Re-fashion plain Black t-shirts to ‘Pretty’

Updated on by Sarina

Mark Zuckerberg is supposed to have said that wearing the same color t-shirt every day made him spend less energy on inconsequent things and gave him focus. As one of the richest men on earth, he must be doing this right, but I do not think I would follow this, though I need that focus (and the money).

But I can see the appeal – of a black t-shirt. For one, it is slimming; black suits me and goes well with denim. For a lot of people, black is the color to be in – the color of alternate clothing styles like grunge, goth etc. And plain t-shirts are very inexpensive. 

But, wouldn’t it become boring after a point to wear the same black t-shirt without an iota of color? As someone who loves color and patterns, I wonder whether you wouldn’t want a change soon – not changing to another color, but changing the way the black t-shirt looks.

Here are some easy ways to pretty-ify a black t-shirt.

Bleach printing

black t-shirt - change looks
Bleach printing done on plain black t-shirt

If you like the distressed look you can try bleach printing on your black t-shirt. Bleach brings on a burnished color on the black fabric.

Related post : Bleach printing on fabric; Tips for Bleaching fabric.

Bleach printing works better as a negative printing; ie, if there is a resist kept on it to block the effect of bleach on certain places.

Here I have taken a picture from a magazine, cut it out, traced it on a thick paper and cut it out. Thick paper is needed because when you keep it and apply bleach around it, the paper shouldn’t soak or disintegrate.

Keep the cut out on your t-shirt – affix it there with a light coat of glue stick or one or two boiled rice. (for temporary adhesion).

Apply bleach on the outside area with a brush. Leave for 10 -15 minutes.

Remove the paper after the time is up.(Please do take all necessary precautions needed with bleach)

Wash thoroughly.(The ‘thorough’ wash is needed with bleach, because bleach can continue working if a small trace is left on the t-shirt. It will destroy the fabric fibers and make holes.Rinse more than you think is needed)

change the look of black tshirt

Peekaboo with ripped t-shirt

peekaboo on ablack tshirt
Use seam ripper to distress the tshirt and use another layer of fabric underneath

You can rip the t-shirt in places for a completely distressed look and then use a contrasting colored fabric under the holes made by you to get that peekaboo effect

Checkout this post on edgy elements you can incorporate into your clothes.

edgy fashion

Patch Pocket

Another way to bring color to your black t-shirt is to add a small patch pocket to it.

Cut it from a very colourful fabric. The pocket becomes the focal point of your ordinary t-shirt.

Hand Applique with beaded or sequins patches

Applique is always a favourite way to add colorful fabric pieces to plain backgrounds. Cut out nice prints or embellishments from other tops and or from interesting fabrics (sequinned fabrics) ; add it to your black t-shirt with small whip stitches. (If you are not patient enough for hand stitching, use satin stitch with your sewing machine. Check out these helpful posts – satin stitch, applique with sewing machine, applique with hand stitches)

Do not forget to snip the seam allowance every 1 inch for smooth turning.

refashioning old black color tshirts
Clip the seam allowance every 1/2 inch if you have curved shaped applique piece
refashion black t-shirt

You can do different types of applique on t-shirts, including reverse applique like this.

Place the back ground fabric under the cut out portion

Checkout this post on How to do T-shirt applique for details on how to do this.

If you like letters on your t-shirt, try it out; Here are some posts for reference – Embroider letters ; T-shirt embroidery; Applique letters

Add collars

A cute look is a t-shirt with rounded feminine looking collars. You can add flat collars easily on your black t-shirt.

For a quick embellishment, you can use a ready-made flat collar like this. 

tshirt black refashion

Or make a flat collar yourself. Check out the post on sewing flat collars.

You can find more ideas for re-fashioning t-shirts in these posts : Refashion ideas for old t-shirts ; Cut out t-shirt – ideas.; How to add iron on heat transfer stickers; Different ways to embellish fabric

Sarina

Hi,
I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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