Fabric flower
Craft,  Sewing

Upcycle an old t-shirt into Fabulous Fabric Flowers

What should you do with those old t-shirts you are throwing away? Send them to landfill? No, create a beautiful flower or two, of course. This step-by-step tutorial will show you exactly how to upcycle those old – t-shirts into these beautiful long lasting flowers.

At this difficult time it can be hard to source craft supplies so why not use what you have and save the environment at the same time. Raid those wardrobes and drawers and get creative!

Fabric flower

You will need:

Old t-shirts

Wire that you can bend but will support your fabric flower (thick garden wire is great for this)

Scissors

Needle and thread

Fabric flowers equipment

Step 1: Make your stem

Cut a piece of wire approximately 12″ (30cm). This will form your stem. At one end you need to form a circle of diameter approximately 3/4″ (2cm). This value is not critical at all , it is just to give you an idea of size. Bend the circle so that it is on top of the wire and that the wire is central.

DSC08348 edited

You can keep the long section of wire straight or curve it gently as I have done. You can also cover it with florists tape if you want it to be green but I decided not to.

Wire

Step 2: Cut fabric strips

Lay your t-shirt out flat and cut the hem off the bottom. Then working your way up the t-shirt cut it into strips approximately 1.5″ (4cm) wide.

If you are only making one flower then you need approximately 8 strips. As your fabric is double you will only need to cut 4 strips. This is approximate as it depends on the size of your t-shirt and how solid you want your flower. Feel free to mess about with this. I have used a UK size 12 (US size 10) t-shirt.

Once you have these strips simply cut the hems off the sides so that you have simple strips of jersey fabric.

Strip of t-shirt fabric

When you reach the sleeves / armholes simply cut them off and carry on. It does not matter if all your strips are the same length or not.

Step 3: Cut the fabric into petals

Now you have your strips you need to form the petals. Simply take each strip in turn and cut into the strip approximately 1″ (2.5cm) at regular intervals of approximately 1/2″ (1.5cm). These do not need to be precise at all. Simply make it look right. These petals will be some of many so precision is not required.

Strip cut into petals

Step 4: Form the centre of the flower

Thread your needle with some thread that is close in colour to your t-shirt. Do not worry about a close match but you do not want to sew a white t-shirt with a black thread! Take one of your strips and start rolling it up.

Rolling flower centre

Once you have a few rolls secure them with your needle and thread. You just need a few stitches, nothing fancy.

Stitching flower centre

Continue rolling up the strip and secure it with a few stitches every few rolls. Continue until you have rolled up the whole strip. Secure it and fasten off your thread.

Fabric flower centre

That is the centre of your flower completed.

Step 5: Prepare the rest of the petals

You need 7 more strips (unless you want to try more or fewer). Take the first strip and start sewing a running thread along the non-clipped side. Ensure that you have a long thread as this is what you will use to sew the rest of the flower.

Starting running stitch

Continue with the running stitch along the edge gathering it as you go.

Gathering strip

Continue right to the end and gather it all up. Keep your needle and thread ready for the next one. Do NOT fasten it off.

First strip gathered

Repeat this process with the next strip of petals so that it continues along the same thread.

Second strip of petals

Continue along the whole strip. Then repeat for the other 5. You will end up with a long thread of gathered strips of petals. Do NOT cut your thread.

Strips of petals on one thread

Step 6: Completing the flower

Take the flower centre that you made earlier and start to sew your ‘string’ of petals that you have just made around the centre.

Attaching petals

Continue until the base of this flower is larger than the ring on your stem.

Now place the ring of the stem onto the base of the flower so far and attach it using a few stitches over the ring.

Attaching stem to flower

Continue to wrap the string of petals around the flower and attach with stitches.

Sewing petals on

Once you are getting close to the end of the string of petals then bring them over the ring and cover it as you work around the flower.

Completing stitching

Fasten off your thread and cut it off. You now have a finished fabric flower. Well done!

Completed fabric flower

Continue?

Well, now you have one fabric flower you can continue and make a whole bunch. I used 3 t-shirts to make my flowers and I could have made more grey ones but I felt I had enough.

Perhaps a bunch for a friend or relative on their birthday would be a nice gift. You could also make them to match your decor (if you can find the right colour t-shirt in your wardrobe!). You can also make these from any jersey fabric, it does not have to be old t-shirts so perhaps you could raid your fabric store.

I have other tutorials for making flowers so take a look here:

Flowers from old magazines

Silk Ball Flowers for Embellishments

Paper Flower Tutorials – tried and tested

Tried and tested fabric flower tutorials

Enjoy making your flowers and do let me know what you think and how you get on in the comments section below.

Remember to pin this tutorial on Pinterest so that you can find it later. You can also follow me on there as Christine’s Crafts for more great ideas.

Fabric flower

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