Monday, January 25, 2010

How To Make T-shirt Wipe Ups

My husband told me recently that he was impressed with my method of using washable wipe-up rags for cleaning around the house. He noticed that we hardly ever use paper towels anymore! I remembered that I had a tutorial for making recycled wipe-ups from tees from years gone by, and dusted it off to share.

Recycle old t-shirts into paper-towel replacing wipe-ups! I sewed up a stack and use them all around the house. Especially handy for small spills and messes in the kitchen, or any job a paper towel can do. When they're dirty, just throw them in the wash!



Also great for wiping dribbly drooly baby chins and other messes in baby's room. What could be softer and more absorbent than a well-worn 100% cotton t-shirt?


The size of the finished wipe-up depends on the size of the tee: a small tee makes a small wipe-up, and a really large tee...well...you get the picture!

Supplies:
Sewing machine with zig-zag stitch
Size 70 to 80 ballpoint sewing machine needle
Yardstick or straight edge
Fabric marking pen or pencil
Scissors
Pins

Materials:
Recycled 100% cotton t-shirt
Matching thread

STEP 1: Turn the tee inside out and spread it smooth on a flat work surface, front side facing you (you can tell by the collar, which dips down further on the front side - check the picture below).


STEP 2: Draw a rectangle inside the tee: make a line across the top of the tee just below the collar stitching using the straight edge and fabric marker.


Draw two more parallel lines down each side of the tee close to the sleeve stitching.


Finish the rectangle by drawing a line across the bottom of the tee close to the hem.


STEP 3: Pin all around the INSIDE of the drawn rectangle through both layers of the tee.


STEP 4: Cut out the rectangle along the lines.


STEP 5: Sew a seam along the outside edge using a 1/2" seam allowance. Make sure to leave a 3" opening along one long side to turn the wipe-up inside-right.

TIPS:
Use a very narrow zig-zag stitch to leave some "give" in the knit tee fabric. Try a stitch lenth of about 3 to 3.5mm and a stitch width of about .5 to 1mm. Sew a few samples on the discarded sleeve fabric. The stitches should hold the seam well and still give just a bit of stretch.

Use a walking foot attachment if you have one to help keep the layers from shifting.

If sewing with a standard zig-zag foot, try ever so gently to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the fabric as you sew. You may need to stop every so often to adjust the layers as you stitch. The outside edge may appear to be slightly stretched out after sewing, but will bounce back after the first wash.

STEP 6: After stitching the outside seam, trim the corners close to the stitching.


STEP 7: Turn the wipe-up through the opening and gently (ever so gently) push out the corners with the eraser end of a pencil or any other blunt ended thingie. Use an iron to press the seams flat, turning under the opening. Pin the opening closed then pin well along all the edges.


STEP 8: Top stitch all along the outside edge using a wide zig-zag stitch. Try a stitch width of about 3mm and a stitch length of about 2mm.


STEP 9: With a ruler or straight edge, divide the wipe-up roughly in 3rds (the long way) and mark with a fabric marking pencil.



Stitch along the lines with the same zig-zag stitch used in the last step.

That's all there is to it! Now you're ready to tackle any household clean-up job with your "new" recycled wipe-up!

13 comments:

Karin said...

These look so much cuter than paper towels too! Nice idea.

mommypants13 said...

wow sweet, I'm off to goodwill

Anne K. said...

I LOVE this (no surprise that I'd click on the "upcycled T-shirt" link on your front page!!! I'm forever cutting up T-shirts to use as rags -- did that just yesterday for window-washing -- but how nice to have a "proper" wipe-up, with nice finished edges and not pathetic dangly sleeves like I was using yesterday!! :)

Blue Velvet Chair said...

Great repurpose!

Lisa Johnson said...

What terrific ideas. 6 yr old spill all the time and use a ton of paper towels. I am going to try this. Thank you for sharing.

Phytotherapy said...

Hey there! I pinned this on Pinterest a while back! I just wanted to let you know I posted a blog with a link back to you. =)

Christina R said...

Why do you divide in 3rds and zigzag? Thanks!

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hello Christina R., I added the steps of dividing in thirds and top-stitching with a zig-zag stitch to keep the two layers of the wipe-up together. Without the top-stitching, the wipe-up would be like a big, empty pocket, and the layers might separate and get all wonky in the wash or while in use. The purpose of using a zig-zag stitch is so the stitching will be "flexible" and stretch when needed with the wipe-up.

Chris A said...

Can you use these in the microwave?

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Hi Chris A, using these in the microwave? I'm not sure about that, I've used them with super hot water to clean stuff, but I've never put them in the microwave before. :-)

Jeans and a Sweatshirt- said...

You can use 100% cotton (including the thread) in the microwave. For short periods. But I would not use it if it has printing on it. The printing would probably burn easily.

Miss Sews-it-all said...

Thanks for the tip Jeans and a Sweatshirt - I never thought about that!

Jaya said...

rip up the tshirt, use it as a rag: was the usual method i used. Thanks for making a classy alternative. i will surely make a few :)