The following is a post from contributing writer Jackie.
I have been in need of some new T-shirts, but I am too
cheap frugal to go out and buy myself anything new.
Recently, I was looking at a big bag of my old maternity shirts and had an idea. Why couldn’t I figure out a way to refashion some of my maternity shirts into shirts I can wear now? Can you say lightbulb moment?
My first attempt turned out so well I thought I would share the process with you.
- Maternity Shirt or Oversized T-shirt (Keep in mind that an oversized shirt will not fit as well in the shoulders and sleeves.)
- Sewing Machine
- Clear Elastic (optional)
1. Turn your T-shirt wrong side out and try it on. Determine how much you want to take off of the length and how much you want to take in on the sides. Stick a pin or two in the shirt so you know how much you want to cut off.
Take the shirt off and then use a ruler to help you taper the pins from the underarm area to the hem. Make sure that you take the same amount of fabric off on each side of the shirt. Use the pins as a guide for cutting.
2. Cut off the excess fabric at the sides and bottom being sure to account for at minimum 1/4 inch seam allowance.
The maternity shirt I was using was slightly longer in the front than in the back so I didn’t cut as much off of the back. Just make sure that the shirt is even at the top and side when you go to cut off the excess fabric at the bottom.
3. Pin the sides of the T-shirt and then sew them back together using a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch seam allowance. Then sew over the edges of the shirt using a zig-zag stitch to faux serge the seam. Alternatively, you can save yourself the extra step by serging the side seams.
Here is what my faux serging looked like on the side seams.
4. To hem the shirt, fold up the bottom towards the top 1/2 inch and pin in place. Remember that your shirt should still be wrong side out at this point.
I did sew an overcast stitch around the bottom of the shirt before I pinned the hem in place. Knit fabric doesn’t ravel so this isn’t a necessary step.
5. Sew the hem in place using a 3/8 inch seam allowance. I usually sew on the right side so that I make sure my hem is even, even if my folding wasn’t.
You can call your shirt done at this point, or you can use some of the scrap fabric to make a ruffled neckline.
6. Cut strips of fabric that are 1 inch in width. The T-shirt I used had a v-neckline so I cut 2 strips that were each double the length of one half of the neckline measurement in the front only.
Basically, you just need to make sure that you have enough fabric to cover the neckline taking into account that you will be ruffling it.
7. Set your stitch length to the longest it will go. Sew right down the center of the strips but do not backstitch at either end and do not cut the threads.
8. Pull on one of the threads at one end of the strips and carefully ease the fabric so that it ruffles as much as you want it to.
9. Pin the ruffled strips to the shirt.
10. Set your stitch length back to a normal setting and sew down the middle of the ruffles. I suggest going slowly during this step.
The ruffles added a fun detail and made the shirt less plain. I could have stopped at this point, but I decided to do one more thing.
11. Turn the shirt wrong side out and determine where you want to add gathers right under the bust line on the front side only. Take the shirt off and use a ruler to make a line of pins to use as a sewing guide.
12. Start sewing the elastic at one side seam using a triple stretch stitch or zig-zag. Stretch the elastic lightly as you sew in order to gather the fabric. The more you stretch the elastic the more the fabric will gather. Make sure that you only sew through the front of your shirt.
I did not give you an exact amount of elastic that you will need simply because it will vary from shirt to shirt. If you make sure you have at least one yard you should have more than enough.
At this point I finally decided to call the shirt done. I figured I had played with it enough.
This was a fun sewing project which yielded me a “new” shirt that didn’t cost me anything but my time. Do you have an oversized or maternity shirt lying around you could refashion? Let me know if you give this a try.