t shirt hacks

Easy DIY T Shirt Hacks to Transform Your Wardrobe (Sewing Edition)

T Shirt Hack #1 Button up Back Tee

This quick hack transforms any regular T shirt into an adorable top with a button up back. You will need a T shirt (preferably V neck), scissors, 5 buttons, a sewing machine, a needle, and thread.

  1. Cut the arms off.
  2. Cut the hem off of the bottom.
  3. Turn the T shirt over and find the center of the back. You can use a pen to draw a line up the center or just eyeball it.
  4. Cut all the way up the middle so that the T shirt opens up.
  5. Overlap the flaps slightly (about 1” o 2” inches) at the top and sew. Sew just the first 8” so that the rest of the back will hang open.
  6. Use the needle and thread to hand sew your buttons along the sewn part at the top.
  7. Trim back the flaps so that they have rounded edges.
  8. Optional: fold and hem the edges of the arm holes and the bottom of the shirt.

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #2 Cutout Crop Tee

This easy project makes a cute cut out crop top that is the perfect blend of sexy and classy. It can also be done on shirts with prints on them since it doesn’t require cutting in the center area where prints usually are. You just need a T shirt, scissors, pins, and a sewing machine.

  1. This project also works best with a V neck but if you want to do it with a crew neck, just add an extra step where you cut the neck hole into a V shape.
  2. Cut off the sleeves and the bottom few inches of your T shirt. Cut off as much of the bottom as you want. The project is for a crop but if you don’t want to expose your tummy, cut less off the bottom.
  3. Turn the shirt inside out and put it on. Pinch the sides until the T shirt is very form-fitting. Add pins to hold the pinched fabric together.
  4. Remove the shirt carefully.
  5. Sew along the pin lines to make a new hem on each side. This makes the shirt more fitted.
  6. Lay the shirt out flat so that the backside is facing up. Fold it in half lengthwise (aka hot dog style).
  7. Cut out triangles at the top near the shoulders.
  8. Then cut out longer horizontal triangles at the bottom edge of the T shirt.
  9. Make sure that when you are cutting, you only cut the front layer of the T shirt (unless you want holes in the back as well).
  10. Done!
  11. Side note: if you have a T shirt that it is already well-fitted, you can make this a no-sew project by just skipping the steps where you take in the hem!

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #3 Beach Cover Up

If you’ve got an oversized T shirt that’s only good for laying around the house, do this project to transform it into something that’s also good for laying around at the beach or by the pool! You just need the oversized T shirt, scissors and a sewing machine.

  1. Cut the arms off of your T shirt.
  2. Cut a straight line across the top, just below the neck hole so that the T shirt completely opens up at the top.
  3. Cut out a small triangle at the top of the front side.
  4. Fold the edge over about ½” and sew that you create a loop. Do this on the front and back.
  5. Make yarn out of scrap T shirt material.
  6. Snake the yarn through the loops you made at the top edge.
  7. Tie it together in a secure knot.

t shirt hacks

This is another great option for a shirt with a cool print or quote on it. With hacks like this, you can start buying awesome T shirts even if only the XXXL sizes are left and then just transform them into cute cover ups and dresses!

T Shirt Hack #4 Side Crochet Tee

This super cute hack will add a splash of fashion to an otherwise simple T shirt. The modifications are done to the sides so you can also do this one on a T shirt with a cool design or quote on it. Get a custom printed T shirt and then customize it even further with this super simple hack!

You will need:

  • A T shirt (preferably one that’s more fitted because this project is going to make it looser, so if it’s already loose, it might look too baggy after doing this).
  • Crochet fabric (you can also use lace or any other material you want).
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine

t shirt hacks

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Cut the sleeves off.
  2. Make a cut all the way up each side of the shirt.
  3. Measure out pieces of fabric for each side. Each piece should be long enough to run from the bottom of the shirt all the way up and over your shoulder, back down to the other side. You are essentially creating new sleeves out of the crochet fabric.
  4. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it out so that it is unfolded (so that the front and back are separated).
  5. Line up the cut edge of the crochet fabric with the cut edge of the shirt.
  6. Pin it in place.
  7. Sew it together.
  8. Repeat this for both sides.
  9. Lay the shirt out, inside out again. But this time, it should be folded back into shirt shape (as if it wasn’t cut up the sides).
  10. Pin together the unsewn edges of the crochet fabric on one side.
  11. Remember to leave space for an arm hole. You should measure this out first to make sure you make one that is wide enough.
  12. Sew along the pin line.
  13. Repeat this for the other side as well.
  14. Turn the shirt right side out and try it on!

