Sunday, March 7, 2010

reduce, reuse, refashion.

K, I'm going to attempt a tutorial. I tried doing this with actual photos of the process, but it was really confusing. INSTEAD you get my AWESOME drawings. Lucky.

I've recently figured out how to alter a regular old unisex t-shirt into a cute, fitted girl t-shirt, and I want to share it with the world. Because seriously, it's changed my life. I feel like my clothing options have expanded drastically. I've always had shirts that I wanted to wear but never would because they made me feel like a boy. And I have issues with this since as a little girl I had short hair and was mistaken for a boy CONSTANTLY. Ask me if my mom let me get my ears pierced because of it. NO. (It's ok Mom. I forgive you.) (She's totally going to call me about this.) So now that I have short hair again, I'm EXTRA careful about my clothing choices. You see, I don't exactly have a figure that screams, "I'm a girl!!" Bummer. So here's the shirt that I used for the tutorial - but you only get to see the before and afters of it. Before:

I KNOW. You're totally jealous that you don't own this shirt. It is awesome. But it didn't look good on me as you can see in the picture below:

I totally look like a boy.
Cue tutorial:
(And I'd like to thank my half circle wrap skirt for being such a lovely backdrop.)
First you're going to lay your shirt flat and smooth it all out so that everything is symetrical. There may be seams on the side of your shirt, and there may not - You're going to cut, starting from the bottom, up the side seam or fold all the way to the armpit seam. (Common sense: Note that once you do something on one side of the shirt, go ahead and do it on the other side.):
Now you're going to make sure the front and back seams between the sleeve and the body of your shirt are one on top of the other. Now starting at the armpit you're going to begin cutting the sleeve off. You'll want to follow a similar curve as the exsisting seam, but you want to curve in closer to the neck so that when you sew your sleeve back on, it will sit on top of your shoulder rather than hang off it. You'll want to make a mental note when you try your shirt on before you start cutting of how much you need to cut in on this step. Remember to consider seam allowances (I always just line my fabric up to the edge of the presser foot). You're cut should look like this:
After you cut off you're sleeve you're going to lay it flat and cut off the seam that lays under your arm. This is another thing you'll want to note when wearing your shirt before cutting - How much you need to take the sleeve in. I didn't need to take in too much - I didn't want it too tight - so I just cut a little off either side of the seam as in the picture below:
Once you've cut that seam off your sleeve you'll be able to open it up and lay it flat. You'll now cut the top shoulder seam off. This is where you decide if you want your sleeve a lot shorter. I didn't want mine too much shorter so I just cut a little below the seam line. If you want them shorter, cut an inch or two below the seam line following the exsisting curve of the seam:
Now you'll fold your sleeve in half and find the midpoint on the shoulder. You can mark it with something, or you can just pinch it and hold it till the next step:
Now you're going to open the shirt up and lay it flat so that the back of the shirt is above, the neck hole is open and flat, and the front of the shirt is below as you see in the picture below. Now take the midpoint on the shoulder of the sleeve and pin it to the shoulder seam on the shirt. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are facing each other. Line up the edge of the fabric on the sleeve to the edge of the fabric on the shoulder as you see in the picture (I really hope that makes sense!). Now you're going to sew the sleeve back onto the body of the shirt. You'll probably want to pin the sleeve down first. I like to start sewing at the midpoint on the shoulder of the sleeve first. Sew all the way to the hem of the sleeve, cut the thread, and then go back up to the midpoint and sew the other way. This way you know your sleeve is even on the shirt. Before you begin pinning it will look like this:
You'll see that since the sleeve is smaller than it was before, it's not going to reach all the way to the armpit of the shirt. I like to stretch the sleeve just a little bit while I sew as I get closer to the armpit. I don't know if it makes much of a difference, but that's what I do. Once you've sewed the sleeves onto the shirt it will look like this:
Now you're going to turn your shirt inside out so that the right sides of the fabric are facing(You're almost done!!!!). Match up the hem on the sleeve like in the picture. Begin sewing up the sleeve to the armpit. Once you get to the armpit seam put your needle all the way into the fabric right on that seam and stop sewing. Lift up the presser foot and adjust your shirt so that when you begin sewing you'll be going in a straight line all the way down the shirt. Don't mind the excess fabric from where the sleeve didn't reach all the way. You can cut that off later. If you need to take in alot on the sides just sew straight down. What I like to do is very gradually sew a little bit closer to the edge of the fabric so that when I get to the bottom hem of the shirt my fabric is right on the edge of the presser foot, like on the right side of the shirt on the picture below. If you can see that the front and back of your fabric aren't going to meet perfectly go ahead and stretch whichever one is too short just a little bit so that they meet at the bottom:
Flip your shirt right side out and you're done!!:
I've done this three times so far and I feel nervous everytime before I try my shirt on once I'm finished. So far I haven't had any problems, so hopefully it works for you too!! Here's my after shot (and the mess that is my sewing room right now):

Totally a girl. This is my new favorite shirt. I've owned it for probably 5 years and have never really worn it. Now I feel like it's brand new!! Horray for free clothes! And recycling!

If anyone out there does this I want to see pictures. And hopefully my instructions aren't total crap. Good luck!


Shannon said...

ummmm I have a lot of clothes that make me look like a guy...wanna do that for me????

MaryPosa said...

This would have been ridiculously helpful for me about 4 years ago when all I wore were band t-shirts. Unfortunately now i'm a little too chunky to rock the cute-girl-tee. That and i'm not *supposed* to wear t-shirts to work (whatever.)

Kristine Pratt said...

Paul loves the shirt! He is still giggling!

Jael said...

You do not know me, but I just want you to know that you should post more tutorials. Like how to add a cute neckline to one of these shirts. :)