Drab Olive Green T-Shirt Blooms

Apparently I like olive green, because I seem to have a lot of tops in this color. After awhile it gets boring though so I thought I’d apply my generally not-so-green thumb to this t-shirt to see if I could get it to blossom into something a little more interesting. Had enough of the bad puns? Me too. Let’s get sewing.

Once again I jumped right in, forgetting to take a before picture. I searched the Internet trying to find a pic of the Kimchi Blue top but couldn’t find one so you’re just going to have to trust me that it was pretty blah before I started.

I have a box of embroidery pieces in my refashion stash which I dumped out onto my top and started playing around with until I had what I wanted. The backs of these flowers are sticky which makes it easy to play with the positioning. Tip: if you have embroidery pieces that you want to play around with before sewing them on you can use a fabric glue stick on the back of the embroidery.

Once I had everything in place I tried using my sewing machine to sew them on but that was just a big mess. I unpicked my botched sewing job, repositioned the flowers and sat down to a good movie with a needle and thread.  A couple of hours later I had my new t-shirt ready to wear.

close up

I actually like that the background for these flowers is so drab. It makes the flowers pop. You can’t tell from this picture but there are way more flowers on one side of the bodice than the other. Symmetrical looked too cutesy. However this t-shirt isn’t done yet.

one last detail

I had this little rose-shaped button which I stitched on to cover the end of a vine that ended awkwardly. I love how fixing a problem often gives you a better result than your original plan.

After trying it on I realized I needed to do a couple more things to make it more wearable.

1) The neckline is pretty low. I’ve been wearing cami’s under it but I think it’s time this t-shirt was able to stand on it’s own. I searched through my scrap stash and found some pink fabric which I could make into a dickey. I really do not like that word. And technically it’s not a dickey that I made but an insert. So insert it is.

finished top with insert worn full length


2) This t-shirt is very long, almost a tunic and I don’t always want to wear it that long so I threaded a silk cord through the bottom hem which I can use to gather the bottom of the t-shirt to make it as short or as long as I want.


worn short

If you take anything away from this refashion I hope it’s that with the insertion of a bodice piece you can make a top more modest and by threading a ribbon through the existing hem casing you can make a top adjustable. Enjoy!

Cropped T-Shirts

The other day I dug into my t-shirt collection, eager to create something new and different. This refashion took ten minutes per t-shirt and I’m so in love with the end result that I have to restrain myself from taking the scissors to a whole pile of t-shirts!

Let me start by letting you all know that I cannot claim credit for the design inspiration for these t-shirts. For that you’ll have to turn to the Blakeney sisters’ book “99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim & Tie Your T-Shirt”. I’ll do my best to explain how to do these but their illustrations are much easier to follow than my verbal directions.

over-sized t-shirt about to get cropped

This t-shirt will end up being worn sideways so decide which direction you want the print to go before cutting, if it even matters, which in most cases it won’t.  Lay the shirt flat on a work surface with one sleeve at the top and the neckline to the left so that basically your shirt is sideways on your work surface. Mark your neckline with the first mark an inch or two above the armhole seam and the 2nd mark two to three inches below the bottom armhole seam. Then trace a gentle curve from Point A to Point B.

Mark your second cut at the bottom of the t-shirt roughly along the same lines as the line you marked for the neckline.

Cut out your neckline and your new waistline. Try on and make whatever adjustments you need.

I promise you that this photo doesn't do this top justice.



If you found the directions above confusing, I’m so sorry. I’ve tried my best to describe to you what I did but it does help to have the illustrations from the book.

My second try at this I used a little boys t-shirt that was much too small for me and the end result ended up being a bit dressed-up for a t-shirt. I can’t count the number of compliments that I’ve received when I wear these t-shirts. Hint: I wear a little cami-style shirt under these as the armholes are quite large and I’m not keen on flashing my belly button. Oh and now that winter is approaching I’ll be wearing these over long sleeved t-shirts for an extra layer of warmth and just because I like them 🙂

This one is my favorite!



If you happen to cut too deep or wide for your neckline – like I did – use small strips of the fabric that you cut away from your t-shirt to close one end of your neckline. See the photo below to see what I’m talking about.

easy fix for over-aggressive scissor action



Boxy T-shirt Made Over into Cute Workout Tanktop

I have a bunch of these t-shirts from the Spirit Run race and I get new ones every year. They’re the typical event t-shirt, boxy crew necks that are unflattering on one and all.

I don’t even like wearing them to sleep in. I don’t feel pretty in these t-shirts and I want to feel nice even when I’m just lounging around the house and so I began to look at these t-shirts to see how I could refashion them into something that I would enjoy wearing.

This first one I decided to make over into a workout tank top. Well, I would wear it to work out in where I live in Southern California, but when with my family in Michigan it’s fine to wear with jeans around the property. It was a very simple makeover. First thing I did was to fold the shirt in half vertically so that the shoulder sleeves touched on the left side and half the Spirit Run logo showed on the right side.

With a piece of chalk and a ruler I drew a line from just below the armhole to the edge of the ribbing at the neck, leaving the neckline intact. I whipped out my trusty rotary trimmer and cut away the sleeves along my chalk line and then up around the neck line a bit.

Sleeves begone!

sleeve closeup

Alas, I cut too deeply and was showing WAY more skin than I wanted to. What to do? What to do? I started playing around with some bright blue ribbing that was leftover from another refashion and was ecstatic to find that it would work perfectly to fix my scissors-happy mistake. I think the end result is even better than if I hadn’t had to use the ribbing to fix things.

I safety pinned the ribbing to the too large armholes stretching the t-shirt to fit the ribbing which caused it to be gathered and therefore smaller and less inappropriate.

Safety pins are much less prickly than straight pins when trying garments on.

I basted the ribbing to the t-shirt then stitched it on with a wide zig-zag machine stitch. Removed the basting stitches and VIOLA! – new tank top!

If I get a few more workouts in maybe I'll pose for you all in my new tank!

Close up of the neckline and armhole trim.