I bought this new t-shirt at a charity shop some time ago. It was clearly a promotional item which had been surplus to requirements. The logo wasn’t too large so I imagined it eliminated in some way. The white colour meant I could use anything out of my stash for the fix.
I have done a previous refashion of a logo t-shirt where I basically just sewed fabric over the top of the logo then but there were no fit issues. This new one was XL and the shoulders and neck were over sized for me.
Plan was to convert this garment to a raglan neckline, with a kind of crescent covering the logo which would extend over the raglan sleeves. I could also use the raglan fit to make the shoulders and neck smaller at the same time.
As with virtually every refashion I have ever done, the process was much longer and more involved than anticipated. Firstly I cut off the existing sleeves, so far so good, so easy.
Next I wanted an easy raglan pattern to use to shape the top, and printed out the easy breezy tee from always autumn. This pattern featured a sleeve which was in two halves, I didn’t want that and re-drew it with a straight line so it could be cut on the fold.
For the crescent shaped cover up I selected this bright orange striped t-shirt, a longstanding inhabitant of my re-fashion pile.
I cut the raglan shape on the body of the t-shirt positioning the crescent as low as possible but leaving the neckband intact with the intention of sewing it back on again later. I made the basic mistake of cutting the back and front the same when the back should have had a higher neckline. I decided to ignore the mistake and carry on, hoping I could just get away with a lower neckline at the back.
This t-shirt would probably have looked better if the whole of the cover up shape had been cut in one sweep but I was concerned about my ability to pull this off and decided instead to split the sleeve into 3 pieces with the middle section being the contrast fabric which seemed like a simpler operation.
It was in fact a close call to get the new sleeve out of the old one even with the middle section cut from the striped fabric.
With much tacking together and trying on the thing was eventually sewn up.
The now overlarge neck hole was too wide for the original neckband so I decided to keep it flat at the front and gather it through the back.
I tried it on back to front as well and quite liked the look, so by accident of cutting the wrong neck shape I had made the garment reversible.
Bonus comment – wastage
I have heard some stats lately that home sewers waste around 30% of their fabric. When I have waste from any white fabric like this I cut it up into small pieces and use them as make up wipes ( I used to buy cotton wool balls) There wasn’t much white waste from this project but I still ended up with a dozen new wipes.
I bought this t-shirt for £3 at a local charity shop, looking for something in a neutral colour to make into a layering item and this fitted the bill.
Its a men’s large by Farah, 100% cotton, made in Turkey. The fabric is a good weight, slightly thicker than any t-shirt I currently own and a nice grey marl.
The plan was to make it into a short sleeved cardigan. First thing was to cut off the excess length.
The cut off piece was to be used as a button band, cut in half and folded over.
Second cut was straight down the centre front.
Then I folded my button band ie the bottom of the t-shirt, over the cut edges of the centre front. I was worried about stretching so sewed a piece of woven cotton from a men’s shirt as an interfacing.
I had to finish the top and bottom edges of the button band with a bit of hand sewing, but this fabric takes that well, the stitches almost sink into it.
It was still looking a bit masculine so I chose some feminine buttons from my stash to complete the cardigan. Making the buttonholes was a bit traumatic as the band was quite thick and the button hole foot was reluctant to tackle it.
The cardigan is still quite plain looking and I am resisting the urge to add some colour.
Bonus feature – Using fabric to update bathroom drawers
I painted these MDF bathroom drawers and added fabric to the top and sides with diluted PVA. The glue binds the fabric and there is no fraying whatsoever.
To protect the top I cut a piece of plastic (salvaged from another item of Ikea furniture) with a handsaw and glued that on, also with PVA, my new favourite liquid .
I bought this t-shirt at the same car boot as the last refashion for the same price ie £1.50.
Again its from Marks and Spencer but the fabric is not 100% cotton there is a 3% elastane content and is quite lightweight.
The neck binding is narrower than the previous one.
I was inspired to try and re-create this refashion
Several fabrics were auditioned as possible bibs. I toyed with the many doilies and embroidered mats in my collection, and some purple and gold Dutch wax, but eventually settled on this magpie printed stretch fabric.
