Updating Thrifted Shirts

Upcycled thrifted t shirt

We thrifty types love adding or adjusting something about our second hand clothing so that it acquires that “Je ne sais quoi.” (Definition: an indefinable, elusive quality, especially a pleasing one.) Adding a decorative patch to a thrift shop shirt can easily transform it into a unique and stylish piece of clothing. Here are some ideas how to create your own DIY chic by updating thrifted shirts.


  • Used or second hand shirt
  • Decorative patch
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Fabric glue (optional)

Choose a thrift shop shirt that you want to update with a decorative patch. Look for a shirt that fits you well and is made of a fabric that can support a patch. I am so into stripes right now so that is what I am using.

Next pick a decorative patch that you want to add to the shirt. I love looking for these at the thrift and have a bunch of them including these camping theme and girl scout patches. There are many different types of patches available so check out ebay or etsy for something that really appeals. to you.

Upcycled thrifted t shirt

Wash and lightly press your shirt to remove any wrinkles and prepare the fabric for the patch. Lay the shirt on the ironing board and iron over the area where you want to place the patch.. Position the patch on the shirt where you want it to be. Use pins to secure the patch in place.

Thread a needle with a color of thread that matches the patch or the shirt. Alternatively, use a sewing machine if you have one.

Upcycled thrifted t shirt

Begin sewing the patch onto the shirt. Start by stitching around the edge of the patch, using a small, tight stitch. Make sure to stitch through both the patch and the shirt to secure the patch in place.

Upcycled thrifted t shirt
Upcycled thrifted t shirt
Upcycled thrifted t shirt
Upcycled thrifted t shirt

Once you have stitched around the entire patch, tie off the thread and cut any excess thread.

Upcycled thrifted t shirt

If desired, you can also use fabric glue to secure the patch in place. Apply a small amount of fabric glue to the back of the patch and press it onto the shirt. Allow the glue to dry completely before wearing the shirt.

If you want to add additional patches to the shirt, repeat the above steps for each patch. Be sure to position the patches in a way that complements each other.

Upcycled thrifted t shirt

Once you have added all of the desired patches, try on the shirt to ensure that it fits well and the patches are positioned correctly. Make any necessary adjustments before wearing the shirt out.

Congratulations! You are fashion designer! Or at least you know a great way to add your own personal style to second hand clothing.

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Meet Jane

Welcome! I’m Jane, and I am obsessed with crafting, decorating, gardening, repurposing castoffs and general DIYing.

This blog focuses on creating on a budget, creative and fun projects that will add a bit of amusement to everyday life, cause lets face it, sometimes life isn’t so easy. My projects aim to be simple while also being Eco and budget friendly with a sense of humor or a sarcastic twist.
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