Day 2: How to repurpose your Palmetto apparel

“I would use it to keep my hair back when I’m playing [volleyball] or just a daily look for school spirit, like a pep rally – that would be cute.” Margaret Purser (11)

Marlowe Starling, Insight Editor

The beginning of each school year brings new apparel for students from the school store. It seems almost common knowledge that the trend fades away by the second quarter. By this time of year — especially for the easygoing seniors — those tees, jackets or sweats purchased in August are either sitting at the bottom of the laundry pile or stashed away somewhere deep in the back of a drawer. Before you decide to donate them to Goodwill or sell them at a garage sale, express your Panther pride in style. Here are a few ways to repurpose your Palmetto apparel, and for seniors, travel with the pride wherever your journey takes you.

For the following tutorials, in the absence of a hot-glue gun, liquid glue will suffice. Keep in mind that liquid glue takes longer to dry and tends to be messier.

The sling bag


  • Old Palmetto t-shirt
  • Additional t-shirt scraps (optional)
  • Scissors

Whether for school, work or travel, a nifty sack to keep all personal belongings in one place always helps. Avoid paying outrageous prices for simple bags in stores when you can create your own t-shirt tote bag.

Choose a favorite Palmetto tee you no longer wear. Cut off the sleeves, neckline and bottom hem. Use a pair of large scissors to cut fringe along the bottom of the shirt; be sure to cut the fringe evenly (try lightly drawing a line in pencil across the t-shirt, which will mark the bottom of the bag and how far to cut the fringe).

On the far left and right sides, tie two sets of fringe (a set consists of a front and back piece) together in a knot. Pull on the fringe pieces in order to make the fabric thinner and more stretchy. Then tie the front fringe to the matching back fringe counterpart for the length of the bag, and knot together any areas that seem to form holes in the bottom.

Alternatively, begin this process with the shirt inside-out in order to have the fringe on the inside of the bag for a less frilly appearance. Feel free to personalize, such as the bows I tied onto the “handles” (the shoulder pieces) out of t-shirt scraps.
The headband


  • Any Palmetto apparel with stretchy fabric
  • Tape
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Hot-glue sticks
  • Scissors

Battle the summer heat (and muggy weather) that plagues Miami each year with a headband to keep sweat and hair out of the eyes.

Cut three strips of an old Palmetto t-shirt (or multiple tees for a multi-colored headband) horizontally across the abdomen area. The width of each strip will determine the size of the headband. The length should be about twice the length around your head or wrist.

Lay them all on top of each other and hot-glue them together at one end. For those who know how to sew, sewing them together also works. As in the fringe for the tote bag, pull on the ends of the strips to make them thinner and tube-like.

Tape the glued based to a table or flat surface and braid the strips to the ends. Overlap the remaining parts of the strips and hot-glue them together.

Bring the two glued ends together and lay one on top of the other. Hot-glue them to each other. Cut a piece of t-shirt fabric wide enough to conceal the glued ends. Wrap this piece around them and glue it.

For a simpler and more trendy headband, simply cut a wide piece of an old Palmetto tee horizontally, producing a large oval shape. Twist into an infinity shape twice. Fold one loop over the other and slide over forehead with the knotted part in the front.

The redesigned rubber sandal


  • One pair of simple rubber flip-flops
  • Stretchy Palmetto apparel material (shirts work best)
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Hot-glue sticks
  • Scissors

Rubber flip-flops are the quintessential item for summers spent in Miami, but the rubber straps can often cause unwanted blisters when wet from surprise afternoon thunderstorms or seawater. Swap uncomfortable straps for stylish and stretchy ones with old Palmetto tees.

Cut off or yank out the plastic or rubber straps of the flip-flops. Carefully use a pair of scissors to carve out a slight indentation at the holes on the bottom of the shoes. This will prevent a lumpy bottom from the knots that will be tied beneath the holes.

Braid three long pieces of t-shirt fabric into a lengthy rope. The strips should be fairly thin. The entire braid should be able to wrap around the back of the heel and through the toes with enough room to knot the fabric through the top hole. The longer the strands, the less room for error. Take a light thread or string and wrap around each end of the braid in order to secure it.

Use the blades of scissors or any pointed object to help string both ends of the braided rope through the top hole, where the strap goes between the toes. Tie a knot at the ends of the braid, which will sit in the notch carved out earlier in the bottom of the shoe. Trim any fabric sticking out and hot-glue the two knots into the notch, pressing them into the rubber to secure them.

Cut two more strips of fabric that are slightly wider than those used for the braid. Form a loop with each strip and insert the ends into the two lower holes. Be sure to loop the fabric around the braided piece. This will keep the braided strap in place on your foot. Again, tie knots at the ends on the bottom of the shoe, trim off excess fabric, hot glue them into the notches and press them down into the rubber bottom.

Take a thin thread and wrap tightly around the two braided pieces coming from the top hole for about an inch or two. Knot the thread together to keep it tight. This will make it easier for the strap to fit between the toes.

Slide your foot into the sandal and pull the back around the heel to enjoy a more comfortable rubber flip flop. 

The keychain


  • Palmetto apparel with a logo or small graphic design (e.g. paw print)
  • Key ring
  • Cardboard or semi-thick material
  • Tape
  • Hot-glue gun
  • Hot-glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Pencil for tracing shape (optional)

Take your Panther pride with you everywhere on your car keys or bag with a makeshift keychain.

Use a somewhat small logo or letter from an old Palmetto tee, and cut it out into any shape. Place this piece on top of another area of the t-shirt and cut out the exact same shape. Cut out a smaller version of this shape with cardboard or a thick material (I used two pieces of cardboard from a cereal box and taped them together). Place this between the two pieces of fabric; to prevent the cardboard from slipping around, tape both sides to the two pieces of fabric.

Cut out a small piece of scrap fabric and fold in half to form a loop. Place the ends of the loop at the top of the keychain between the two pieces of fabric.

Carefully stitch or hot-glue the perimeter of fabric remaining around the cardboard area to seal the fabric together. Be sure to include the ends of the loop you inserted earlier. Attach a keyring to the loop.

The tassel-with-less-hassle keychain is a bit simpler. Cut out long strips of t-shirt fabric and fold them all in half in one large bundle. Tie them together with another strip of fabric. String a cord or thick piece of t-shirt through the loop formed by the folded-over bundle and attach a keyring.

The loyal wash rag


  • Any piece of Palmetto apparel

The simplest of all repurposing tasks is to transform an old Palmetto tee into a wash rag. Keep the tee as is and soak it in water and suds to clean windows, floors or cars as a memento of your alma mater.