Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Re-designing Old T-shirts

As I started to clean my closets out I've found that I have a ton of cotton t-shirts that I probably won't wear again. Most of them are old race shirts.

I remembered poking around on Pinterest a while ago and pinning a few posts on how to re-design old t-shirts with ruffles and such.  I went back to my Pinterest board and clicked on the link but there were no directions on that posts. I searched for other posts that might have directions but none of them had designs that I liked, so I decided to just design my own.


To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how this was going to turn out so it never occurred to me to take pictures of the sewing process. I will just try my best to tell you how I made this one.

I started with a plain long sleeve t-shirt. This shirt was already in my "good-will" pile so I didn't mind if I messed it up or not.  This ended up being the perfect shirt to pick to re-design because it already had stitching around the seams.

I started with cutting the arm sleeves off. I kept the stitching around the shoulders and therefore I did not have to deal with raw edges.

After the arms were cut off, I cut them down the middle. I put the open sleeve through the sewing machine on a very loose stitch. Pulling the thread through the sleeve by hand creates the ruffle.

 You can tell that I cut the neckline to make it a V-neck instead of the crew neck that it was.
 Flip the shirt inside out to sew the ruffle on. Then flip the ruffle overtop of the neck line.
 I put a few stitches at the top of the shoulders to hold the ruffles down.

I've worn this top a few times already this summer and I'm sure I'll get more use out of it this fall as I wear it as a layering piece. I've had that shirt for probably 8 years now and I've worn it more times as a tank top then I ever did as the long sleeved top it was.


This was the first shirt I made out of an old cotton race shirt. This was actually a practice shirt, I will never wear this because I didn't use the proper colored thread to sew the ruffles on. As you can see, I sewed the ruffle on in a way that it covered up the decal that was on the upper left side of the shirts. It was also good practice.


When I started this project I was originally searching for how to turn a cotton race shirt into a tank top but all the designs I found involved raw edges on the shirt. I am not a fan of having raw edges on my clothes so that is why I decided to go with this style.  I am still searching for some other ways to turn race shirts into tank tops that I can workout in.  Do you have any ideas?  ~M

Do you ever re-design old clothes? Do you have good tutorial for turning race t-shirts into tank tops?

27 comments:

  1. That is absolutely adorable!! I wish I was this crafty :0)

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    1. Oh, but you are Lauren! I've seen some of the stuff you've made!

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  2. This is the cutest idea ever! If I only I was crafty and could sew….

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    1. It was actually pretty easy, even if you don't sew!

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  3. Great job on both! I used to sew a lot and have been thinking I'd like to start again. This might be a good winter project!

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    1. Yes, it made me want to go through all my old shirts and re-design them. Definitely a good project for winter!

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  4. This is an amazing transformation, I would have never thought to do that to a regular shirt. I have seen a few ppl make old race shirts into tanks and stuff, but this is awesome!

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    1. Thanks Sara. I'm still looking for a good tutorial to make racing tanks.

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  5. OMG, you have some talent!! They are beautiful! I just sent all my old race shirts off to make a blanket. Someone else had to do it for me as I didn't do well in my home ec classes. :)
    @heatherlas

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    1. I actually taught a few home-ec classes in my day! I can't wait to see your blanket!

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  6. This looks great! I tried a design I saw on pintrest once to turn a large t-shirt into a more fitted tank top but it was a disaster :( And it did have the raw edges which I hated.

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    1. Yes, I actually had another t-shirt that I did not show that didn't turn out either!

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  7. Oh my gosh I am not in the least bit crafty so this is really impressive! Pinterest can show you how to do anything these days haha

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    1. I got the idea from Pinterest but there was no directions so I kind of made my own!

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  8. Looks like a great way to recycle shirts but I'm not crafty at all.

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    1. You should give it a try. You'd be surprised at what you can do.

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  9. I love how people take shapeless things & make them adorable... I wish I was talented enough to figure out how to do it. mine becomes just a WEIRD shape.

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  10. Adorable! I love the asymmetrical ruffles.

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  11. I have so many of these things pinned and I still haven't made any. Thanks for the reminder!

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  12. How cool! The shirt looks great! Such a fantastic idea...too bad I haven't learned how to use a sewing machine yet! :)

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  13. WOW! That is awesome, way prettier than my superhero shirts, lol! I am not this crafty. So cute though!

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  14. LOVE THESE!!!! I have heard of people turning t-shirts into fun blouses, but have never tried it. Seriously and I am not just saying this, I love what you did, so cute I should really look into trying this!!!

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    1. Thank You! I enjoyed making these and plan to do some more.

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  15. That's awesome! I'm always a little scared of sewing with knits, but your shirt is so cute, I have to try it. :)

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today.