T-shirts are my favourite thing to sew. Fast, simple, and so easy to hack! In preparation for our T-shirt mini-challenge, here are some ideas for how you can adapt any tee for a whole new look.
(I’m going low-fi for this post—I sketched a T-shirt with a Sharpie and traced on top of it to show different looks.)
How about making your tee into a dress?
- Add a skirt or peplum using an A-line, circular, or gathered rectangle skirt from another pattern
- Extend the side seams down and out for a swing dress
- Extend the side seams straight down for a sheath dress (body or fitted, depending on the T-shirt style you start with!)
Alternately, you could adjust the sleeves or the hem length:
- Puff sleeves and bishop sleeves are popular this year, and there are lots of tutorials online
- Circular or gathered rectangle ruffle sleeves add some glamour
- Make a cropped top or a longer tunic
- Try colour blocking
- Use sweater knit or ponte to make a cardigan or long coatigan
- Experiment with a shark-bite hem, asymmetrical hem, or high-low hem
Change the neckline, and change the whole look!
- V-neck, scoop, or boat necks are easy to copy from your favorite RTW or other sewing patterns
- Stay cosy in a cowl, turtle neck, or funnel neck
If you are the type of sewist who likes clear instructions, you might be saying, “But Gillian, tell us HOW!” Well, I’m not going to give you instructions for the simple reason that a Google search will find you multiple tutorials for each of these hacks. Here are a few to get you started!
- My own tutorial on making a tee into four styles of cardigan
- Hey June Handmade split hem tutorial
- Curvy Sewing Collective tutorial on hacking a tee to a swingy shirt or dress
- By Hand London tutorial on creating a bishop sleeve
- Intro to colour-blocking from Life Sew Savoury
May the Google spirits be with you! If you get really stuck, feel free to ask below and maybe someone can help you out.
The possibilities for T-shirt hacking are literally endless! I think it’s totally possible to have a wardrobe full of hacks that no one would recognise as coming from the same pattern. For our mini-challenge, don’t limit yourself to just a classic crew-neck tee—as long as you start with a tee-shaped pattern, whatever you make will count.
Do you like to hack your T-shirt patterns into something new? Have we inspired you to get creative during this mini-challenge?