“Tips, Tricks, & DIYs from a not-so-adult twenty-something”

 

Maybe you’ve collected too many free event t-shirts over the years. Maybe you have a few old favourites that didn’t survive your freshman 15. Whatever the reason, we are all guilty of having old shirts lying around that we just don’t wear. Here are a couple ways to breathe new life into them (and save some of your hard-earned money).

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Too-Big Tee to Racerback Tank

This is a great project for oversized touristy or vintage tees, tie-dye projects gone wrong, or anything in-between! In my case, it was an oversized shirt from a workplace!

Before 2After 3After 4

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies needed: scissors, chalk or a washable marker, needle and thread (optional)

1. Lay the shirt on a flat surface and make 4 marks – one around the neckline, one around each sleeve, and one along the bottom hemline. Cut along these lines. 
Step 1a Step 1b Step 1cStep 1 result

 

 

 

 

 

2. Trim the strip you cut off the bottom until you have a long, even strip about 2cm thick.

Step 2

 

 

 

 

 

3. Mark a line across the back of the shirt to connect the bottoms of the arm holes. This is where your racerback is going to start.

Step 3

 

 

 

 

 

4. Using the strip from Step 2, tie a simple knot along the line connecting the bottoms of the two arm holes. Readjust as necessary. Continue tying knots up the back of the shirt until satisfied. Simply trim the strip and tuck the excess strip into the knots. It should end up looking like this. 

Step 4 Step 4 result

 

 

 

 

 

5. Either trim the excess fabric at the top of the knot to get rid of bulkiness OR stitch the excess fabric flat for a thicker racerback top. Trim any excess fabric for fit.

Step 5a Step 5b

 

 

 

 

 

 

Result:

After 4 After 3 After 2(1) After 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scallop Hem Dress

I made this with one of my favourite shirts from years ago that I couldn’t bring myself to give away. Now, it’s my niece’s new summer dress! This is great for resizing a shirt that is too big, or for making a cute gift for a kid in your life.

Before 1 After 1 After 3

 

 

 

 

 

Supplies needed: scissors, chalk or a washable marker, needle, thread

1. Lay the shirt on a flat surface and make 3 marks – one around each sleeve, and one as a scalloped line along the bottom hemline. Cut along these lines.

Step 1

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mark a horizontal line across the back – this is where your gathering is going to be.

Step 2

** For a dress, aim to put the gathering at the waist area. This will leave extra room above and below for the bodice and the bum!

** If you’re feeling adventurous, put the gather on the side, higher, lower, or wherever! DIY-ing is all about experimentation – do what you want and if it doesn’t work out, your best friends are stitch rippers and a good pair of scissors!

 

3. Using a needle and thread, sew a wide, loose stitch along the line, making sure to only go through the back layer of the shirt. Start from the inside of the shirt to ensure that the starting knot is hidden. It should look something like this. 

Step 3

 

 

 

 

 

4. Gently pull on the thread to create a gather.

Step 4

 

 

 

 

 

5. When you are happy with the gathering, use the same needle and thread to sew the layers together. Depending on how thick your fabric is, this could be tough. Be patient as you want to avoid bending the needle. It should look like this. 

Step 5 result Step 5

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus step: If you’re feeling crafty, use the excess fabric from the sleeves to make a bow or flower to cover the stitch on the back or to add a little texture to the front.

 

Result:

Before 2 Before 1After 2 After 1

After 3