Take the first steps to help change the world armed with a pair of scissors and a pile of old, unused t-shirts. The Upcycled T-Shirt (Stash Books, 2015) by Jenelle Montilone is full of inspiration for repurposing your t-shirts into reusable household items, repurposed wearables and more. The following excerpt for reusable duster mitts save materials from going to the landfill, and can be used for mopping or dusting.
Let’s face it; no one really wants to dust, do they? But there’s something satisfying about removing dust with repurposed material. Instead of meeting the landfill, it now serves a noble purpose, thanks to your creativity!
• 2 contrasting T-shirts*
• 1 sleeve cuff from long-sleeved shirt
* One T-shirt will yield enough fabric for this project, but contrasting colors add a fun pop.
1. Cut a 10-inch × 5-inch rectangle along the fold at 1 side of your main T-shirt; keep the shirt’s hem along 1 of the 5-inch sides of the rectangle. When you unfold it, the piece will measure 10-inch × 10-inch. Set aside.
2. Cut at least 8 strips, 4 from each T-shirt, approximately 10-inch × 3-inch.
3. Cut about 1 inch in and 1-1/2 inch apart along both long edges of each strip to create a fringe.4. Open up the 10-inch × 5-inch rectangle from Step 1 and smooth it out.
1. Stack a fringe of each color, lengthwise, inches from right edge of rectangle. Pin in place. Run a single length of stitches in coordinating thread down the center of fringe, backstitching at each end.
2. Repeat Step 1 for the remaining fringed strips, spacing each approximately 2 inches apart. Note: I found it easier to sew 1 set of strips and then fold over the fringe before laying out the next set.
3. With the fringe sewn in place, fold the rectangle in half, right sides in, with the fringe running vertically. Pin into place, being careful not to catch any of the fringe. Leave an opening on the short side with the original shirt hem; this will serve as the bottom of your mitt.
4. Draw a rounded shape on the top of the mitt and re-pin around the edges. Sew or serge the edges and trim the seam allowance. Turn your mitt right side out.
Dust Mop Refills
Do you love your moplike duster-on-a-stick? You can make reusable cloths for it following the instructions for the Unpaper Towel, with a few small adjustments.
1. Cut a large T-shirt rectangle, following Step 1 of Unpaper Towel. Cut 1 rectangle 8-1/2-inch × 11-1/2-inch from the larger rectangle.
2. Cut 10-inch × 3-inch T-shirt strips from the rest of the rectangle to create ruffles–3 to 5 strips will work.
3. Sew ruffles lengthwise onto the center 5 inches of the 8-1/2-inch × 11-1/2-inch rectangle from Step 1. Now your cloth is ready to wrap around the duster and poke into the holes on top–just like the nonrecyclable paper it’s replacing.
More projects from The Upcycled T-Shirt:
Reprinted with permission from The Upcycled T-Shirt by Jenelle Montilone and published by Stash Books, an imprint of C&T Publishing Inc., 2015. Cover courtesy Stash Books. Instructional photos by Diane Pedersen. Style photography by Nissa Brehmer.