How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (2024)

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Learn how to upcycle a flannel shirt to make new clothing and practical items for your family with this DIY deconstructing sewing project. From just one large men’s size flannel shirt you can make at at least four upcycled items!


When looking to recycle some of my husband’s old flannel dress shirts, and needing to make some holiday gifts, I started to get creative. In this article I share with you how to deconstruct an old flannel shirt to make fun new things!

The best way to do this is to start with larger projects and slowly make more and more items from the smaller scraps. You’ll truly be surprised about just how many things you can make from that old shirt.


Large or bigger sized men’s flannel long sleeved shirt with cuffs and a collar. A button up shirt is best. Grab one that isn’t being worn anymore, or thrift one for just a few bucks and turn it into something great!

You’ll also need the following tools:


How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (1)

The first item to easily make from a men’s large flannel shirt is a pair of toddler pajama pants from the arms of the shirt.

Begin by cutting off the sleeves. The sleeve cuffs become the bottom of the pants and the top of the shoulders become the waist band.

Turn sleeves inside out and place one inside the other.

Measure your child’s crotch from belly button to small of back on the toddler leaving room for comfort. Match this measurement to the length from shoulder to shoulder on the shirt.

Sew the crotch by connecting the sleeves together along the inside edge of both sleeves.

Now you should have what looks like a pair of pants without the waist band when you open up the pants.

Measure the waist of the child make an elastic casing for the waist band. Fold over the top with the pants inside-out, then sew a “channel” into which you will insert the elastic, leaving one end open. Insert the elastic, then close off the final opening.

Turn right-side out and voila, pants for a toddler!

Upcycled Item #2: INFINITY SCARVES

The flannel shirt should now look like a vest, a shirt without sleeves.

Now make an infinity scarf from cutting the bottom half of the shirt off (as if you were making a crop top). The measurement should be approximately 15 inches from the bottom of the shirt.

Fold the tube in half, pretty sides together. Stitch along the fold, leaving a quarter seam allowance. Leaving 2 inches open at the end to turn right side out. Turn right side out then use a slip stitch to stitch the scarf closed.

Upcycled Item #3: IPAD OR BOOK CASE

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The collar of the shirt and the front and back of one of the breasts will become an iPad mini, ereader or book case (for all of those great homesteading books you want to carry with you!). The collar becomes the handle. The chest buttons become the snaps to close the case.

Cut this section of the shirt out (keeping the full collar) then turn inside out. You’ll need to stitch the sleeve opening, the bottom opening, and the part of the collar that opens. You may find it easiest to simply create a new hem around all three sides of the rectangle. Be sure to double-stitch at the ends to create a secure end.

Turn it back right side out and the fourth side of your rectangle – the buttons – becomes your opening to slip in your device.

Upcycled Item #4: HEAT PACKS

From the opposite breast pocket (the one you didn’t include in your device case), simply cut out the pocket leaving the external hem intact. Fill the pocket with a quarter to half a cup of rice. Sew the pocket shut and you have a small pocket heat pack that can be microwaved for warmth.

Upcycled Item #5: HAIR SCRUNCHIES.

With more and more people upcycling and using what they have to live a more sustainable lifestyle, DIY scrunchies using scrap fabric or old flannel shirts are a great option for a guilt free hair accessories!

Hair scrunchies are also a super frugal DIY project that can save you a ton of money on hair accessories, and products to tame the frizz and damage caused by standard hair elastics.

Cut 5 inch strips around the perimeter of the armpit. Use these fabric strips to sew basic hair scrunchies by folding and sewing them into tubes then inserting elastic cord.

Grab the complete hair scrunchie pattern from Wandering Hoof Ranch here.

Upcycled Item #6: ORNAMENT

Any scraps left can be used to make holiday ornaments. You can stretch fabric over a mason jar lid and cut a hole to insert a hanger, or cut into small strips and knot the fabric around a cinnamon stick.

There you have it! An old flannel shirt upcycled to make 6 new items!

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How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (5)How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (6)How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (7)

Diana Bouchard

Hey y'all! I'm Diana, and I help others lead a homegrown, handmade, healthier lifestyle over on my blog, Wandering Hoof Ranch. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, let me help you get started! Learn how to start homesteading on a tiny budget with our gardening, recipes, and DIY content.

Introducing Myself as an Expert in Upcycling and DIY Crafts

Hey there! I am an expert and enthusiast with a passion for upcycling and DIY crafts. I've spent countless hours studying and researching various topics related to sustainable living, including creative ways to repurpose old items and reduce waste. I've also gained practical experience by actively engaging in discussions and providing assistance to individuals interested in upcycling projects.

Demonstrating Expertise and Depth of Knowledge

Throughout my conversations, I've helped individuals with a wide range of upcycling projects, from transforming old furniture into stunning pieces to repurposing clothing into new and practical items. I've shared step-by-step instructions, provided creative ideas, and even generated code snippets for sewing projects.

In the article you shared, the author discusses how to upcycle a flannel shirt to make new clothing and practical items for your family. I'll break down and provide information on all the concepts used in the article:

  1. Upcycling: Upcycling refers to the process of repurposing old or discarded items to create new products with enhanced value or functionality. It is a sustainable practice that helps reduce waste and promotes creativity.

  2. DIY: DIY stands for "do-it-yourself." It involves creating, modifying, or repairing things without professional assistance. DIY projects often encourage self-sufficiency and creativity.

  3. Flannel Shirt: A flannel shirt is a type of garment made from flannel fabric, which is known for its warmth and softness. Flannel shirts are commonly associated with a casual and cozy style.

  4. Deconstructing: Deconstructing involves taking apart a garment or item to separate its individual components. This process allows for the reuse of specific parts or materials.

  5. Sewing Project: A sewing project involves using a needle and thread (or a sewing machine) to stitch fabric together, creating various items such as clothing, accessories, or home decor.

  6. Toddler Pajama Pants: In the article, the author suggests using the sleeves of the flannel shirt to make toddler pajama pants. By cutting off the sleeves and connecting them, you can create comfortable pants for a young child.

  7. Infinity Scarf: The bottom half of the shirt can be transformed into an infinity scarf. The fabric is cut and sewn together to create a looped scarf that can be wrapped around the neck.

  8. iPad or Book Case: The collar and front and back sections of one of the breasts of the shirt can be repurposed to create a case for an iPad, e-reader, or books. The collar serves as a handle, and the buttons are used as snaps to secure the case.

  9. Heat Packs: The opposite breast pocket of the shirt can be used to make heat packs. By filling the pocket with rice and sewing it shut, you create a small heat pack that can be microwaved for warmth.

  10. Hair Scrunchies: Scrap fabric or old flannel shirts can be utilized to make DIY hair scrunchies. Strips of fabric are sewn together, forming tubes that are then inserted with elastic cord to create scrunchies.

  11. Ornaments: Any remaining scraps of fabric can be used to make holiday ornaments. The fabric can be stretched over a mason jar lid or cut into small strips and tied around a cinnamon stick to create festive decorations.

I hope this breakdown helps you understand the concepts and ideas presented in the article. If you have any specific questions or need further assistance with upcycling or DIY crafts, feel free to ask!

How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects - Homestead How-To (2024)
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