Upcycled T-shirt Mane

Don’t throw that tattered t-shirt away!  Upcycle it into a fun fringed mane (or tail) for your stick horse or horse plushie.  It isn’t limited to horses either!  It works well for any animal that needs a mane…like a giraffe too.  It also isn’t limited to t-shirts…a fleece blanket, etc, will also work well.  Basically any non-fraying fabric. 

It is easy peasy, even easier than making your horse with yarn mane.  All you need is an old knit shirt, it can be smooth or ribbed.  Of course you’ll need your scissors too.  …and you can feel great about incorporating something re-purposed into your project.

I’m making this mane for a donkey so I want it to be fairly short.  You can certainly make it longer, however, you may need more than one shirt depending on the size of the shirt.  For reference, I’m using a women’s size small for this project.

Step 1: Cut the t-shirt into strips across the width of the shirt.  I cut these strips/lengths to about a 4 inch width.

I used as much of the shirt as I could use in straight strips, this is all that was left.

Step 2: Cut fringes into each long strip, cutting almost all the way through.  Stop the cut about 1/4 inch away from the edge.  Cut the fringe strips to your desired width, I cut these fringes about 3/8 inch wide.  I used 6 layers for the mane.

Step 3: If you’re applying a forelock to your stick horse or plushie, you may need to do that separately from the mane depending on the design you’re using.  In this design there is a gusset for the head and the gusset ends where the mane begins so it is two separate pieces for the forelock and the mane.

I cut about a 3 inch slit in the top of the gusset where the forelock is placed, you can cut it longer or shorter as needed.  I baste stitched the layers of knit t-shirt together at the base to ensure none of it slipped.  Then sandwich it in between the two sides of the slit, fabric right sides together with the uncut end of the knit fringe strips toward the outside (what will be the inside of the horse).

Sew together using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance and taper the stitch to the fold on the fabric just beneath the slit.

Step 4: Place the mane into the horse’s head.

Baste stitch the lengths of knit fringe along the uncut edge to hold the lengths together.

Place the ‘bundled’ knit fringe lengths along the neck of the horse, on the right side of the fabric, with the uncut edge pointed toward the outside.

Sandwich it between the two layers of fabric, right sides together.


Step 5: Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance (or whatever seam allowance your particular project calls for).  Turn right side out and there ya go!

This is how it looks on my Classic Donkey stick horse!  I’d love to see your project!  Join my group on Facebook and share your project.

Here’s a great image for Pinterest!  Pin now and save this project for later.