August 13, 2011

T-shirt refashion tutorial

Ok! Here's my first tutorial. This is a shirt I made last weekend. After seeing a similar one on Pinterest, I just had to make it! So many of you were asking me how I made it, so here you go!

You will need:
     An old knit t-shirt (or a yd. of fabric will do)
     Coordinating fabric for the bow (2- 45"x 6" pieces)
     scissors (or rotary cutter)
     Straight pins
     3 safety pins
     Sewing machine (or needle & thread if you are up to a hand-sewing challenge!)
     Measuring stick/tape
     Iron (as in the clothes kind, not the metal kind...or the mineral kind)

This is what I started with: my husband's old t-shirt he was getting rid of. (It didn't sell in our yard sale, so I pulled it and a few other items out that I knew had good fabric I could re-purpose with)

I simply cut off the sleeves and the neck, making a big square

I wanted the shirt to be long enough, so I actually decided to make the words go along one of the side seams (you'll see later). Next, I held it up to me & measured how much fabric I needed for it to fit me, then cut the shirt again.

I made it about 23" long by 19" wide.

Next, I pinned a 1.25" hem at what I wanted to be the top of the shirt. (You can choose to iron your pinned hem if you'd like so it will better stay when you are sewing. I on the other hand iron as little as possible so I skip this almost every time.)
This is actually not a hem, but the tube your sash with fit through! Then I sewed it with a straight stitch (you could pick any stitch really) and black thread so the stitch wouldn't really show.

Once the tube was sewn, I set it aside for a while to work on the sash (bow) part of the shirt. I had a bunch of different fabrics I could use, but opted for a light pink satin. I thought this would soften the plain ol' knit fabric and make it feel/look a little fancier than it's used t-shirt counterpart.
For the sash, I cut two pieces of satin, each 45" by 6". Then I laid them out end to end to get one long piece that is 90" by 6". (Next time I might shave a couple inches off the length, but it is totally up to you and your preferences of how long you want your bow.)
Look at the Mai Mai "helping" me. Right before I took this picture, she was actually laying ON the sash *Sigh* She just wants to be with Mama I suppose :)

Next, I pinned the two pieces together with about 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance, right sides (silky sides) facing each other. This picture is when it was all spread out 90" long. To sew it, if you hold the pieces by the pinned part (so the length is only 45" long) you can easily sew the 6" seam.

Now don't be mad, because I don't have a picture of the next part, so let me paint a picture with my words...

Open the sash length so it is 90" by 6". Fold in half length-wise (hotdog style) :) so you have a 90" by 3" piece of fabric. Again, right sides facing, pin all the way down the 90" length. (I changed out my thread and bobbin & used white thread for this next part). Now STOP and read below before you sew:

*Now it is very important to make sure BEFORE you sew that you are sewing a long, 90" by 3" sash. DON'T fold it over and sew a 45" by 3" sash and then have to rip all the seams and re-sew, causing you to stay up until 2 am making this simple shirt...Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Ok, now that you've read the disclaimer, you may sew. You only need to sew the one long side, you do not need to sew the folded edge.

Now, what to do with the ends you ask? Why, I was just getting to that you fast learner you!
 Sew a diagonal stitch on one end like so:

There's one of two ways you can do this. You can sew the diagonal when you get to the end of sewing your long 90" seam, then cut off the excess fabric.
You can stop when you get to the end of your 90" seam, cut the fabric on a diagonal and sew along that diagonal line.

I think the latter is a little easier. For me, I can more easily CUT a straight diagonal than I can SEW a straight diagonal. But again, it's whatever you prefer.

Now what about the other end? You will eventually sew another diagonal, but for now, leave it open. You want a nice big opening to be able to turn the sash inside out. In fact, I left the end open, plus about 3 inches of the side seam. See?

Now get to turning that thing inside out! I did it pantyhose style. I held the open end with my thumbs and used my fingers to scrunch all the way down to the end. Then, I grabbed the other end and started feeding it out the opening. If you've ever turned a sock inside out, then you can do this. It's like turning out a giant sock...for a really long, skinny foot.

Now once you have that sucker turned inside out, you can hand or machine stitch it closed. I opted for machine because it was past midnight and my patience was in bed, like I should have been.

From there, I ironed the sash (I know shock! I actually used the iron! That hardly ever is evident by my occasionally wrinkly wardrobe. Whatever, it's my signature look)

You can see here, the big difference between ironing & not ironing

You definitely want to iron that baby flat.

Now you are finished with the sash! Hooray! Pat yourself on the back, make yourself a drink, grab some chocolate, and let's finish this thing!

Put a safety pin through one end of your sash, like so (really, there's no art to safety pinning anything, so there's not really a need for this picture. But for some reason I found a need for this picture, and not previous important pictures. That's how I roll.)

Now, remember that grey shirt we started a while ago, then neglected like...I don't know, something that gets neglected...I have nothing. Moving on!
I put the two pieces of shirt together (you guessed it, right sides facing), and safety pinned where I thought the armpit should fit. Just one pin on each side, and you can move them later. In fact, you'll probably move them later unless you're just totally amazing.

Then, I just fished the sash through the holes of the tube you made earlier.

Bring the sash through both sides of the shirt. The sash will make a U with one side having the loose extra ribbon flowing down.

Now put that sucker on! We are almost done!

Now if this isn't getting personal. You are witnessing my embarasing, ugly hall bathroom that I've yet to have time to remodel since we moved in; and my no makeup self at no way o'clock in the morning. I must really want you guys to get to know me on a deep level.

