Thursday, April 22, 2010

Easy Girly T-Shirt Resize

I've always stayed away from resizing shirts because adjusting the sleeves is usually a pain.  A while ago, I bought a stack of T-shirts at Goodwill for 1/2 off a while back.  I wanted to use some of the purple from one of the T-shirts for this applique, but of course I wanted to take it from the shirt in such a way that I could maximize the project potential for it.  Firecracker LOVES purple and with the Girly logo on the shirt, I thought it would be a shame to just cut it up.  I decided I'd try to redesign it with cap sleeves and see how it went.

It turned out to be WAY easier than I thought.  For this kind of redesign to work though, you'll need a T-shirt a couple sizes too big.  This one was a child's size 8-10 and my daughter is wearing 5T right now.  I started by finding a shirt about the size I wanted the finished one to be.  (If you want more details about how I did the poodle applique you can check out this post.)

I folded them both in half down the middle and made sure that the tops of the shoulders matched up pretty well.
Then I drew a line from the armpit of the "pattern" shirt to the hem of the purple shirt, so it would be more full on the bottom.
Then I transfered the markings to both sides of the shirt.

For the next part, I'm going to tell you how to do it in a slightly different order than I did.  I sewed the side seam next because I thought I was going to have to totally reset the sleeves.  Instead, I recommend that you remove the sleeves next, so you hae them out of the way.  Use a seam ripper or small pair of scissors to remove the sleeves without cutting the fabric.
Then sew down side-seam lines you drew.  (Ignore those shoulder seam lines you see...I ended up not needing them.)
Then I tried it on Firecracker to make sure I liked the shape and I trimmed the sides a little more than a 1/4 inch away from my seam.
 At this point, you should have a smaller arm hole.  Because the T-shirt was a couple sizes too big in the first place, the shoulders should come out farther than they need to...and serve as cap sleeves without modifying them.  Now we're going to hem the arm hold opening wiht a zigzag stitch to make a ruffled hem.  Because of the way the grain (fabric direction) is it won't be as ruffled as the bottom will be, but it will still ruffle a little.  You'll want to do a tiny bit of straight stitching at the beginning and end to secure them.  Then, set your zigzag fairly wide, but keep your stitch length really short...almost to 0. 
As you stitch, you want to pull and stretch the fabric as much as you can.  The more you pull it, the more it will ruffle.
 When you're done it should look something like this.
Now we just have to hem the bottom.  You could keep the original hem if you wanted to, but Firecreacker has fallen in love with ruffle hems since I started doing them.  I just cut the old hem off using the stitching lines as a guide to keep it straight.
Then sew another ruffle hem on the bottom, same as you did for the arm holes.
Then you can let her out to play in her new shirt.
And if you're lucky, you might get her to sit still long enough to get a picture that isn't blurry.
You like the capris?  They're made out of a T-shirt too...and a tutorial will be coming soon!


  1. Looks great! Love the way you finished the edges! Thanks for linking to Make It Wear It!

  2. Darling! I can see why she likes it so well. I wonder if I could resize some of my old favorite tee-shirts, now that I'm a little smaller myself?

  3. That is adorable. Your refashions are truly amazing. I am a bit intimidated, but with your tutorials, I might just try one! Thanks for stopping by my blog- your hungry caterpillar was just perfect and I just wish I had found it before my daughter's party ;)!

  4. So cute! I wish sewing didn't scare the daylights out of me! You are talented!

  5. I have a link party on Tuesdays and would love to have you stop by!


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