Wednesday, May 2, 2018

T-shirt Hacks

It's Me-Made May!  I am headed to ballet barre class this morning, so I am sporting an exercise-y Mostly Me-Made Outfit, which includes some fancy gray & white paisley leggings that I made yesterday (Simplicity Pattern #8422), plus a t-shirt that I definitely did not make, but hacked to have a much more flattering fit on me.  

My main objection to this shirt was that it was just too long and shapeless.  I, of course, did not think to take a picture of it before I started my hacks, but it was a t-shirt with no shaping that was a fairly close fit (not a big, baggy thing), and the hem hit me right under my butt.  So it was kinda sausage-y, if you know what I mean.  It also had a fitted crew neckline, which is my fashion nemesis.

Step One of my plan was fixing the neckline.  I don't understand why fitted crew necks are the style du jour for t-shirts, because I hate them.  I tend to take scissors to them in order to create more of a scoop neck, and indeed I did that last year when I bought this shirt.  I've been wearing it with a raw cut edge ever since.  But recently, I cam across a great sewing tutorial that shows you how to finish off the edge of a knit piece.  The tutorial focuses on sleeves, but you can extrapolate and use the same idea to finish the edge of a neckline.  I used some lightweight black knit fabric that I picked up at JoAnns as my new neckband, but if your t-shirt is super long, you could hack a 1.5"- 2" wide strip off the bottom and use that instead.

Step Two of my plan involved creating some ruching.  I cut a 5" piece of skinny elastic and pinned it in a straight line about 5" in from one side seam.  The bottom of the elastic was pinned right at the hem seam, and the top of the elastic was pinned 8.5" above the hem seam.  So when it was pinned, the shirt was all crumpled up underneath because the elastic was a lot shorter than the fabric it was pinned over.  

Step Three was sewing the elastic in place.  Getting this started was a little tricky because you have to stretch the elastic as you are sewing the seam.  (My sewing machine was being a jerk, so my seam looks terrible on the elastic side.  On the front side it was fine though.)  I used the stretch stitch on my machine, although you could probably just use the straight stitch, since you are stretching the elastic as you sew.  Just make sure to stretch the elastic only as far as you need to in order to make it the same length as the t-shirt underneath.  Don't stretch it all more than that.  I was using two hands to stretch the elastic as I pulled it all through my machine.  

Next, I cut a 1" strip of black knit fabric (This was the same fabric I used when I finished the neckline.)  I divided the width into thirds and folded one side over the other like so:
then I just sewed right down the edge.  There are probably fancier ways to do this, but it looked fine and I knew it probably wouldn't be a problem since the fabric was so dark.  

I tied it into a bow, knotted the ends and cut them off, then sewed the bow onto the bottom of the ruched seam.

Voilà!  Fancy-fit t-shirt!


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