How Many Ways Can You Use a T-shirt?

Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

Mariela lays out a t-shirt to make into a diaper as Karen and Elena watch.

Mariela lays out a t-shirt to make into a diaper as Karen and Elena watch.

T-shirts fade and stretch, or shrink and get stained. Just how long is their lifespan? Women attending today’s workshop explored that question—not just out of curiosity, but out of true need. They spent two hours learning how to repurpose old t-shirts into baby caps, bibs, a nursing modesty cloth, and cloth diapers and sanitary pads that can be washed and used over and over.

Consider the economics of purchasing just one of these necessities on the island. A package of 40 the cheapest brand of disposable diapers costs the equivalent of about $7 US in Cozumel. If a family member is fortunate enough to have a job earning the full local

A purple t-shirt gets new life as a diaper.

A purple t-shirt gets new life as a diaper.

minimum wage, he or she brings home about the same amount in a day—$7. For an infant using 8-12 diapers a day, the cost is staggering—about one-fourth of the family’s income.

Imagine the resources saved by learning how to make these reusable diapers. Some of the workshop participants sewed by hand while others braved the unfamiliar electric sewing machine. They turned each t-shirt sleeve into a baby cap while the body of the t-shirt yielded one diaper and one pad.

Keeping the spirit of recycling, nothing went to waste. Even the hem that was cut off was put aside for later use.

8-month old Eliza models a cap and bib made from t-shirts with her cousin Sami.

8-month old Eliza models a cap and bib made from t-shirts with her cousin Sami.

“I might be able to turn it into a hair tie or a necklace,” Pastora Mariela said.

And then she turned back to her sewing, putting new life into an old t-shirt. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska

Rosalia and Perla made diapers they'll donate to a new mother.

Rosalia and Perla made diapers they’ll donate to a new mother.

 

 

 

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