T-Shirt Remodel: A Tutorial

There have been SO many t-shirt remodels on Pinterest, that I thought I’d give one a try my own way. I found the most gorgeousss colored shirt at A.C. Moore today (for less than $4!) and I knew that this would be The Shirt. I got an extra large so I could make a dress (I’m short, so it works for me, if you’re tall, you would make a long shirt, or add a layer to the edge of the shirt to make a dress). If you have some knowledge of sewing, this is pretty easy, I finished it in less than 2 hours!

Here is my remodel! (Don’t you just LOVE that colorrr!?) (If you like this t-shirt remodel, check out my other ones!!)

So, I started by putting my shirt on inside out, and marked with some chalk where my shoulders actually start (they sure don’t start halfway down my arm! lol)

Then, I marked from the top to the arm pit, and cut!

I marked, pinned, and sewed (but forgot to get a picture of that!) about 2 inches up. This is where MY armpit would be (with a little room to breath, of course!) I measured this, by simply putting the sleeve on my arm (duh).

After I sewed the sleeve smaller, I pinned it back to the original hole.

After sewing it, it was time to deal with the excess fabric from the original sleeve length. I just marked from the armpit all the way down to the bottom of the shirt (almost dress :) ), sewed, and cut the excess fabric!

Almost coming together!! (You could even leave it like this if you wanted)

Next…the sleeves. I wanted to make them cute and ruched. So I put my thin elastic (that was a little bit shorter than the sleeve) at the top (where the shoulder meets the sleeve) and made a few stitches to keep it from moving. Then, I held it tight near the bottom as I sewed it down. (I didn’t go all the way to the bottom of the sleeve as you can see in the picture, as I thought it might look cute, but I did end up going back and adding some more elastic to go to the bottom.

Now, for the ruched waist. I simply pulled my elastic around where I wanted it to be ruched, and cut. You don’t want this to be tight, otherwise it will be uncomfortable. (I apologize for the awful pictures! The sister (and pup) were passed out on my bed at this point lol)

Then, I put my shirt dress ;) back on (inside out) and marked where I wanted the elastic. When I took it off, I marked around both sides. This is my guide for the elastic, so it doesn’t go all over the place. (Again, apologize for the terrible pics!)

And there it is!! My new dress!! (Which I LOVE by the way!!) It’s so cute AND comfy (which is what I’m ALLLL about ;) ), not to mention a PERFECT maternity shirt! It’s very flattering for a big ol’ belly! :) I also added a lil’ something extra to the back!! Using the reverse applique technique (remember my post?!), I made a little heart with some fabric I picked up today that just looked perfect with this color shirt!

P.S. You could also use this same method to turn hubby’s old tees into a little dress for your little ones!! :)

**Have a project you made using one of my tutorials? Show it off! I, along with all my followers, would love to see it! :) I’ve started a new page on my blog called “Your Pictures!”, located right next to the “About This Blog!” link at the top of my blog. Check it out for more information, and to see other fan pics!**

Until tomorrow!!

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150 responses to “T-Shirt Remodel: A Tutorial

  1. this is awesome! it looks like an expensive store bought dress….i wouldn’t even think this was a t-shirt, if not for the before pics!

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    • Just a plain one (don’t really know the names of them lol) I’ve seen the zig zag used on elastic though, I was going to try that next time (I just bought 4 other shirts to do :))

  3. What a great idea, especially for those of us that cannot wear low cut…so many are low cut these days that it’s awesome to have a way to make a cute dress with a t-shirt type neckline. Thanks!

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  5. How did you stitch on the elastic around the bust? I really want to make one but that’s the only part I’m unsure about. Thanks!

    • Just like the sleeves. I pulled the elastic (that I cut to fit around my waist) and as I sewed it down using the chalk line as my guide, and then when the the elastic goes back to it’s original size, it brings the tshirt with it, gathering it. Hope this helps!

