10 DIY Tshirts : Refashion ideas for your plain old T-shirts

“How many ways can I refashion my t-shirts
Let me count the ways”

Trying to re-fashion plain and old t-shirts to look somewhat like the tops and tees you see sell in showrooms -I love to do this in so many ways. And all of these transforms plain t-shirts and old tops to something new and wonderful. 

refashion tees

Here are a few of those refashioning ideas that I love, which involves minimal cutting and sewing. You need plain new t-shirts or tops which you can buy cheap at the sales, or old ones which are languishing in a corner of your wardrobe, for this refashioning.

Refashion idea 1 Cut out t-shirts

Cutting T-shirts and changing its look is an age-old trick that looks beautiful and stunning however you do it.

You can check out this other post on t-shirt cutouts for 10 ideas like this and change the look of your old t-shirt from ordinary to stunning.

cut out tshirt designs


Refashion idea 2 Turn to off-shouldered top.

refashioned tee tutorial

To change your old crew neck t-shirt to a more flattering off shoulder style you should cut off the top portion of the t-shirt- no need to cut off a lot. The stretchy knit material would accommodate your width. Just cut off the neck band and top of the shoulders in a curved line.

refashioning old tshirts

Cut out a 3 inch or so wide bias strip of length equalling the width of the circumference of the top edge of your top. Add seam allowance as well. Sew the short edges together to make a tube

diy refashion teeshirts

Keep it folded on top of the top edge and stitch the edges together. Leave 2 inches unstitched to insert the elastic.

Take 1/4 inch wide elastic measuring the circumference of your top body. Insert the elastic with a pin inside the casing. Stitch the elastic edge together. Stitch the opening closed.


Refashion idea 3 Easy patch Applique

refashion old tshirts

You can add other interesting pieces of fabric to your t-shirt for changing its look.

This one involves finding a fabric scrap from some other project with some embroidery done on it. You can always do some embroidery on the t-shirt directly, ofcourse. But this one is an easy alternative

Find one with colours that go along with the t-shirt fabric. Trim the edges to leave some 1/2 inch along the periphery.

diy tshirt redesign

Pin the patch on the tshirt where you want it to be. If the embroidery patch is very heavy you should keep an interfacing piece /stabilizer on the back as a backing. Adjust your sewing machine to sew close zig zag stitches and stitch carefully.

After stitching is done, trim all the extra thread that sticks out with sharp scissors

Another method is to do Reverse Applique . Check out the post 4 ways to do reverse applique.

reverse applique

Learn different ways to make clothing patches and stitching the patches.

refashion clothes

You can jazz up old plain t-shirt by simply adding a fabric strip down the sides – this can have a slimming effect, as well as vertical lines, can make you look thin. Learn more dressing tricks to look slim here. Find a fabric strip in a contrasting colour for a standout look or go for subtle colours matching the fabric of the t-shirt.

tshirt refashion

Turn under the edges of a fraying fabric. If the fabric does not fray at cut edges leave it as it is and top stitch. As you reach the bottom edge fold to the inside and stitch.

Refashion idea 4 Add shoulder width with frills

refashion diy

If you have a slouchy top and think that you need some definition in the shoulder you can add an easy frill to the shoulders – which I see in a lot of tops these days

Cut a piece of fabric about 20 inches long and 3 inches wide ( at the center, tapering to 2 inches to the sides) Finish the edges and the gather the straight edge and join to the shoulder.

Refashion idea 5 Modesty panel

tshirt refashioning ideas

If you have a top that gapes at the neckline and you want to solve this problem without wearing a camisole inside etc ( find other ways to fix a gaping neckline here) you can sew up a modesty panel in a nice fabric and attach it to the inside of the neckline

Cut out the required fabric panel from a folded piece

tshirt refashion

Finish the lower edge with serger or zig zag stitch.

Keep the fabric panel to the inside and pin or baste stitch in place. Top stitch the panel in place

Refashion idea 6 Frilly sleeve cuffs

refshioning old teeshirts

You can change the look of an old tshirt by adding some frills to the sleeve hems. Measure the sleeve hem round of your t-shirt. Double this measurement and add 1inch as hem.  Take a fabric strip 2- 3 inches wide and the above measurements as length. This fabric strip can be gathered or pleated to fit the sleeve hem.

Join the ends to make a round and then pleat or gather.

Keep this to the inside, pin place and top stitch.You can add another such frill to the shirt hem or just add a binding, as I have done.

Refashion idea 7 Fabric flowers

Fabric flowers make beautiful embellishments for t-shirts and tops. Make an easy fabric flower by cutting out circle shapes from fabric and then fold hem into petals.

refashioning tees

Use hand sewing needle and thread to attach them to the top/tshirt

refashion t shirts and tops

Check out this post on making different types of fabric flowers or ways to easily make ribbon flowers.

Refashion idea 8 Colour blocking

This refers to adding a panel which is in contrast to the colour of the tshirt. Cut off the portion on the natural waist and add a fabric panel there.

Refashion idea 9 Net embellishment

These net circles do not fray. They can be arranged in any fashion and stitched across to make simple patterns on your fabric. Cutting out big circles and then top stitching it on the periphery is another embellishment worth trying.The sheer nature of the net can add a good texture to the fabric

Refashion idea 10 change to cold shoulder top

refashion old tees

This is a top which I bought and then found that two of me would fit into one of this. Instead of returning it back I decided to change it into a cold-shouldered top

First and foremost I cut out the sleeves and then cut the bodice to the size I wanted; this had a scoop neck which was way too low, so I cut the shoulder seam to the length I wanted. 

Cut out the sleeves to make the cold-shouldered sleeve. Check out this post on cold shoulder top for more ideas.

Finish the armhole edge with bias strips

Finish the sleeve inside edge with bias strips as well

Attach the sleeves and then Join the shoulder seams of the top

You can try other refashioning ideas like 

  1. Add a peplum skirt
  2. Make an overlay with a lace or net fabric
  3. Attach denim fringes; use old jeans fabric for this
  4. Use beads and sequins to decorate old tops
  5. Shirr the neck area and sleeve hems


Related posts : T-Shirt fabric painting ; Different types of T-shirt ; How to buy T-shirts.

Comments 8

  1. Hi, this is really great. This post is so detailed and well explained, I think I will be able to do something with many T shirts in my home —thanks to your work. best regards. I will sure follow your blog.

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