t shirts to pjs

May 21st, 2013

shirts waiting to be pjs

My job for the day is to turn these knit shirts (and one dress) into summer pajamas for my kids. I only have a vague notion of how I’m going to do it, but it has to happen because it’s hot!

Many of you have asked where I get my knits. The answer is the Dig & Save. It’s a store somewhere between dumpster and thrift shop. I’m not making it sound very glamorous am I? I suppose it isn’t really, but it is very cheap and very awesome.  The store is full of giant bins of clothes too tattered or stained for the thrift store. You have to literally dig through them to find what you are looking for, or in most cased what you didn’t know you were looking for. Everything you do find is $1/pound (half price on Wednesdays).

I often go looking for t shirts to cut up and use for something else. All the different names of knits (and all fabric to be honest) confuse me, but if I can feel the fabric I know exactly what I’ll make with it. All the knits pictured above are soft and stretchy, but not too stretchy. There are some that are thin and will work for pj tops and some that are thicker for pj bottoms. I could’ve never gotten exactly what I wanted through the internet.

That said, there are limitations to using old t shirts: pockets, buttons, v-necks all can get in the way. When I stumble upon an XXL turtleneck I do a little dance. If you don’t have a digging-based thrift store in your area or just want straight up yardage for your project, Girl Charlee is a fantastic online resource for knits. All of their fabrics are reasonably priced and though I have gotten some printed knits that were a bit scratchy, 90% of the time they are butter soft.

12 Responses to t shirts to pjs

  1. That sounds so great. No wonder that your sewings have such a fun and authentic style. We don’t have anything like that here, but my family already knows they should not throw away any old jersey. I have black plastic bags filled with old t-shirts and such and I’m training myself in minimalism also with fabric shopping.

  2. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the great resource! I live about 1.5 hrs from Madison but when I head that way I’ll have to check this store out :D

    I also save all old T-shirts and skirts… anything knit.

    It is so gratifying to make something with purpose out of something that might have been thrown! Good luck with your PJ’s

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Looks like a great project- look forward to seeing the results! I bet our Goodwill outlet is similar to your place. I’ll have to give it a try for repurposing knits.

  4. Jenny says:

    I have a huge pile of t-shirt fronts waiting to be used… a rainbow of knits! I plan on making underpants and tank tops from them (I hope). I just placed an order with Girl Charlee though… LOVE THAT SHOP!!! Best of luck with your P.J.s!

  5. kristin says:

    I have a giant pile of clothes from my husband, like I have trouble donating ANY clothes anymore…I think a Dig & Save would be super dangerous! I hope you show us your giant stack of PJs once you’ve made a few! :)

  6. Karin says:

    Ok, how about the knitty gritty…how much do you think a pair of your pjs cost you (no labor calculated, of course)? And I used to love the Dollar a Pound in Cambridge MA–I STILL have stuff from there!

  7. oh, Dig & Save sounds like heaven! There is nothing like that here in Australia…probably a good thing for my fabric storage space anyway.

  8. Emily says:

    Ahh! So jealous! We have no dollar-per-pound store here, though I have to admit, it would be bad for my fabric and “this-could-be-made-into-something-else” hoarding tendencies. Thanks for the info on the online store. I have a wovens source I like but for knits I’m at a loss.

  9. Emily says:

    p.s. you’ll have to let us know what kinds of patterns/ tutorials/ whatever you use to make the pjs. My girls is clamoring for some, too.

  10. [...] I said I would and look! I actually did: I made summer pajamas from a bunch of thrifted tees. [...]

  11. van says:

    Thank you so much for mentioning Girl Charlee Fabrics, Meg! We would love to see what everyone makes with our fabrics. :)