Thursday, 16 August 2012

Refashion two tight t-shirts into one flowing top


I have been hanging on to these t-shirts for such a long time, waiting for the perfect refashion inspiration. Both t-shirts are lovely fabric, being from Metalicus, but both were too tight and showed off too many lumps and bumps for my liking. I've come across a few ways to loosen a tight t-shirt in blogland, but none that felt quite right for these tops. Then, the other day while I was browsing in the Metalicus shop, I came across this and the creative lightbulb went on!


The dress had diamond-shaped inserts at the sides with pockets set in to widen the bottom of the, otherwise straight, dress. Genius.




After examining the technique closely in the shop, I raced home and drew a diagram of the construction and then set to work drawing up a pattern. My basic pattern for the inset piece is available for download below, although you may need to tweak it depending on the length and size of your t-shirt. Mine is for approx. Aus/UK size 10. I'll explain more in a minute.

(This is my first download so please let me know if it doesn't work)

If you have trouble with the above download, please try this one

So, do you want to make one? Of course you do!

You will need:
Two t-shirts, or one t-shirt and some extra fabric for the insert. The main t-shirt can be tight-fitting,
A sewing machine, scissors.

To begin, cut or unpick the side seam of your main t-shirt to a few centimetres below the armhole. I unpicked mine for neatness. Measure from the armpit to the hem and make sure the side of the pattern marked 'join to t-shirt' is at least this length (and a bit longer if you are going to add a hem, I added a band to my insert to match the t-shirt so didn't need to add a hem). Adjust the rest of your triangular pattern if necessary to add/remove width or length. Set main t-shirt aside.


Now we are going to work on the inserts. My tank (below) was made with a double layer of fabric so I had more fabric than it looks like here. Make sure you have enough to cut four triangles and two pockets (if adding pockets). Also remember that the greatest stretch needs to go around the body when working with stretch fabrics, so the longest side of the triangle should go straight up and down, as pictured below.



Here are my four triangles.


Then use the bottom part of your pattern to cut out two pockets. remember to add an extra 3-5cm to fold over for the top of the pocket. Cut outwards from the triangle here so it doesn't get smaller as it's folded over.


Here are my two pockets showing the folded over cuff (right) and the shape of the cuff cut outwards for the fold-over (left). Make sure you cut them out as mirror images of each other. Stitch the cuff down to create a cuff of about 2-3cm. My pocket already had a seam from the t-shirt so I sewed the cuff to this seam. If not, just sew a nice flat hem on the upper edge of the pocket.


Take two triangles and place them right side up to form a diamond (as shown below). Place the pocket right side up on one triangle, matching the edges.



Fold the other triangle over to sandwich to pocket between the two triangles, right sides together. Pin the longest seam and stitch with a stretch stitch - zig zag or serged. When you open it out, the point will be the new side seam and the other long sides will be attached to the main t-shirt. If you are doing a fold-over hem, do that now. If you are attaching a band for the hem (like I did), read on...


Open out the inset piece and cut a strip of t-shirt fabric long enough to sew along the whole bottom edge with a bit left over. My band was approximately 5cm wide to result in a hem band of 2cm (with seam allowance).


Fold the band in half lengthwise and cut it in half. Then trim the ends at an angle as shown so it will fit around the triangle hem.


Opened out, the hem band pieces will look like this.


Sew the pointed edges of the hem band together with right sides facing each other.


With right sides together, sew the hem band to the lower edge of your inset piece. Now the inset is ready to attach to the t-shirt! Phew, nearly there.


 With right sides together, match the lower hem of your inset piece with the lower hem of your t-shirt. Make sure the pocket is at the front of the t-shirt. If it isn't, use your other inset piece! Pin the side of the inset piece along the opened-out side seam of the t-shirt. If necessary, cut or unpick the t-shirt side seam a bit more so the inset piece fits.


Sew and repeat for the other side seam. Then for the other side of the t-shirt. Each side should now look like this.


And, just when you thought you were never going to finish, it's done!!


So worth the effort!!


I would love to hear about if if you make one :)

58 comments:

fabric epiphanies said...

This is very clever. I have a large bag of tee shirts that may well just become this very project.

poppykettle said...