Its more like trousers weight and possibly wouldn’t sag at the neck end of the bib, but mostly chose it because the magpie pattern looked best for a good contrast with the purple.
There were the same fit issues sorted in the same way as the first t-shirt tart up and I also cut the sleeves shorter.
A paper pattern got the size and placement of the bib right – I was making my neckline higher than the inspiration – then I cut out the fabric shape adding seam allowances.
Now it looks to me like the inspiration re-fashion has been made by cutting a big U shape in the t-shirt, bias binding the complete new neckline edge, then sewing the bib on underneath.
I wanted to sew my bib to the t-shirt as the first step, not cut a big hole – I was just worried that a t-shirt with a huge neckline cut into it would be difficult to keep in shape.
I hemmed the top of the bib then sewed it onto the t-shirt – it looked quite good although this stored up trouble for later when it came to binding.
Because I sewed the bib on before binding the neckline, they do not line up perfectly, so I had to snip the neckline and fold it under a bit where it met the top of the bib.
A sleeve remnant cut up into a continuous strip was used like bias binding to bind the neck (but not the bib)- it looked OK.
There was still something lacking, so I went to the shops and bought a couple of metres of rick rack to outline the bib and cover up a bit of untidiness.
Went with the red, white and blue, I liked it more and it was a bit wider.
This humble old fashioned trim did a decent job of outlining the bib and went round the U bend without any drama. I sewed it on using the walking foot to cope with the multiple layers, and abandoned pinning, just sewed very slowly.
There was some rick rack left over – should I trim the sleeves with it? – go on then.
Finally I cut off the excess t-shirt fabric from behind the bib.
Here’s the finished product:
Bonus feature – the out takes
Here are some of the alternative bib fabrics that failed the audition
Before buying the rick rack, I hand sewed on this cording from my stash. I think it was originally the handle of a gift bag or something like that, I see potential haberdashery items everywhere. The colour was good but it was a bit too short and starting to unravel, and I wasn’t happy with the way it had gone on. Sometimes commercial products developed over decades can work better than improvising with a gift bag handle.
I bought this t-shirt from a local car boot sale. I think it was £1.50.
I have a lot of patterned clothes, so needed some plain colours to go with the patterns, This was the idea behind my purchase.
Its a standard 100% cotton Marks and Spencer Woman brand t-shirt, made in Bangladesh. There were no tags but no visible wear.
The size was a little bigger than I normally wear so first thing was to take the waist in with a simple seam alteration.
The shoulders were also slightly large, making the neck hang too low.
To fix this I opened up the shoulder seams and re-sewed them taking an extra inch off. The effect was to pull the neckline up to the desired height.
I sewed the new shoulder seams back onto the sleeves which left me with a little point where the shoulder seam met the sleeve. Some tutorials suggest re-setting the sleeve but I found that in this case, smoothing out the point with a short line of stitching did the job satisfactorily.
I also had to cut a half inch strip off the back of the neckline, including the ribbed binding, as there was now surplus fabric there
The sleeves were shortened by half and then a bit more.
Having been through a piping phase last year I am now going through a bit of a bias binding phase.
I had this square of fabric, given free with a magazine, which seemed to co-ordinate well with the colour of the t-shirt. When I say I want plain coloured clothes I don’t mean completely plain, obviously. The plan was to make bias binding with the patterned square and bind the sleeves and neckline. This was more or less the suggestion made by the magazine as a use for this free square of fabric, except they added a decorative pocket as well.
I used this tutorial to make continuous bias binding from the square of fabric.
Binding the sleeves was quite straight forward. I machine sewed it all and the 2nd line of stitching was in the ditch on the right side. Looking at this close up photo of the binding the ditch stitching looks really obvious but its actually not that noticeable when worn. It did make me consider hand stitching from the wrong side next time though.
To bind the neckline I used this tutorial which gives instructions how to machine sew the internal corner.
Here’s the finished product. If I’m honest the neckline does seem to have slipped back down a bit, which I am blaming on not stretching the bias binding tight enough on the back of the neckline.
It was a simple project and I’m sure the newly revamped t-shirt will get a lot of wear.
