Thursday, August 25, 2011


"There's nothing I can see, but possibilities..."

It seems almost every time I go to an event I leave with yet another lousy t-shirt. They're always too big, and the neckline is always way too high so that it's practically suffocating me. I usually just dump these shirt in my pajama drawer, and occasionally wear them from the safety of my home where no one can see me. However the other day I  received my senior class shirt (final year of high school!). This is a shirt that I am going to want to wear in public to show my class pride. But one look at the dumpy shirt told me that I was not proud of it. 

[Insert before picture here]
(Sorry I never took a before pic, so I'm working on getting a pic of my friends identical shirt...)

First of all they ran out of smalls, so it's one size too big, and secondly those necklines annoy me to no end. There was only one solution: t-shirt surgery. Normally t-shirt surgery is just cutting and tying, but I decided to take my sewing skills and see what I could do. I have to say I'm pretty pound of the end result!

Do you want to know how I did it? Here's a little tutorial on how to do it sewing by hand or with a machine. 

What you'll need: 

1 awkward t-shirt

Needle and thread or a sewing machine. (make sure the thread is the same color as your shirt. 

1 foot of thin elastic 

A t-shirt that fits you (for reference)

fabric scissors

a sharpie

at least 20 pins

Once you have all of that, you are ready to begin!

Step 1:                                               lower the neckline. 

-Cut off the collar, just below the seam that holds it on. 
-fold the raw edged in twice so that no raw edges are showing.
-Pin as you fold so that it will stay in place as you go. 
(If using a machine pin the needles so that they are diagonal across your fold.)
-Sew all the way around using a small stitch.
When you're done it should look like this:

Step 2:                                                             The sleeves 
-measure 2 pieces of elastic so that they fit around your arm
-Sew a wide (about 1/2 inch) stitch all the way around the sleeve in the place you want it to gather.
(if you're using a machine set your stitch wider, aka a gather stitch)
-Pull on one end of the string so that it gathers.
-Pull until it is the circumference of your arm and the same size as the elastic you cut.
-Tie the ends of the string together so that it stays gathered. 
-On the inside of your sleeve pin the elastic where you gathered the sleeve.
-Using a tight stitch, sew the elastic on. 
If you wish you can now remove the thread you gathered the sleeve with.
When you're done it should look like this:

Step 3:                                                 Making the shirt fit!

-Put the shirt on (make sure you've taken all the needles out!)
-Use the sharpie to mark where you want the empire waist to be.
-Take the shirt off and cut all the way around where you marked
- Set the bottom half aside. 
-Take the top half and turn it inside out.
-Place the shirt that fits you centered (with the shoulders lined up) on top of it.
-With your sharpie outline under the arms and down the sides onto your half shirt. 
-The sharpie line that you drew is where you're going to sew. 
with a very tight stitch!
Once it is sewn cut off the excess fabric so that it looks like this:
-turn right side out.
-Try on, if it is still too loose, repeat.
-If you find that the shoulder line is too low on your arms do a gather stitch across the seam on top of your shoulders. Pull until desired length is achieved, then tie string in knots.
It should look like this when complete:

Step 4:                                                      The final step!!
-Gather stitch the top of the lower half.
-Pull until it is the same size as part you cut it from, then tie knots.
-Turn inside out and put around top half so that the sides you want to sew together are touching. Like so:
-Pin together, then sew with a very tight stitch .
-Sew to the opposite side of the edge so that when you flip it over your gather stitch does not show.
-Flip it over: and voila! you're done (:

Would you like more sewing tutorials? 

Are you going to try this one?


Rhfcjnrf said...

So creative! Great post! :)

Chloe Davis

Vicky Jazz said...

Awesome post I totally enjoyed reading this! <3 You should definitely do more sewing tutorials, as it's obvious you can design and sew really well! (: I love the T-shirt by the way, it's very cute! Wear it with pride, girl! ;D

juicy-much said...

That's just amazing! I'm definitely going to try it (if I find a suitable shirt ;p)! You should do more tutorials, they're simple & straight-foward!

evermore1girl said...

Your sewing skills are just spectacular. That was a great idea.

FashionFreak/Mihaela said...

i absolutely love your nail polish!
and that shirt too.
but, what nail polish are you wearing?
my blog♥mfashionfreak

Lia MacKenna / liajm said...

Thanks for the lovely comments!

@Michaela: The nail polish is "sinfulColors" and th color is called Mint apple. It kinda made me alugh that you zoned in on that so much (: I'm thinking of doing a little nail polish tutorial (with a trick!), so stay tuned.

juicy-much said...

That's amazing Lia!
I'll definitely try it if I can find a suitable t-shirt ;p
You should do more tutorials, they're simple and straight-foward, unlike those complicated one's on the internet ;]]

Anonymous said...

wow, i love it