This looks amazing! Really like the hem style on you as well as the colours. I've actually been on the lookout for metalicus style fabric since, well, the dawn of my sewing obsession, but no luck as yet. I might just have to hit up ebay instead and buy two tops for a refashion :P

Megan O said...

I'm so pleased you like it. I would love to see your version if you make one :)

Megan O said...

I have also searched in vain for Metalicus fabric. I even asked for it in Bali when I went there. Every so often I do a big internet search hoping it has become available somewhere. Where DO they get it from I wonder. I will be sure to let you know if I ever find it! Meanwhile, I'm thrilled you like the refashion.

immerBeginner said...

that's great! I have a whole lot of outgrown T-shirts which I still like and have been looking around (for a while!) for an ideal pattern; this is ideal! Just, do you have any ideas/pattern to add length as well? All my shirts are from that Time in Fashion when they were all cut a little short to show a little skin.
thanks for this!

Jesse said...

What a great way to make my shirts fit again. Thank you for all the effort.
Jesse

Dawn - UK said...

Great idea, I have just dusted off my sewing machine and have found those remnants I keep buying, will definitely try this with one of my t-shirts.

Megan O said...

I would be over the moon if one of my projects inspired you to get sewing again! Thank you for the comment :)

Megan O said...

You could easily add length by sewing on a band of fabric to the bottom of the t-shirt, perhaps in the same fabric as the inset pieces. Probably sew that on first, then follow the tutorial from there. I wish you the best of luck reducing your t-shirt stash into wearable tops :)

Megan O said...

Thank you so much. I am so pleased you like the idea :)

Jill said...

Meg, this is simply brilliant! And would be equally perfect for kids t-shirts when they grow out of them - just mix and match to make bigger and better ones!


Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea and I'm excited to try it! However, when I clicked the link for the PDF file; it opened another tab that had what looked like the correct address, a lock, and nothing whatsoever. I refreshed, closed it and re-opened it and got the same results. Ideas? I'm not very worried, actually. Your tutorial looks clear enough that maybe I don't need the pattern if I measure carefully.~Janet

Megan O said...

Hi, I have just tried the link on my computer and it is working for me. I wonder if it's your browser, you could try using a different one if you have it (I use Google Chrome). Alternatively you could send me your email address and I'll send you the file via email. As you say, this is actually very simple to do yourself and the size of the triangle will vary depending on the size of your top. I'm sorry you are having problems. Thanks for letting me know and best of luck with the top. I'm so pleased you are going to try it :)

Anonymous said...

My computer IS getting old. Thank you very much. I like what I've seen here so far. :)
janetbieler@comcast.net

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for the "right" way to refashion my too-snug the shirts. Thanks! Love your idea x

Megan O said...

Thank you so much :) I wish you all the best de-snugging your t-shirts!

Unknown said...

I love this, I have too many tshirts that dont fit.. perfect idea!! You are sooo smart!!! Thanks for this!

Megan O said...

You are very welcome! Thank you for the comment, I'm so pleased you like it :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is amazing! I absolutely love your pattern, and I am going to try it out. It looks really, really great on you - so unique and flattering. When I think of the pile of old T's in my stash, I'm getting excited. Thank you so much for this! You look gorgeous. :)

Anonymous said...

I have been trawling the internet looking for something to do with my old, too-tight T-shirts that did not involve ruffles or bows (not my style), and also needed to skim the tummy area...this one is perfect!!! I am definitely going to give it a go! Thank you.

safetyorange said...

I love the look of this and have a shirt I'd love to try it on! I'm wondering if it would work, if I was skipping the pocket, to cut two larger diamonds, ready to insert, instead of 4 triangles which need to be sewn into diamond shapes.... Is the seam down the center of the insert crucial to how it hangs, or could I get away with skipping that step. Hmmmm..... Thanks for the tutorial and the inspiration!

Megan O said...

Hi, yes, I would think a diamond would work fine if you were skipping the pocket. I'd love to hear how you get on with making it :)

Megan O said...

Brilliant! It's always a plus hiding the tummy. Thanks for the comment.

Megan O said...

I'm so pleased you like the idea. I hope you get lots of new t-shirts to wear :)

Charlie said...

