General ramblings, My Make Do and Mend Year

T-shirt re-vamp

The recent sunshine has bought to my attention the fact that I own very few t-shirts.

The obvious answer is to go and buy some ‘new’ t-shirts from the charity shop, but that would involve trawling around the charity shops with two very bored, very fractious Smalls in tow.
AND I have a bag full of long-sleeved t-shirts sitting in the spare room patiently awaiting upcycling.

So upcycle I will!

This is the before


Ignore the creases….

it is a long sleeved top I bought from the supermarket (how times have changed-I don’t think I can ever go back to such cheap ‘newnew’ clothes even after the end of the year, after the tragedy of the factory collapse in Bangladesh) when I was pregnant with SmallSmall, so it was bought to be ‘roomy’.

I have never really liked the neckline, and I want a short-sleeved shirt, so I attacked it with some scissors!

I cut off the neckline by just carefully cutting away the hemmy bit.

I cut off the arms by folding it in half and carefully lining up the shoulder seams and the arms. I then cut a line perpendicular to the end of the sleeves at just below the armpit bit (does that make sense?)



And then finally I cut off the hem.

The wonderful thing about t-shirt/jersey material is that it doesn’t fray. And if you give it a bit of a pull, then the edges curl up and (I think) look kind of cool!


So I gave all the new raw edges a bit of a pull, and tried it on.
Little bit large and the neckline was a bit indecent low, so I decided to try and add some kind of darts or ruching (is that even a word?) to the neckline.

On my first attempt, I made 4 very rough darts, and sewed on buttons as I went to keep the dart in place.

This was ok, but I decided I needed bigger, braver darts. Cue a search through the sewing box for the stich ripper as I sewed my buttons on soooo securely..!

This time, I was sewing clever, and I actually pinned my darts first and then tried it on (I seem to never learn that short-cuts and sewing don’t really mix)

Once I was happy(ish) I re-sewed the buttons on and triumphantly wore my top that very day!

BigSmall took this!

BigSmall took this!
Note how the creases have almost dropped out by themselves…

Close up of the button/dart things cropped so as not to look like I have zoomed in on my chest...

Close up of the button/dart things cropped so as not to look like I have zoomed in on my chest…

This started off as a two minute re-vamp, and admittedly took a little longer than 2 minutes due to a bit of ‘un-sewing’, and there is a fair amount of wonk incorporated, but it was done in less than half an hour,while 2 Small people played lego, and ‘helped’ with the pins, and all before we left the house in the morning.

Give it a go-cutting up clothes and messing about with them is strangely liberating!


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  • Reply Zero Waste Week Day 3 | My Make Do and Mend Year September 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    […] (t-shirt yarn) and use them for crochet or knitting12. My woolly jumper to cardi upcycle13. Another t-shirt upcycle-again with […]

  • Reply Katrina Shaw June 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    It must be catching (or that time of year). I’ve be upcycling tops for this weather too! 🙂

    • Reply Jen June 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Hurray for upcycling!

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) June 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I’m going to look for a T-shirt i can give a makeover to then I can use off cuts to make a Fathers Day card with my Grandson. It will involve cutting out & sticking to card a mini size Daddy in jeans (cut out of off cut of denim) & T-shirt with a bit of wool for hair & buttons for eyes. I have cut a guitar out of a magazine as my son-in-law plays in a band. Using your glue recipe & some glitter to write DADDY …. I think it’ll turn out ok.

    • Reply Jen June 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      Your grandchildren are very lucky Vivienne, you do such lovely things with them 🙂

  • Reply Antonia June 6, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Looking good Jen!

    • Reply Jen June 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm


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