Back to business: See above how I need to move my pins? No biggie. After this picture was taken, I moved the safety pins to where I wanted the arm holes to be.
Now take it off. (You don't have to, but I've found that sewing is easier when it's off your body. Just sayin.)

I just pinned from the safety pins down to the bottom, switched my thread and bobbin back to black, and sewed up the side seams! (See how the words from the t-shirt are on the side seam? Just a little shift-a-roo!)

Once the sides are sewn, flip that shirt right side out, and then model it like so:


Now you may be thinking, "Wait! we didn't do anything with the arm holes or hemming the bottom!" And I'm saying, "You're dang right we didn't! That's how I planned it!"
Let me explain: being the novice sewer that I am, I picked a knit fabric. When you cut a knit and stretch it, it just rolls up. It doesn't fray or anything, so you don't have to hem or use bias tape or anything!
See? It's like magic :)

And this is me wearing it to church the next day.

And this is what Mailey did the next day with the scraps I left laying on the floor:
Was she excited about the project, or mad that I didn't let her help more? We may never know.

Alright folks! There she is! A wonderful idea of how to re-purpose a shirt you very well might have sitting around your house!

Check back tomorrow for my adventures of the Hwy. 127 yard sale-- the longest, most awesome, most dangerous yard sale in the history of the world...or at least the Eastern seaboard...of the United States.



  1. Wow! Super cute! You did an amazing job. I'd love for you to link up at my Tuesday Tutorials Link Party! :)

  2. This is really cute! I think I need one!

  3. Thank you so much for the compliments, you all are so sweet!
    I'll definitely see you over on

  4. VERY CUTE! Thank you for the great tutorial. I think the satin sash really "makes" the top. I can envision all kinds of cute fabric combos to make this in thanks to you! I saw your post over at "The Kurtz Corner".

  5. That is pretty much the cutest shirt ever! Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. Hey Andrea! Such a cute shirt! Enjoying reading your blog!

  7. Thanks for the great tutorial! I love this shirt and also have a similar one pinned to try.

    I would love for you to share at my link party going on right now at The Crafty Blog Stalker!

  8. Very beautiful! Great job! I am your newest follower. I woul to love to follow me back.
    Have a nice day!

  9. Maria- I'd love to! Thanks so much!

    Katie- I've posted at Thanks!

  10. Aw, such a cute transformation! And you are so adorable!

    By the way, I am hosting my very FIRST link party and I would love to have you link this to it--

  11. Thanks Lindsay! Love your site- I'll see you there!

  12. This looks amazing! Hard to believe it started out as a t-shirt! Love it!

  13. Looks awesome! Great first tutorial! Let's have some more! :)

  14. You are so talented! Good job it is so cute. Thank you so much for linking this up to mine and Lindsays Party Show and Share! Come on over and visit and follow me.

    A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW

  15. What a great idea! I might have to steal some of my hubby's old tshirts and make some for myself! I love it! GENIUS! I hope you will come link this up to scrappy saturdays over at this saturday :)

  16. Genius! I LOVE this tutorial.

  17. LOVE LOVE LOVE this shirt!! Wish I would have seen it in person! I want one! YEAH - AWESOME JOB!


  18. This is adorable! You did a fantastic job! Just wanted to let you know it'll be featured at this weekend's party on While He Was Napping. Come grab and featured button, if you'd like. And, I hope you'll share some more great projects.

  19. It looks amazing! Great job on your first tutorial!

  20. I LOVE this! I've been re-purposing my daughter's clothes, but it's great to have a tut for something for myself! Thank you!

  21. Hey I'm Kassandra! I featured this here at my blog. I hope you'll come by and grab a button!

  22. Thanks so much for the shout out Kassandra! I look forward to keeping up with

  23. Thanks so much for the feature on Krista!! I've got a button up on my featured page!

  24. Saw this on Frugal Friday Link Party!

    SO cute! Love the pink bow. Now, time to rummage through Husband's shirt drawer :)

  25. This is so cute. I love the transformation. Great job.


  26. Hello
    Just wanted to let you know that I have featured you on my blog. If there is anything you would like me to remove, please let me know


  27. Thanks so much Jennifer! I appreciate it!

  28. You've been featured! Stop by and check it out! I hope you'll link up again this week :)

  29. Thanks for linking up to Scrappy Saturdays, hope to see you back next weekend!

  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  31. If you have a shirt without any writing, you can cut off the sleeves but keep the armholes and the side seams. Then all you have to do it cut off right under the neck and sew your casing for the sash and you are good to go! So simple and so cute! Love this!

  32. Super cute. I bet I could use this for a jersey pillow case shirt.

  33. Really cute, I'm going to make one for my daughter ASAP! Excited to follow you...check out my blog...Whimsy Wees!

  34. You are sooooo funny , I may try this....I've never sewn, (sewed?), stiched anything!

  35. I tried this with my ho-hum VBS shirt. Used a cute striped grosgrain ribbon (1 1/2") instead of sash and made a super cute tank top! I'm re-fashioning my partner's shirt tomorrow! VBS Craft Leaders have never looked so stylish!

  36. Excellent tutorial and great looking shirt. Love your "expressions"...kept me laughing till the end.

  37. Thanks a lot, for today I will start to do it, love DIY projects with a cute dog detail.

  38. I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup? I'm assuming having a blog like yours
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  39. I just found your blog on Pinterest. I'm beginning to learn to sew, and this seems like something I could try! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Amanda @ Running In Heels

  40. Nice post, I bookmark your blog because I found very good information on your blog, Thanks for sharing more information Glamour Amour | Affordable Fashion Clothes | Online Clothing Store | Trendy Clothes For Womem


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