It was with something of a sentimentally heavy heart that I pulled this t-shirt out to refashion.
I was given it when working as a swimming judge in 2006 and my qualification has now lapsed, so the reality is its a t-shirt I have never worn and had largely forgotten about why am I keeping it?
There were 3 problems
The length, the neck, the logo.
It was a cheap thin cotton type shirt made from a tube without side seams.
I cut off the neck band which immediately released the neckline to a much better size.
About 5cm was also cut off the hem to reduce the length, and re-hemmed using a twin needle.
The strip cut from the hem made an ideal new neckband.
This scarf, a long time in my refashion pile was such a bright colour it could only go with something very plain. It was the exact right size to cover the logo and 3 sides of this slippery fabric were already hemmed.
I considered gathering the scarf in some way to use more of its length but rejected this idea and just sewed on over the top of the logo.
I cut a length of scarf to cover the logo, hemmed the edge and sewed it in place.
There was something not quite right. I probably hadn’t sewn close enough to the edge of the scarf.
Trialling some fancy stitches to see if there was something suitable to fill the gap I selected one, realising that if this looked wrong there would be no unpicking it, too many threads. Learning from past mistakes I know that some of these stitches can pucker up fabric which is a bit thin.
Thankfully it looked better, it sort of nailed the scarf to the t-shirt.
Finished t-shirt, I cut the t-shirt fabric from under the scarf panel.
Its maybe not my best make but still wearable.
Bonus feature: tailor’s clapper
Looking around the internet I noticed a feature about ironing seams using a tailor’s clapper – something I had never heard of, it’s basically just a shaped piece of wood.
In a nutshell, the article said that if you sit the clapper over a steamed crease for a few seconds the crease will be very long lasting, works for all fabrics.
This sounded too good be true but easy to test. I didn’t have a piece of wood but I do have a lot of books, and tested it out with the slippery scarf seam and a medium sized medium weight book. I can happily report that it worked like a dream.
Try it next time you’re ironing a crease.
I had some pink flowery stretch jersey fabric in mind to make up a top using the Walkley pattern, originally given free with a magazine.
This design is very simple, just 2 pieces the same back and front, but the boat neck was a bit too wide the first time I made it. Other users of the pattern had also reported the same problem of a too wide neck.
Some adjustments were made to the shoulders and neck on the pattern which made the neck narrower. Before cutting out my flowery fabric, which was a rather small piece with no room for error, I decided to make up a toile to test if the pattern adjustments had worked.
Using a men’s t-shirt from my stash the upper section of the design was constructed, up to just under the armholes. I am glad I did this because further modifications were needed to correct some gape at the neckline, job done.
After a few days had passed, I wondered if there was some way I could make this practice half piece into a wearable item. I found a turquoise t-shirt in my stash, cut out the bottom part of the design, and sewed it onto the top half.
Clearly this was never going to produce a perfect result because you would normally sew the pieces together to make a complete back or front first. What really spoilt it was that the top t-shirt had a small white stripe in it and the stripe placement at the join hadn’t worked out well. At first I tried to re-sew the top and bottom halves together along a stripe but this just meant one side of the t-shirt was longer than the other.
The only answer seemed to be to cover up the mess in some way.
I had noticed that a lot of items in the shops at the moment have frills sewn on in a late 70’s sort of way. A frill in the middle of my creation would do the cover up job perfectly.
I cut out a strip of fabric 4 in wide from the turquoise t-shirt , hemmed it, and stitched it on, pleating as I went along, to make a frill.
The result is erm.. acceptable, it is never going to be anything other than casual wear but too good to go in the bin, I don’t like to waste fabric if I can help it even if its just a couple of old t-shirts.
The frill placement is not quite straight, so it covers the white lines, but its not very obvious when its being worn.
Here is the other top, for which the one above was a practice. It is made up in a flowery stretch knit fabric, bought in Norway last year. Its a photo like cherry blossom print.
There was some urgency involved in its construction because I was on holiday with a friend when I bought the fabric and was meeting her again very soon, so I had to get this top made quickly if I wasn’t going to miss a showing off opportunity.