  6. I was wondering how to pick what size of shirt to use. I normally wear a large to extra large but I am also tall. They make t-shirts in Tall for men. I was thinking start with 2 sizes larger or just try it on to see what worked.

    • I would measure by holding it up (or trying it on works even better!) and seeing how long you want it to be on you. The wideness, you can always sew smaller, but the length you can’t fix, unless you add more fabric, which could be cute too, but also more work! Hope that helped! :)

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  8. the only problem i have with this tutorial is the way the sleeves are tapered. instead of cutting from the marked point of the shoulder to the original armpit, i would rather mark another point, where the new armpit would start and cut by this 2 marks. i guess that on a small tshirt it does not make that big of a difference, but if you use a xxxl tshirt it would matter. other than that, this is so lovely and cute, and such an easy to follow tutorial :D

    • That would be easier! I actually thought of that after I did it. This was my first, but I got 3 more tshirts to try, and I’m going to try it that way. Thanks for the comment! :)

  9. I used an XXL shirt for the length, but I had to cut a few inches off from each side. So I cut the sleeve off the way you showed. I then trimmed the sides to line up where I cut the sleeve off. (it was way below the arm pit.) I also cut the neck off for a boat neck look. I just let the fabric roll. I also used elastic thread on the sleeves and around the bodice. I hope this makes sense…

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  11. Im having some trouble with this, Im a beginner and well Im not real sure about the sleeves. How do I sew them back on without the fabric I cut being on the outside?

    • When putting the sleeves back on, you have to have right sides together, meaning the sides that have print (in this case there might not be a print if it’s a regular tshirt) or the sides that would be shown while wearing it, should be pinned facing each other. That way, when you sew them closed, the excess fabric will be on the inside, and when you turn it inside out the neat seam will be seen….hope this helps, if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  12. This is awesome, I remember doing something like this a long time ago. I am always trying to make something for my daughter ( she’s 18 y.o.) that all of her friends will want…. thank you for the idea…. you are my new best friend….. LOL

  13. I am new at this whole sewing thing or maybe I am just having a blonde moment, but how did you sew the sleeves on? I did it and went to put it on and the sleeves were closed! LOL

    • I figured it out..finally but now I have the messy seam on the outside of the shirt! I thought this would be easy but I am getting frustrated!

      • Ohhh it takes practice! Especially that you’re new to it…I always mess up when I’m first making a project. And it’s always the ones that I say “this is going to be so fast and easy!” A suggestion…always have double the amount of what you need for those kind of moments! Another suggestion…(and for me this ones hard!) walk away for a little while and go back…that way you don’t mess up even more! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ruined things because I get frustrated and wanna finish something just to get it over with. Good luck!

  14. Thanks for this!! I just made mine, and well, it isn’t great. It is completely my fault though. I accidentally sewed the sleeve onto the front of the shirt. :/ So now my shirt front has little noticeable holes. I will make this again and I WILL succeed!

  15. I really want to try this! It would look so cute with leggings for teaching preschool! I’m might have to invest in a sewing machine now! Did you use a mens or womens XL tee?

    • Yeah, it’s really cute with leggings! It doesn’t say if it’s men’s or woman’s actually…I guess the one I used was unisex. I got it from AC Moore I think it just comes in youth and adult, mine was adult.

  16. I love V-neck t-shirts. I wonder if it would look great that way too. Also, with a sleevless male tank! Oh the ways to run with this. Not to mention, I love lace, so a cute lace detail at he bottom would add length and some femininity to it as well. Great basic starter to move to many other ways! Love this! Thanks so much!

  17. I am going to HAVE to do this!!! I am just about on the verge of buying maternity clothes as i am 25 weeks prego but this will save soooo much and once i am out of the maternity stage, i can fix it to normal use!! I love it!! thank you for sharing!!!

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  20. Fantastic submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should proceed your writing. I’m confident, you’ve a great readers’ base already!|What’s Taking place i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute & aid different users like its helped me. Great job.

