What to Do With Old Race Shirts

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I’ve mentioned before that my family has been going up to Mackinac Island for the 8 Mile race (and occasionally the Lilac & Great Turtle) for many many years. My grandpa made a comment at dinner when we were there for the Lilac race that he has so many race shirts that he doesn’t even wear. If you’ve been racing for a while you probably have some shirts you don’t wear anymore, right?! I know I do! Then it hit me! I was so excited…I had the *perfect* Christmas gift for my sentimental grandpa. A few months prior to this, I saw a picture on Instagram of someone holding up a blanket made of t-shirts by Project Repat. I bookmarked the company’s website so I’d remember it for the future, figuring I’d eventually use their services. I’m so glad I did because he loves personalย gifts and treasures things that bring back memories. My mom makes him a photo book every year filled with with pictures from the races we do together, trips to the cabin, holiday parties, etc. I asked him if he would care if I took his race t-shirts he doesn’t wear anymore and repurposed them for him for a Christmas gift. He agreed :). I can share this here because he just uses the computer for email and video chatting with family.

Here’s what I did to have the blanket made:

  1. I went to www.projectrepat.com and ordered the blanket. I had 16 shirts to work with, so I chose the “lap size”. They walk you through the process and you pick the color of fleece for the backing.
  2. I laidย out the shirts in chronological order and took a photo. If you don’t care about the order, you can just let Project Repat decide for you. (NOTE: they now charge a fee if you’d like them to follow a certain order)
  3. Printed the photo of the layout.
  4. Printed the email from Project Repat that stated to mail it in with the shirts.
  5. Boxed up the shirts and papers & mailed them in. It cost me about $19 to mail in the 16 XL shirts. I could have saved some money and cut the back of the shirt off, so the package would have weighed less. But, the time savings won and I just sent them in as is.

They sentย me an email letting me know they received the shirts, and about 2 weeks later I had the package in my mailbox. Pretty good turn around! I love the white shirt (non-race shirt) he decided to throw in there with a quote. “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” Oh so true!

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Things to make note of:

  • They give you 90 days to mail in the shirts, so if you won’t have all the shirts you need for it in that window of time hold off on ordering.
  • If the shirt has something printed on the backside too, Project Repat asks that you cut along the outside edge of the shirt so you can send in the one side of the shirt you’d like in the blanket.
  • If you want both sides then you still have to cut the shirt edge and include both sides in the box so there is no question as to what is to be included.
  • They have a video they want you to watch before mailing in the shirts that shows you exactly how to cut them. They do not want you to cut the shirts into the squares.
  • They accept t-shirts made out of all types of fabric. So no worries if you have some ‘technical’ / ‘wicking’ race shirts you’d like to use. They’ll work just fine!
  • They often have discount codes, so look for them before ordering & make sure you’re on their email list to be notified of special offers.
  • When I ordered mine, there was a date in mid-September that they said the shirts had to be in by in order to be guaranteed by Christmas. They were very quick with shipping, but just a warning if you want to do this as a gift you’ll have to do a bit of planning ahead to be on the safe side.
  • The stitching along the front side looked great, but the stitching on the backside was a little messy in spots but nothing too bad. Overall, I am happy with the blanket!

Here’s a picture of the stitching on the backside. It’s kind of difficult to see in the picture.

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There are other companies out there that do this same sort of thing, but I found Project Repat to have the best prices and it was a quick and easy process. You could obviously do this yourself if you had a sewing machine, but it’s just so much easier going this route! I have a stack of shirts in my closet right now that I’m saving for my own race shirt blanket, but I’m going to need a few more. I guess I better register for a few more races now ;).

Have you turned your shirts into a blanket or repurposed them another way?

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