After making a pattern from a shirt that I love (see Part 1 of this tutorial: “Clone your Favorite Shirt), it was time to choose fabric and sew. Since I don’t have much budget for shopping fabric these days, I chose a male T-shirt I made a while ago for my husband. I was not too happy with the look anyways. The shirt was sitting in the donation pile in my bedroom. I like the color and the fabric is totally perfect for this project.
So this is what I did to repurpose a male T-shirt and turn it into a cute top for a girl:
Step One: Cutting the T-Shirt.
Remember that you don’t have a generous allowance of fabric if you are refashioning clothes. So try to cut gently only the parts that you won’t need so the fabric lays as flat as possible and you can maximize the fabric that you have.
Cut the sleeves following the armhole seam: Then place your sleeve pattern on top of the sleeves to use the exact amount you need. You will save fabric by reusing the sleeves of this T-shirt. You are also saving a lot of time and effort when you keep the hems of sleeves and the hems of the front and back of the shirt intact. You will get a professional look without bothering using a coverstitch machine!
Cut the front neck: This shirt is a V-neck so I carefully cut around the binding. Be careful not to cut front and back together. First start with the v-neck on front following the seam lines. Then go on the back and cut the back binding.
Cut the side seams of the T-shirt
Step two: Press the fabric and lay out the pattern pieces:
After pressing, fold the fabric in half wrong side up and place the pattern pieces for front and back of the shirt. Make sure that all your pattern pieces are accounted for and that you have enough fabric to work with. Remember to leave at least 1/4 inch seam allowances before cutting. I prefer at least 1/2 inch if possible. Sometimes you won’t have too much room for seam allowances. I use my rotary cutter because it helps me to stay straight.
Now cut on fold front and back of shirt. For this shirt, I realized I don’t have any extra fabric for bias binding. So I just had to go ahead and fold the hem and coverstitch the neck. You can make your own bias binding and get creative with fancy combinations. You are the creative master here!
Step three: Get ready to sew:
- Stabilize the shoulders and the front and back necklines with knit stay tape. I skipped this part with this shirt, but I recommend you use knit stay tape because it would help so much when you have to fold the hem to coverstitch or when you decide to use bias binding. You will have a perfect clean edge.
- Serge or sew with your sewing machine the bodice pieces first. For this project, the front bodice has two pieces. So first I joined them together and then I sewed the front and the back of the shoulders .
- Now that the front and back of the shirt are joined, is time to sew the sleeves on the flat. Place the shoulder center of your shirt with the center of your sleeve piece right sides together. Pin the center so you know you are aligned. Now pin the ends of the sleeves with the ends of the armhole. Now you are ready to serge the sleeves together.
- After sewing the sleeves, is time to sew the side seams.
- Now we are ready to coverstitch the hem of the sleeves and the hem of the shirt. If you could rescue the original hems, you do not need to do that!
- You can watch the video of this tutorial if you click on this link: Part 2- Clone your Fave shirt -Refashion a shirt with your pattern
So now I am pleased with my shirt. Looks exactly as the original ready-to-wear version I had. I will save the pattern and will make more shirts like this! I hope you like this tutorial and are inspired to make patterns that fit you like a glove.