I had a few plain t-shirts and vests in my wardrobe and decided to use them to create a cover-up for the CRAFT Swimsuit Cover-Up competition on Flickr. Since this is my first sewing project, I'll tell you how I did it instead of telling you how to do it, because I'm pretty sure you know more than me about the best way of sewing this kind of thing! (And please don't look too closely at the stitching!)
First of all, I cut the t-shirts up so I had the fronts and backs of the tops all separated, then I cut them into random pieces and started to arrange them into a general rectangular shape. I tried to spread the colours out evenly, and I kept a few of the neck sections so the end result was a bit quirkier because you can see how it al originated.
My rectangle was about 1m x 1.3m
I tacked all of the pieces together roughly with cheap cotton thread, but I only needed to hem the edges I cut previously with scissors (you don't have to hem any edges that were already the hemmed edges of the tops).
I then used my trusty sewing machine to sew all of the edges together (in red thread). I used a straight stitch.
I had bought a length of stripey cotton material (cheap jersey) off Ebay, so I put the t-shirt section on top of it, and cut around the t-shirts, leaving about 8cm extra on each side.
(Just imagine the t-shirts are centred on the stripey material!)
Then, starting at the middle of the t-shirt section, I zig-zag stitched along most of the edges where the t-shirts meet (again), so that the t-shirts and backing fabric were attached together securely. This meant that the back of the sheet showed the outlined shapes of the t-shirts, which I think looks cool :-)
I then folded the striped fabric over the t-shirt section and hemmed it, making sure that all of the fabric was laid flat (so as not to introduce any folds/creases). I sewed along the inside edge in a zig-zag stitch. I did this for each side, making sure that each side was at right angles, and the same width of striped fabric was sewn over the t-shirts each time.
To keep the edge flat, I sewed along the outside edge too, as shown above.
Here you can sort of see the outline of the t-shirts in red thread.
The last thing I did was remove all of the yellow tacking thread from the material.
And this was the photo I entered in the contest, showing it being used as a swimsuit cover-up. It would be a pretty good towel after coming out of the sea too, as well as a beach rug or picnic blanket. I think it looks quite cool, even if I do say myself :-)