T-Shirt Memory Scarf

Craft & Design

While I was cleaning out my closet a few weeks ago, I found an old brown paper grocery bag with the words, “Clothes of sentimental value! DO NOT THROW AWAY!” scribbled on the outside in black marker. Inside were more than a dozen t-shirts and items that I’d saved throughout my life, and I was hoping to protect them from my mom’s purging habits with the scribbled warning. As I looked through the old t-shirts, ranging from elementary sports to high school plays, I was inspired to make them in to something special and wearable.
Having seen so many cool scarf ideas through our Me, My Scarf & I contest, I realized just what I could do with the shirts, and set about fashioning them into a Texas weather-appropriate scarf. I started by taking a couple of scarves I already had so I could take notes on their measurements. I decided to cut 11-inch panels from each shirt and use half inch seam allowance to result in a 10-inch wide scarf (I like big scarfs, and I cannot lie). I also like long scarves that are meant to be doubled up and looped through themselves, which worked perfectly for how many t-shirts I had.
I created an 11-inch square template and cut panels out of the front and backs of the shirts. From there, I pinned the panels right sides together and sewed across their widths to attach them in a patchwork fashion. I did the same with the panels from the backs of the shirts to create the backside of the scarf (I alternated the pattern of the shirt fabric from the front to the back so I didn’t have to worry so much about things matching up perfectly). From there, I stitched the scarf right sides together, leaving an opening on one end for turning. I then turned the scarf right side out and edgestitched the entire thing, closing the opening on the end.
The scarf is big, unruly and imperfect – just like me. I love it! My childhood Incredible Hulk piggy bank served as a nice model for me this morning, since I couldn’t get a good picture of myself in the scarf. My one complaint is that the Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt that ended up right at the nape of my neck is very stiff and hard to work in to a comfortable position. It’s the only shirt with a large, heavy print, and if I’d just moved its placement one or two spots, this would be a non-issue. Live and learn!
I was tweeting as I cut the shirts to make this scarf, and put the question out: Do I cut up my Space Camp t-shirt? The shirt is more than 20 years old, and is one of my prized possessions. Overwhelmingly, folks voted to spare the shirt, which I did. I have plans to stretch it and hang it in my office.
Here’s the low-down on the shirts I included. With the exception of a representation of my space geek influence, it’s a pretty fair picture of my personality and experiences! Now if it will just get cold enough here in Austin to wear it ….
Top L to R:
Makezine Permission to Play shirt One of my favorite Makezine slogans!
My T-Rex t-shirt that I wore all through high school and college, to the point of it almost disintegrating. I love dinosaurs!
Vintage San Angelo Standard-Times “Best News Running” T-shirt My father was the publisher of our hometown newspaper when I was a kid. This was the place where I developed my love of journalism and the smell of ink.
Les Miserable t-shirt from a trip to Toronto. I love visiting Canada, and I loved this play!
My high school newspaper staff t-shirt that reads, “The Power of the Pen” I was the editor of my high school newspaper, and this was one of my favorite shirts. I thought I was so cool (very Andrea Zuckerman)
My Clinton-Gore election t-shirt that I wore on the night of the election. I worked at the city newspaper that night, running returns from the library to the newsroom. Such fun!
My Fiddler on the Roof high school theater t-shirt. I was also a big drama nerd in high school, and Fiddler on the Roof was a major production we did. It was loads of fun.
My Obama hand screen printed shirt from my pal Sarah in Portland.
My New York Yankees t-shirt from my 3rd grade little league team. I played left field, where I would spit and pick weeds and never see a hit.
My Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt from a concert at Southpark Meadows here in Austin. I found a twenty dollar bill on the ground and bought this shirt.
My Tiny Scarecrow “Nobody Panic” t-shirt. I did some marketing and PR work for The Biscuit Brothers, an Austin-based children’s duo and television show. It’s a brilliant show, and the guys are sweethearts. Tiny Scarecrow is one of my favorite characters ever.

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