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #5 Crochet Back Tee

This super ingenious hack is a true T Shirt miracle. It can turn a single boring T shirt into TWO awesome T shirts. So, if you’ve been feeling like your wardrobe is a little light lately, try this one out. Alternatively, make one for yourself and one for a best friend.

It’s when you reach the point that you wear matching outfits that you know you guys are going to best friends forever. In fact, why not take it to the next level and do this with a custom shirt with a print of one half of a BFF necklace on each side?

You’ll need a T shirt (come on, consider the BFF necklace shirt idea!), lace fabric, pins, scissors, and a sewing machine.

  1. Cut off the sleeves, the neck hole and the bottom hem of the T shirt to turn it into a tank top.
  2. Cut across the seams on the top of the shoulders.
  3. Cut down the sides so you have two separate pieces.
  4. Pin one piece to the lace fabric.
  5. Cut the lace to be the same shape as the tank top piece.
  6. Get out the sewing machine sew along the pin line. Remember to sew the top edges of the shoulders as well!
  7. Repeat this with the other piece of the T shirt as well.
  8. Voila! 2 brand new lacey tank tops!
  9. Side note: if you’re not into lace, you can do this hack with any kind of fabric. You could even become some kind of T Shirt Dr. Frankenstein by cutting and resewing different T shirts together.

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #6 Gold Chain Back Crop Top

If you’re a girl that likes your bling or you just want a shirt with a little more interesting design, this hack is perfect. It’s easy to do and really transforms a plain T shirt into an upscale club worthy top. The supplies you need:

  • A T shirt
  • Gold chain
  • Jump rings
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

The steps to make this magic happen:

  1. Once again, cut off the arms, neck hole and bottom hem. Your normal T shirt into tank top process.
  2. This time, though, trim the neckline into a deep V neck. The back side should be an even deeper V neck.
  3. Measure out 3 separate lengths of your gold chain. One should be the length from the bottom of the back V neck up to shoulder height. The second should be the length from the top of one shoulder strap to the other. The third should be the length from one side of the back V to the other (a couple inches up from the bottom).
  4. Tie pieces of T shirt scraps (cut from the material you removed) to the ends of each chain. You’ll only need to tie a scrap to the bottom of the vertical chain.
  5. Sew these T shirt scraps to the shirt. So you are sewing the long chain to the bottom inside of the back V neck. And you are sewing the top chain to the inside of each shoulder strap. Then the lower chain to the inside edges of the back V neck.
  6. Use the jump rings and pliers to attach the the three chains together.
  7. Option: if you want to add more than just the two horizontal chains, go for it. Add as many as you want. But make sure that you test it out by trying it on after each chain is added. The added weight will make it hang differently so you want to make sure you still like the way it’s hanging on you.

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #7 Laced Shoulders Tee

This creative hack turns any T shirt into a couture fashion item that people will swear you bought in a high end store. It’s really cute and elegant and, best of all, it’s also really easy to do. You will need:

  • T shirt
  • 2 strips of leather with metal grommet trimming (for those who aren’t seamstresses, it’s basically a strip of leather with shoelace holes punched into it).
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

To make it happen:

  1. Cut the seams apart on the shoulders.
  2. Cut off the sleeves and the bottom shirt hem.
  3. Cut out the neck to make a scoop neck.
  4. Sew a leather strap to each top edge of the shirt. The strap should run all the way from one side to the other.
  5. Make T shirt yarn using the linked tutorial in T Shirt hack #3.
  6. Starting about 1-2 holes from the center (where your neck will go), start lacing up one shoulder all the way to the end. Cut and tie the T shirt yarn into a bow.
  7. Do the same for the other side. Make sure the space you leave in the center is wide enough for your head and neck!