Your pattern is a miracle! I rehab'ed 4 t shirts into 2 shirts today and LOVE them. If I didn't need to do other stuff, I would be making these all night :). Thank you for the pattern!

ღ Pix ღ said...

Megan I love this! I found it while I was in Australia months ago and then couldn't find it again when I got home to Seattle. I have my shirts all ready to go! Thanks for your cleverness and nice tutorial <3

Unknown said...

I love this idea with the t-shirts but the only problem I have is I don't know the measurements as I only know inches and so forth !!! I don't know metric ....

Unknown said...

I love this t-shirt refashion and I so want to try it but my problem is that I don't know the metric system that you use ...inches & feet are what I am use to ...can you revise this for me ....you can send to my e-mail its ...Magicmauds@aol.com....Thank you !!!

Crafty Hippie Mama said...

Oh my! I love this, and I have a million ideas running around in my head now!
Can't wait to try some of them out!

cindy said...

i just saw something similar on Zulily for 24.99! Thanks for such clear directions. So glad I found your blog thru all craft.

Sarah Frech said...

I just have to say I love this and can't wait to try it. I have just cleared out my closet because nothing fits anymore and this is a great way to salvage some of it. Thank you for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! I have been all over etsy seeing boho lagenlook l tops but I've never sewed before and was lost on how to do it! My mom got me a small sewing machine and this will be one of the first things I try.

Southern Sky Studio said...

Really neat idea, thanks.

kushami said...

How funny, I have two too-tight Metalicus tops too! Unfortunately mine are too tight at the bust. I have been thinking of a stripey inset at the front and back.

Safetyorange said...

How many years later, I've finally got around to using this tutorial. It worked beautifully! I skipped the pockets, and instead of cutting 4 diamonds I cut two larger ones, using the pattern and placing it on the fold of the fabric. I also used one of my husband's old ringer tees, and was able to work the contrasting fabric from the ringer tee's sleeves into embellishments along the bottom of the inserts. Thanks for the great tutorial!

Megan O said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for letting me know.

Richard C. Lambert said...


Wow....I bought a similar one at Walmart....Wish i could have done it myself.....
Accessories

Anna Schafer said...


Wow....I bought a similar one at Walmart....Wish i could have done it myself.....
T-Shirts

Anna Schafer said...

If not, just sew a nice flat hem on the upper edge of the pocket.custom shirts columbia sc

Noni said...

I'm kind of a newbie to sewing, so pardon my question if it seem's too elementary. How would I get 4 pieces out of 1 T-shirt? I understood that yours was double fabric, so each cut gave you 2 pieces. However, most T shirts are not double fabric. The pic doesn't look like there would be enough material for a second cut. Thank you for the tutorial, as I too have several shirts I would like to make wearable again.

kushami said...

If anyone in Australia wants a white long-sleeve Metalicus top to refashion, I've got one I'll send you for the cost of postage. It has the same scoop neckline as the grey t-shirt shown in this tutorial. Bear in mind, the sleeves are on the small side, as is the bust - even with godets, you'll need to have slim arms and bust of 34" (86cm) or less to get a nice result. You'll also need a flesh-coloured bra to wear with it. Message me on Pattern Review - my username is kushami. Cheers, Sarah

Unknown said...

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sonia said...

I love love your idea going to make it for me and my daughter !!!!

Anna Schafer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Marcy said...

Like "Safetyorange," I cut the inserts on the fold to simplify the job, and the new shirt turned out great! Additionally, I layered a thin scarf fabric over the contrasting tshirt fabric to add interest. To make my job easier, I simply fringed the scarf fabric so I didn't have to hem it! (I sewed a "stop line" an inch or so from the bottom of the scarf fabric so the fringe wouldn't work it's way up too far.) I'd love to be able to post pictures of my creation! THANK YOU for this great pattern! It's exactly what I was looking for to make my son's old tshirt into my new tshirt!

Matias said...

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WALTHAN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So .. I don’t have a sewing machine. Can I hand-sew this? And, if so, what do you recommend I do so that it’s as sturdy and clean-cut as possible?

Jess said...

Lovely! Thanks for sharing! :)

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