Making bibs from repurposed T-shirts

My grandma had a sewing machine in the guest bedroom in her small home. I remember many nights watching her sew. It was comforting when she was in the room working and answering my questions as I drifted off to sleep. Some nights she would sew, some nights she would sort through materials for her next project.

When clothes wore out in grandma’s house she placed them in a basket. She would go through these old clothes to salvage material and notions. She removed zippers and placed them in her zipper pouch. She cut off buttons and placed them in her button box. She examined the material and either placed it in her fabric drawer or cut it up and used for cleaning rags. Very little was ever thrown away. Most everything was repurposed.

I am a practical sort and love the idea of repurposing items that are worn or no longer needed. But I am not interested in repurposing unless I create something that is necessary. Since I have grandchildren, I have found that bibs are necessary. As I was going through my son’s Goodwill T-shirt pile the other day, I came across a Droopy Dog T-shirt and thought of my granddaughter and her need for bibs.


Here is how I repurposed this T-shirt into a bib:

1. Place the T-shirt onto a flat surface.

2. Using a bib as a template, place the bib on top of the T-shirt. Snip through both layers of the T-shirt on the top seam. Then slide the scissors between the two layers. Cut around the bib template on the front (top layer) of the shirt. Turn the shirt over, reposition the bib template and cut around the bib’s small back flap on the back of the T-shirt.

3. Place your new bib shape onto a coordinating fabric, right sides together. Using the bib shape as your template, cut the coordinating fabric so it matches the outer edge of your bib shape. I chose a black fabric for my coordinating fabric which I cut from an old pair of sweatpants.

4. Pin and stitch the outer edge together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Turn right side out by pulling fabric through the neck hole. Press the outer edge.

5. To cut the neck opening in the coordinating fabric, place the unfinished bib on a flat surface with the front side (in my case the Droopy Dog side) up. Cut a small X shape with a scissors in the coordinating fabric, right in the middle of the neck hole. Insert your scissors into the X and carefully cut a neck hole in the coordinating fabric slightly larger than the ribbed T-shirt neck hole.

6. Turn the bib over so the coordinating fabric with the unfinished edge neck hole is on the top. Turn the unfinished edge under and pin in place on top of the finished neck hole. Then topstitch around the edge.

When I was done, I went to visit my granddaughter so she could try out her new bib. Since she always loves to have a snack, getting her to try on the bib was not a problem.

The T-shirt scraps that were left over have been placed in my own fabric drawer. I will soon be starting a T-shirt crazy quilt for my niece’s graduation and I am sure I will need some white T-shirt scraps for this project.

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