On the mentoring team, BYP Jr., we’ve been making the world more colorful and brighter with T-shirt crafts! We completed a service project making t-shirt quilts, and several other creative activities repurposing t-shirt material.
More than 200 t-shirts were donated to help us make quilts for the homeless, an initiative started in Pittsburgh by the Homelost Project. BYP hosted a successful sew-in and several sessions of a sewing club to complete 3 t-shirt quilts and cut nearly 200 t-shirt squares. The project was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, through which material and sewing notions were donated. The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) also donated over 100 shirts for us to repurpose! Thank you also to the individuals who donated shirts, including artist Edith Abeyta.
We had an excellent team of youth, volunteers and KEYS AmeriCorps members that attended our sew-in! A whole quilt top was finished in one night, and we exceeded our goal of cutting 180 t-shirt squares. The quilts also included artwork created by the children we mentor at Heritage Out of School Time (HOST).
With t-shirt sleeves and scraps, volunteers also made educational bean bags to give to the kids at HOST. This was a great opportunity for children to help and learn to sew.
Another great use for leftover t-shirts is sewing them into hand puppets! We brought blank puppets to HOST to celebrate Fred Roger’s birthday. The kids got really creative, gluing on feathers, fabric, buttons and yarn to create their puppet. We even had some puppets that were inspired by Frozen characters.
The next frontier was turning the shirts into t-shirt yarn! Armed with lots of t-shirt spaghetti, we taught our kids how to weave pot holders on cardboard looms. This was an excellent craft for teaching kids patience.
To culminate our t-shirt projects, BYP Jr. hosted a Crafty Wednesday at the Braddock Carnegie Library. We brought piles of t-shirt string and taught library-goers how to weave potholders, make t-shirt lanyards, and finger knit. The possibilities for repurposing t-shirts are endless!