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    • Maybe, actually! I never thought of that. If you try it let us know! And if I try I’ll update the post :)

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  23. Do you know how a string could somehow be added in with the ruching process done on the sleeves so that a bow could be tied on each sleeve?

    • You can always do ribbon/ string along with the elastic but on the outside of the sleeve. I’ve never done it, but I’m sure it’s possible!

  24. Would you be willing to make some of these for me if I send you $$ for them? I’m pregnant and in need of cute comfy clothes and I love this!!!! I don’t sew AT ALL!!!

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  26. This is awesome but your are quite shorter than myself. I am 5″9′, 6 foot on a good day. I don’t think this would look good on me but I could always do the sleeves and the top part of it as you have illustrated here and crop it at the waist and hem it there to make it into a regular shirt. Yes, us tall people have problems with these outfits that use the leggings and stuff especially if our family genetics didn’t shape our tosh and thighs nicely(not that I am fat, far from it, in fact) :D

    • You can always add some extra fabric to the bottom for length! :) though, I wear it as a shirt all the time!

      • If you buy 2 t-shirts, you can cut one off below the armpits and sew it to the other below the bust or at the waist line. This would add length for those who are not short!

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    • You could size it down without a sewing machine, but I don’t think you could do the elastic without one….you could always shorten the sleeves instead and wear a belt to cinch it around the waist though!

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  29. Awesome. Plan to take hubby’s too small for him shirt and make one of these. Thanks for the great project.

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  31. Awesome! In my opinion, all it needs is a small, thin belt where it’s scrunched on the stomach area. That would look perfect!

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  36. I just bought a big ol’ dress shirt to make into a dress, but never considered ruching! You make it look easy and cute–maybe I’ll work it in somewhere…. :)

    • Thanks! Practice makes perfect! The first few times I tried the ruching, it DID NOT come out cute lol

  37. Just stumbled on this and I love it…. my boyfriend is a size 2x and he just gave me 2 of his gamer shirts (a am 5’2″ so they fit like dresses already haha) ….i will Definitely be changing them to dresses, might surprise him with the new sexy look… thanks for the idea

    • Ohhh awesome!! Feel free to send pics! :) maybe before you surprise him with the sexy new look lol

  38. Delighted to see how you did the ruched shirt sleeve. I have been wanting to do that sort of sleeve to a shirt that is already embroidered with a club lovo, but it is too big and I need to get it right the first time.

  39. This is soooo amazing!!! You’re super mega amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!

    Now I can rock the free XL shirts they give away at my school & look almost as cute as you! Thank you!

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  41. This is a really easy project, I had the perfect shirt for it and decided to accomplish something today, and THIS is what I was going to accomplish.

    One thing, though, it takes 5 hours to sew it without a machine…

    • Wow you did it without a machine!? You must have really wanted it haha I can’t imagine how much patience you have!

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    • I stretched it out while I sewed it on so when it went back to its normal length it gathered the fabric along with it to pinch it in :)

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  44. I love this !!! I’m just going to cut the sleeves of for summer and cut the neck line a little lower because it always looks like a turtle neck on me;). It a great tutorial thanks!!!!:)

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  48. Hi! I’m from Brazil and I love your blog!

    When I saw this tutorial, I thought it’d be great to try, so I did that with 2 T-shirts! One green and one blue… And it’s fantastic! My employees want to copy that too and do some for them… they even made me model with the dress… lol

    Great idea and great blog!

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  52. Very well written article. It will be helpful to anyone who usess it, as well as yours truly eedaccdkkdff

  53. I love this “remodel”. I can see my summer wardrobe now! One question, since I’m sort of new to sewing. How did you do the elastic waist? I get the sleeve, but not the waist.
    Thanks!

    • I marked where I wanted it I the shirt and then wrapped the elastic high up around my waist so it would be fitted and to get it on the shirt, I pulled the elastic taught as I sewed it on. Hard to explain, I’m sure there are videos out there! :)

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