I love upcycling. I have a giant stash of t-shirts just waiting to be re-imagined, most of them dropped off by friends and family. Many of the shirts and pants I sew for my kids don’t make it to the blog, they aren’t that interesting, but right after I sewed this up, a few folks were asking me for inspiration ideas to upcycle for their sons. I gifted these to a friend’s son, but I think they show a nice variety of options when upcycling for boys, and decided to share them here!
If you’re new to upcycling, you might want to check out my tips for shopping to refashion and upcycle. If you’re new to sewing clothes, I think upcycling old shirts is the best way to start because you aren’t out a lot of money if it flops, and you can reuse the hems and save yourself a step! It’s also a great way to get variety in color/print without being limited to what yardage is available. I have a photo tutorial for how I reuse the hems and upcycle adult shirts to kid shirts here.
All four of these are sewn with my go-to, the Recess Raglan from See Kate Sew*. I don’t think it actually has a long sleeve option, I just trace down to the length of another shirt that fits them at the moment.
My first embellishment was this fun little beetle. If you’ve never done reverse applique, I shared a tutorial for the technique in this project. It’s very simple, and there are lots of different silhouettes out there you could use.
The body, arms, and scrap are all upcycled t-shirts.
This dinosaur fabric is one of my favorites – Natural History by Lizzy House*. The body is an upcycled tee- you can see how the print on the sleeves is a nice contrast.
For this top, both the body and the sleeves are upcycled but I added a new iron-on patch, from Simplicity (bought at Jo-Ann Fabrics). I stitched around it for extra security.
I love the subtle touch it adds!
That bird fabric is one of my favorites; it’s a Charley Harper print from Birch Organics, you can find it on Etsy here.*
The green is also an upcycled tee – and you can see a scrap of it in this monster quilt I made recently, too.
I used the same grey ribbing for all the shirts -it is from imagine gnats and I love it! I have experimented with lots of different tag options (I shared a bunch of them in a wash test, here) but right now I’m loving the cheap and easy stamped twill tape. (Supplies: twill tape*, fabric ink*, tiny stamps*).
I’ve been sewing this pattern since my son was a toddler, it never gets old!