My 3 Monsters: "Sew" Dang Cute!

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"Sew" Dang Cute!

So, I've been going to Girl's Camp a long time.  5 years as ward camp director now.  Not to mention the Youth Conferences I've attended.  Or the school musicals.  And I have the stack of boxy "unisex" t-shirts in my closet to prove it.  Why, why must they use men's t-shirts for us "curvy" women?!  WHYYYYYYY?  The logos are cute(ish) and they all bring back memories of good times.  I can't bring myself to throw them away, but I'll be darned if I'm gonna' wear 'em, even for working out.  I got to thinking, "There must be a way to cute-ify these bad boys up."  And I was right!  Here's how:  (Not because I think you'll want to follow along with me -- though I hope you do find it useful -- but because I fear I'll forget how I did it if I don't document it.)

Step 1:  Demolition
Lay your t-shirt out flat.  You'll probably want a shirt that's a size or two larger than what you'd ordinarily wear.  I like a large these days so I started with an XL. (But I did another one with a large that worked out OK, too)   Cut your sleeves off following the seams.  Cut each side at the fold.

Now your shirt is only attached at the shoulder seams and the fabric will lay really flat for you to work with.  I used another t-shirt that I really liked as a pattern, laying it on top and cutting around it, leaving an extra 1"-ish on each side for seam allowances.  You could trace it with chalk and then cut if you prefer.

Cut the hem off of each sleeve about1/2 " above the stitching and save for later.  Also remove any of the old seams at the shoulder edge.

Lay your sleeves one on top of another and mark the underarm seam of the sleeve 2" long.  Draw a diagonal line from the 2" mark at the underarm to the outer edge of the upper arm.  Cut along that line, saving the bigger pieces.

Step 2:  Reconstruction
Turn your t-shirt inside out.  Sew up each side seam.

Advanced Note:  If your t-shirt is really long you could ruche the side seams now by pressing open the seam and, on the wrong side, sewing a 2" long (or however long you wanted your finished gather to be) piece of 1/4" wide elastic from the bottom hem up the middle of the seam, pulling the elastic taut as you go.

Using a basting stitch, sew around the top and bottom edges of each sleeve 3/8" from the edge.  Pull one of the strings to gather each edge slightly.

Take each sleeve hem that you removed and saved before and lay it flat with the right sides together.  Sew it together 1" in from the existing seam.  Cut off excess.

Take the smaller (bottom) edge of your sleeve and pin the raw edge of the old sleeve hem to it with right sides together, gathering up the excess sleeve fabric.  Sew around it with a 5/8" seam.  Trim the raw edges down to about 1/4".   Turn it right side out. (Because if you're like me,  you'll be dying to see how pretty it looks!)

Now pin it to the body of the shirt, right sides together, matching the underarm seam on the sleeve to the side seam of the shirt.  Gather up the excess across the top (shoulder) edge only.  Sew around using a 5/8" seam. You don't need to trim this one.

Turn it right side out and admire your handiwork!

Finish the neckline by sewing a simple rolled hem. (Fold the raw edge under about 1/4" then fold it under again, pin and sew.) 

Et Voila!  If you do follow along at home, you may want to practice first on a shirt that is less sentimental.  I'm just sayin'.  Also, I've noticed that some of the t-shirt fabric is thicker than others.  If you have a particularly thick, less-stretchy fabric, you may want to give yourself a little extra room by cutting the side edges and arm holes 2" larger than the shirt you are using for a pattern.  That's what I should have done with this one. Good luck and happy sewing!

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  1. You are WAY too crafty for me.... haha I may have to try this out......

  2. I remember when i had a school musical it was Aladin Jr. So much fun!!!! Alice would be a fun one!

  3. Sydney was Alice in the musical. It was fantastic. I wish I could have seen yours, Will!

  4. Dang. I'm not involved enough obviously... I don't have any shirts.

    Maybe I can just buy one I like (Savers) and go with it!


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