideas!

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Disney Shirt Ideas

Making Disney shirts isn’t news around here, I’m sure you know. Here are a couple of our past Disney shirt ideas for you to check out (be sure to pin your favorites so that you can easily find them again!):

What To Do with Old T-Shirts

But while those shirts use a Cricut machine to cut an iron-on design, this tutorial actually uses old t-shirts that need a refresh to create something entirely new.

Here’s an example. Below, you’ll see a photo of little Henry wearing one of his very favorite Mickey Mouse shirts. Eventually, he outgrew it and we handed it down to Mags.

Now she’s finally outgrown it.

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boy wearing disney mickey mouse shirt

So instead of boxing it up to save or passing it along to someone else, we created something totally new out of it. Here’s one example:

disney shirt ideas

Easy TEchnique for reusing and upcycling t-shirts

I love this new idea because part of the shirt lives on! It’s a really simple technique, where you basically create an appliqué.

Appliqué is a technique where you layer pieces of fabric and stitch around the top layer to create a design. It’s used often in quilting, and was actually pretty popular among crafters in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

I feel like I remember using puff paint to make appliqués on t-shirts for myself?! But I digress.

It’s a really simple way to use a piece of fabric that you love or which has sentimental value, and make it into something new.

supplies You’ll Need

Old T-Shirt or Patterned Fabric. For this project, I used old Disney shirts that my kids had grown out of, because I wanted to upcycle them and preserve memories. But you could just as easily find a shirt at the thrift store, or use patterned fabric.

New Shirt. You’ll want to use a fairly plain shirt, either blank or with a simple pattern. You could also tie dye your shirt first!

Wonder-Under. Wonder-Under is a paper-backed fusible web that can turn any fabric into fusible fabric. Perfect for making your own appliqués.

Iron. Your standard iron will do the trick.

Sewing Machine and Notions. You’ll need a sewing machine, thread, and a bobbin with a matching thread color.

Scissors. Make sure your sewing scissors are nice and sharp.

How to Make This Disney Shirt Idea

  1. Start by cutting out around the shirt design, leaving a margin or border of about 1/4″-1/2″ around the entire image.
  2. Next, iron a piece of Wonder-Under onto the back side of the shirt design according to the instructions on the packaging. This will help the edges keep from fraying, and also create a fusible backing on the fabric.
  3. Pull away the paper backing on the Wonder-Under and place the appliqué right side up on your new shirt, positioned as you would like it. Iron this in place onto the shirt.
  4. Next, fire up your sewing machine. Use a scrap of fabric to practice your stitching and get it dialed in. You want to create a zigzag stitch that’s wide enough to span over the edge of your appliqué. Stitches should be fairly close together but not so close they cause your shirt to pucker.
  5. Once you have this dialed in, use these same settings to stitch slowly all the way around the appliqué.
  6. Trim your threads, and you’re done!
mickey mouse t-shirt idea
making a fabric applique
practice stitches on a fabric scrap
sewing disney applique onto shirt
what do to with old t-shirts

More Ideas For This Technique

I think this appliqué technique for using old t-shirts could be used in so many ways!

I’d love to try it on the back of a denim jacket, or to create patches on jeans. You could add a cute appliqué to the pocket of a pair of shorts, or even to a bag or a backpack.

And I just love that it preserves memories and makes use of something that would potentially otherwise get thrown out.

disney shirt ideas

How would you make yours? If you try and love this DIY, be sure and rate it below. Have fun! xoxo

what do to with old t-shirts
disney shirt ideas
disney shirt ideas

Use Old T-Shirts to Make this Disney Shirt Idea

Yield: Disney Shirt
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $15

Ever wonder what to do with old t-shirts? Try this new idea! We upcycled shirts that were too small for our kids to create new Disney shirt ideas.

Materials

  • Old t-shirt
  • New t-shirt
  • Wonder-Under

Tools

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Iron

Instructions

  1. Start by cutting out around the shirt design, leaving a margin or border of about 1/4"-1/2" around the entire image.
  2. Next, iron a piece of Wonder-Under onto the back side of the shirt design according to the instructions on the packaging. This will help the edges keep from fraying, and also create a fusible backing on the fabric.
  3. Pull away the paper backing on the Wonder-Under and place the appliqué right side up on your new shirt, positioned as you would like it. Iron this in place onto the shirt.
  4. Next, fire up your sewing machine. Use a scrap of fabric to practice your stitching and get it dialed in. You want to create a zigzag stitch that's wide enough to span over the edge of your appliqué. Stitches should be fairly close together but not so close they cause your shirt to pucker.
  5. Once you have this dialed in, use these same settings to stitch slowly all the way around the appliqué.
  6. Trim your threads, and you're done!

Notes

I think this appliqué technique for using old t-shirts could be used in so many ways!

I'd love to try it on the back of a denim jacket, or to create patches on jeans. You could add a cute appliqué to the pocket of a pair of shorts, or even to a bag or a backpack.

And I just love that it preserves memories and makes use of something that would potentially otherwise get thrown out.

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