Upcycled Baby Bodysuit: Reds T-Shirt

Reds t-shirt made with an upcycled baby bodysuit.

I recently endeavored to upcycle an old baby bodysuit. I have reinvented a dress into a skirt. And, I’ve ungendered kids clothes before. I love doing this because I’m conscious of the fast fashion versus slow fashion issue, but also kids grow fast, so I have a lot of good (okay, maybe slightly stained) baby and kids clothes. Not to mention, I enjoy a good sewing project!

Living in the Greater Cincinnati area, my kids are default Reds baseball fans. It’s a thing to wear Reds gear on opening day (March 29, 2018). I’ll never forget my first opening day. I was wearing red Converse sneakers (because I worked at a design/branding agency) and a guy in the elevator as I rode up in the morning commented, “I see you’re wearing your shoes for opening day.” I had no idea what he was talking about. I can’t remember if I just agreed to be agreeable or asked him to explain.

Because kids are always growing, they can’t necessarily wear the same Reds t-shirt year after year. Here’s where the upcycling comes in. I took a Reds baby bodysuit that had a few smudges and cutout the graphic and appliqued it onto a new t-shirt!

Here’s what I did.

The baby bodysuit. There are smudges on it that the camera didn’t quite pick up.

After choosing the bodysuit, I went to my nearby craft store and purchased a red t-shirt. This is probably a no-no if I want to truly upcycle old baby clothes. To be pure, I would have found a red t-shirt at a thrift shop. Oh well, I’m trying!

New red t-shirt. I washed it first, because I wash everything first.

Next, I ironed some fusible web to the backside of the image on the bodysuit and cut it out.

Fusible web being ironed onto the backside of the graphic.


I wasn’t completely sure how to center the Reds applique. My ruler was handy, so I placed it right at the armpits and then had a way to center the applique both horizontally and vertically.

Ruler placed from armpit to armpit to help find the “center.”

I then ironed on the applique. Now, while I was ironing, I forgot where I was for a moment and started going to town on the applique with the hot iron. Um, that graphic is a rubbery paint. So, yes, it got a little messy. Thank goodness I came back to earth and placed a cloth between the graphic and the iron. (Reminder for next time!)

Finally, I zigzag stitched around the perimeter of the applique to really secure it.

Quick zigzag stitch. Bonus! I already had the red thread!

Voila! A brand new Reds t-shirt ready to show some team spirit! My kid has already worn it once and it washed well. Huzzah! Go Redlegs!


The final product: Kids’ Reds t-shirt ready for opening day.

Ungendering Kids Clothes

A perk of freelancing is the pockets of free time here and there. Some hours I spend researching leads or on “professional development”–that is, learning new skills or keeping my skills sharp. Other hours I spend on projects around the house. This is one of those projects.

I had a daughter. Then I had a son. Little kids require a lot of clothes. Not because they wear them out, but rather they outgrow them so quickly. Also, it’s hard to resist buying cute outfits. It bothers me, all these clothes. I want to get as much use from them from them as possible.

Take a stroll through any kids clothing section and you’ll see there aren’t too many gender-neutral options, even for the itty-bitties. (I think the obsession with knowing the gender of babies before birth is contributing to this.) I have a few pieces of my daughter’s clothes that I have identified as gender-neutral. There are also some pieces that can be ungendered: the “girly” parts can be removed.


First up, this striped shirt dressed up with a bright fabric flower. Two minutes with a seam ripper and it was done!

Next this piggy pajama shirt. That teeny bow at the neckline was a beast to remove! There are matching pants to this, but they didn’t have any bows to remove. I think some of the pigs in the pattern are wearing bows. Whatever, these are pajamas. No one should care.

Then there were these jeans. I removed the pink bow and the heart-shaped pockets (kids don’t need pockets, anyway). Little did I know that the pockets would reveal identically shaped spots of darker dye. There’s also pink stitching. Oh well, washing should help the heart-shapes.


I also did this. My husband had a hole in a shirt, so I removed all the buttons. You never know when you’ll need a replacement button!

Now, back to my regularly scheduled professional development. Ha!