Oh my goodness the amount of t-shirts I had is insane! I had highschool shirts, then college shirts, then shirts from work, and shirts from a small period of time where I thought I liked 5ks (I do not like 5ks). So during the COVID-19 Quarantine I gathered them all up and put them on the street to give away, no one wanted them. Thanks to COVID-19 though I had a lot of time to brainstorm on how to recycle my shirt collection and the winner was Laundry Basket! Thank you COVID-19 for forcing me to be creative with how to deal with my obscene shirt collection!
Now my t-shirts ARE storage instead of needing to be stored! This is the kind of idea that satisfies my soul. So resourceful, so useful, so fun. I'm obviously very excited!
I started by gathering all my shirts and decided I wanted my first basket to be grey and navy blue. I dutifully organized my shirts by color order from light gray to darkest blue. I used about 30 size small t-shirts for one basket but if you don't have 30 of the color you want you can use a different color for the base (like white or black) since you can't really see that part anyways.
Next I made the yarn by cutting up my shirts into two inch strips. (I chose to cut my shirts as I crocheted because I was pretty hesitant.) First I cut off the sleeves then I cut down the side of the shirt so it could lay flat. Then I cut in two inch zig zag lines across the fabric so I could keep my lengths as long as possible. Last I made the ends of my zig zags curved so that the fabric was easier to crochet with.
To tie the ends of the fabric together you could sew them, slip knot them, or tie them in a large knot. The large knot gives the basket a fluffy rag rug appearance which turned out pretty cute but I wanted it to look a bit cleaner so I decided to slip knot them together. I never tried sewing because that seemed like a lot of effort and I'm not trying to win a perfect basket award here. (Also you can buy t-shirt yarn on Amazon if you don't have t-shirts.)
To crochet the basket I started with the instructions from Thoresby Cottage. I thought these instructions were super easy to follow and very straight forward. I did however change the pattern slightly to make the basket bigger since it is for laundry (and we have a lot of laundry). I also used a bread twistie tie to mark the beginning of each of my rows which I found helpful for counting my stitches. I used a 11.5mm crochet hook for this project.
Begin with chain (ch) 3, slip stitch (sl st) to form a circle (this is the bottom center of your basket, if it was a cinnamon roll this would be the best part)
Row 1 (R1). Single Crochet (sc) 7 into the ch 3 R2. 2sc in each stitch (st) (14) R3. [sc in next st, 2sc in next st] around (21) R4. [2sc in next st, sc in next st, sc in next st] around (28) R5. [sc in next 3 stitches (sts), 2sc in next st] around (35) R6. [sc in next 4 sts, 2sc in next st] around (42) R7. [sc in next 5 sts, 2sc in next st] around (49)
R8. [sc in next 6 sts. 2sc in next st] around (56)
R9. [sc in next 7 sts. 2sc in next st] around (63)
R10. [sc in next 7 sts. 2sc in next st] around (70) R11. sc around in back loop (bl) only (70) R12 – 20. sc around (you can make the basket taller than 20 rows if you want)
R21. sc 14, ch 7 (this chain will form the handles of you basket), and continue to sc in the next 28 sts, ch 7 to form the second handle, sc in next 14 sts.
R22. Continue to sc around. When you reach the handles, sc 7 st over the ch 7 (or however many sc it takes to cover the handle)
My finished basket ended up looking exactly how I envisioned it and I can't believe it was free! I love being able to see all my different shirts in the basket because surprisingly you can still recognize them pretty well so it's a fun walk down memory lane!
I also made a second basket with all my non gray/blue shirts but the colors are intermixed together instead of in organized rows. For this basket I decided to cut strips that were only as tall as my shirts so that the colors would blend together better. I think this basket would look great for kids toys/laundry and I just have it in a guest bedroom closet because I've noticed a lot of our guests do laundry when they are here.
I'm super happy with the new usefulness of my tshirt collection!! Make sure to tag me on insta if you make your own basket!!