Thursday, February 21, 2013

Boxy Mens T-Shirt Refashion Tutorial

Man, am I obsessed with taking my old tees and finally making them into something more flattering that I can wear.  I like this style a lot with the wider neck, slim cut and banded hem so lately, all my refashioned tees as of late are the same style. 

 This is my first sewing tutorial so I wrote it out so a beginner can hopefully use it too :)  I hope these directions are clear.  If not, please let me know. 

Materials needed:
The boxy tee you want to refashion
Your favorite shirt
Knit fabric 
Sewing machine :)

1.  Flatten out the shirt you want to remake and smooth out the wrinkles as much as you can.  This helps to make sure the cuts are more even for the front and back.
Ignore the wrinkles on my shirt. 
 2.  Once your shirt is smoothed, cut open the sides.
The sleeve to your left wasn't sewn smoothly by the manufacturer
3.  Bring the top layer up so the bottom is exposed and smooth out the wrinkles on the bottom.  Lay the front back down and smooth out again. I know this step seems redundant but trust me.  Sometimes, after you cut the sides and smooth each layer, you'll notice the fabric is uneven.  
I don't think you really need to see a picture of the bottom layer wrinkle free but I like a picture with each step :)
FYI, I don't think t-shirts are made perfect.  It seems like t-shirts do not have sides seams and are not always sewn smoothly by the manufacturer.  I've noticed with some shirts that no matter how even it looks after you smooth it out, once you cut the sides and smooth again, there's always excess fabric on the back layer.  It's almost like more fabric was used for the back than the front.  The first couple of shirts I made ended up a bit more on the snug side because I didn't realize the shirts were manufactured unevenly. 

4.  Lay your favorite shirt on top of the boxy tee, placing the collars as close together as possible.  If you like the length of your favorite shirt, use it as the guide to how long you want your refashioned tee to be.  Keep in mind, we will be adding about two inches or so to the cut hem with a banded hem.  I like my shirt pre-band hem to hit right over my pooch so the finished product is a little bit longer.

Save the bottom strip if it's at least 3 inches tall.  If not, discard or save for a future project

5.  Using your favorite shirt as a guide and giving an inch seam allowance, cut the sides off and part of the sleeve off.  I like my sleeves to be more slim fitting so if you like more arm room, you may want to measure first how big you want your sleeves to be and make the cut accordingly.  

I placed the cut strip from the left side on top of right side to use as a guide for a more even cut
Your shirt should look like this now:

6.  Now for the collar  Keep in the mind, the wider the cut, the wider the collar will be.  I like my collar on the wide side so if you don't, you can use the existing collar as a guide.  It's easier to snip a little more off to make it wider than vice versa :) 
Cut the collar off!
 7.  Now for the banded hem.  If the strip from the shirt is at least 4 inches in height, perfect! If not, cut two strips from your knit fabric the same width as the bottom of the shirt but 4 inches high. 
Cut the strip the same size as the bottom of the shirt.
8.  Sew up the short ends so you end up with a tube.  At this point, the tube will end slightly smaller than the bottom of the shirt.  This is what you want. 

9.  Now you open up the tube and fold the top edge to meet the bottom edge.  Like this:

You want your band to be slightly smaller than your shirt.  

 10.  Flip your shirt inside out and starting with one sleeve, match up the edges so they are even.  Using a straight stitch, starting from the sleeve, backstitch, sew down the shirt and backstitch again.  Do the same for the other side. 

I forgot to take pictures of this step but your shirt should be inside out before you stitch so ignore the fact this picture was taken after it was sewn :)

 11.  Flip your shirt right side out again.  This is what you should have now:

Now, take the tube and place it outside the tee where it's "hugging" the shirt.  Like this:

Pin the tube seam to seam with the shirt and center to center.  You should have some loose fabric from the shirt in between the pins.  Using a zigzag stitch, sew the edges together, while stretching the band to "fit" the shirt.  

If you are using the tube made from your shirt, place the visible hem facing out.  Once the tube is sewn on, it will end up on the inside :)

This is what you should have now: 

12.  Iron the hem to flatten it out some and you are done!

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  1. just curious as to what brand and cut is your favorite shirt?

    1. Hi Ami! I don't have a particularly favorite brand as long as it's comfy. I take the mens tee as they are but my favorite shirt in the tutorial is the Mossimo brand from Target. It's super comfy and the length is perfect.

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