Nostalgic T-shirts inspire creative transformations

Courtney Moore, senior music major, shows off the T-shirt quilt she made as a practical way to reuse old T-shirts while still keeping special memories from school. | Photo by Ebbie Davis

By Ebbie Davis

While attempting to pack clothing to return to school, students may have noticed a slight tilt in their wardrobe.

An overload of special-event T-shirts treasured since high school have seemed to accumulate in dorm drawers, surviving spring cleanings and clothing drives. Although these shirts are sensible to wear on rainy days or for exercising, are they worth filling up valuable drawer and closet space?

Many events offer souvenirs that take the form of designs on the front and back of T-shirts. Shirts from sports teams, church camps and school events represent not just a piece of fabric, but also memories.

A new trend at Union is the discovery of practical ways to cherish T-shirt keepsakes. Students are channeling their creativity and using their skills to turn an everyday T-shirt into something they can eventually place in their home to keep for life.

Having acquired more than 40 T-shirts from various events, ranging from T-ball to concerts, Courtney Moore, senior music major, found an interesting way to cherish her memories.

“I had a ton of T-shirts and I did not want to get rid of them, but I really did not know what to do with them,” Moore said. “I decided to make something out of them so they can be useful.”

A woman in Moore’s town gives sewing lessons and had a two-day class on how to make a T-shirt quilt. Moore decided she wanted that to be the way she preserved her shirts. She recalled how easy and practical the quilt was to make.

“I picked the T-shirts that I used intentionally; each one is significant to me,” Moore said. “T-shirts I got at a concert or at a youth camp that I really enjoyed are represented on (the quilt).”

Quilts are not the only ways to preserve T-shirts and memories. Anna Avery, junior elementary education and learning foundations major, turned one of her shirts into a piece of home décor.

“When I discovered the hem had fallen out of a favorite gray tee, I decided to add it to the décor,” Avery said. “This gray shirt was given to me by a dear friend, so I did not want to throw it away.”

Avery turned her tee into a pillowcase and added an elaborate felt flower to accent her room.

“My room is often a hangout for anyone and everyone, and I have had many compliments over this pillow,” Avery said.

Moore agrees, “It seems like everyone wants something like this, because everyone wants to hold on to something.”

These are two examples, but the options are almost endless. Other ideas include turning old shirts into a trendy bag or sewing a homemade blanket. Students are now aware of the numerous reasons to keep old T-shirts.

Making crafts from old T-shirts can even become a fun way for roommates or friends to bond, making new memories while cherishing past memories.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.