How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects

How to Upcycle a Flannel Shirt: Six Simple Sewing Projects

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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:


Upcycled pajama pants from flannel shirt

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

Upcycled computer case from a flannel shirt

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!

How to Recycle a Flannel Shirt PIN
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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.

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