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #8 Woven Back Tee

While T Shirt hack #4 had the awesome result of turning 1 T shirt into 2 super cool tank tops, this hack turns 2 T shirts into one. Sure, it doesn’t sound as profitable. But the end result is super adorable and creative so we think it’s totally worth the extra T shirt investment. The supplies you need:

  • 2 T shirts (if you want to have one, pick 2 of different colors).
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

The steps involved:

  1. Choose one shirt to be your main shirt. The other will be scrapped for its parts (don’t worry, I’m sure it led a good life).
  2. Cut the neck hole, arm hems, and bottom hem off of the main T shirt.
  3. Cut the side seem from the bottom all the way up through the bottom side of the arms on this same shirt.
  4. Cut 6 vertical strips up the back of the main shirt. Each strip should be about 3” wide.
  5. Now take out your second shirt. Cut a large rectangle out of one side of it.
  6. Cut 8 horizontal strips (also about 3” wide) out of that rectangle. But don’t cut them all the way to the end. Leave about ½”-1” of space so the strips are still attached.
  7. Place the horizontal strips underneath the back layer of your main shirt. Pin it in place on both sides.
  8. Sew it in place. Be careful not to sew the arm holes closed!
  9. Now weave the vertical strips in and out of the horizontal strips in an over-under pattern. Each strip should be weaved in opposite order. So if the first is done over-under, the second should be done under-over and so on.
  10. Sew the edge of each vertical strip to the inside of the bottom horizontal strip.
  11. You’re done! It may sound like a complex process but it’s actually a lot simpler when you are doing it.

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #9 Peek a Boo Tee

This is another hack that turns two T shirts into one. But hey, if you weren’t wearing those T shirts anyway, why not combine them into one that you’ll actually wear out of the house! By working together, these two shirts can become more than the sum of their parts!

The result is a super cute and elegant top that you’ll be proud to wear outside (and then brag about how you made it yourself).

So you will need:

  1. 2 T shirts
  2. Scissors
  3. Pins
  4. Sewing machine

And all you have to do is:

  1. Start with the same old mantra: cut off the arms, the neck hole, and the bottom hem of one shirt to make it a tank top.
  2. Get out shirt number 2 and very carefully remove the neck hole just below its hem.
  3. Then carefully remove the sleeves just past the hem.
  4. Fold this second shirt in half lengthwise.
  5. Starting from about 3” below the bottom of the arm hole, cut an upward curve that reaches to about 3” below the neck hole.
  6. Unfold the shirt.
  7. Cut all the way up the center of the front so that the shirt opens up.
  8. Overlap the flaps slightly and sew them together
  9. Slide the first T shirt that you had cut into a tank top inside this second one.
  10. Sew a few stitches to hold the straps of the tank top to the inside shoulders of the over shirt.
  11. Note: this is another project that you can do with 2 different colored T shirts (or shirts with different kinds of material) if you want to make something with a little more pop.

t shirt hacks

T Shirt Hack #10 Braided Back Beach Cover Up

This one is super easy and quick. It’s a beach cover up like one of the earlier tutorials but it has a different cut and look so you can decide which one best suits your style. All you need for this one is an oversized T shirt, scissors, and a needle and thread.

  1. Cut the sleeves of your shirt. You should cut about 1 ½” to 2” past the sleeve seam so that you have large arm holes.
  2. Save the sleeves.
  3. Turn the shirt over so that the back is facing upward.
  4. Cut only the back side of the sleeve so that sleeve holes is even larger here. For reference, cut a 2 ½” to 3” crescent moon shape out of each side of the back part of the sleeve.
  5. Now cut the neck hole about 2” or so below the seam.
  6. Cut a straight line across the back of your shirt about 1” below the neck hole.
  7. Cut the loose flap of fabric into 3 even strips. They should be cut from the top down to the same level as the bottom of the arm holes.
  8. Gently stretch the strips until the edges start to curl in and they are a little longer.
  9. Braid them together all the way to the end.
  10. Use needle and thread to stitch the end so it doesn’t come unbraided.
  11. Find the center of the color.
  12. Sew the end of the braid to the inside of the color at this center point.
  13. Cut a strip of fabric from one of the sleeves (about 4” long and 1 ½” wide).
  14. Sew one end of it to the outside of where the collar and braid meet. The edge should be sewn just to the left of this.
  15. Then wrap the rest of the length around the color and braid meeting point and sew it in place on the backside of the braid.
  16. Trim away any fabric from the strip that is peeking out the side.
  17. You’re done!

t shirt hacks

As you can see, with some sewing skills (or the motivation to practice and learn) and a crafty attitude, you can take any shirt you find in your wardrobe that you are ready to throw out into a brand new item! Who needs to go shopping when you can just upcycle your old clothes?

Well, probably you still need to go shopping anyway. But still, you can save tons of money and make lots of cool, super fashionable tops in the process!

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