Everyone has a simple T-shirt that is “just OK” — it’s a good color and fits well, but it’s just lacking style. Instead of dooming the top to the back of your dresser drawers, give it a new life! Here are three ways to refashion a T-shirt with a bit of personality.
Finish it with a contrast trim
This is a great fix for any T-shirt that might have shrunk in the wash and is now too short.
I removed the neck and sleeve bands and replaced them with a new edge finish in a coordinating fabric. Be sure to use a fabric with enough stretch to work with this type of neckband. For the bottom, I removed the hem and replaced it with panels of the coordinating fabric.
Add a sheer panel
A popular look in T-shirts lately combines a standard knit with a sheer or lightweight fabric to create a different look.
To add a sheer or contrast back panel to a T-shirt, start by marking a horizontal line a few inches below the armhole. Cut up the sides and across the back.
The seams on a T-shirt are often a bit bulky — since they are typically stitched on a serger — so cut the side seams off as well.
Use the portion removed from the back of the T-shirt as a template to cut out the inset fabric. Here is where you can make the design any style you want.
For this one, I cut the sheer knit wider than the T-shirt and so I could gather it when attached. You can also match the hem of the original T-shirt or create a different look — here it will be a high-low hem effect.
Place the new portion across the back cut edge of the T-shirt, having the new fabric extend about ½” past the corner created when you removed the back. It helps to stay-stitch the corners and then clip into each corner so you can sew the new portion along the side seams and back.
Create a diagonal color block
This is a great refashion for a top that has a hole near the hem — as the one pictured does — or one that has become too short.
Cut the bottom part of the existing T-shirt off at a diagonal. Start the diagonal about 3″ below the sleeve and mark and cut at a 45 degree angle toward the other side.
Use the bottom piece you cut off the T-shirt to create the new portion. You can have the hem of the new portion mimic the original T-shirt with an even hem of any length, or measure evenly down from the diagonal edge to create this high-low effect.
You can seam both sides of the new portion or cut one on the fold, eliminating one side seam.
Attach the contrast portion to your original T-shirt, sewing just up to the side seam. Then you can seam up the remaining opening, blending the contrast portion side seam into the original T-shirt seam.
Create Your Own Custom T-Shirts!
Mix and match knits to create T-shirts with stunning style! Sew knit tops that stand out with step-by-step guidance from renowned pattern designers Marcy and Katherine Tilton.