Wednesday, March 20, 2013

T-shirt Upcycle

I live in t-shirts. I'm a busy mom, and I don't have time for fancy button-down fashion. If it takes special laundering care, or takes extra time to get dressed in it, it's not something I'll wear often. Well, that, and the fact that the nice button-down, tailored stuff that I like doesn't fit so well when you're shaped like an apple.

I'm working on the shape of my body, so now I need to work on the shape of my clothes. Some of my plain, straight-sided t-shirts don't fit right anymore. They're too loose around the belly, but not so loose around the "girls" that I'll just get rid of them. Like the one in the picture below...
So I decided to do something about that, but I didn't want to take the sewing machine to it. I've used a sewing machine to make adjustments to knit fabrics before, and it's usually not pretty. You get funky-looking puckers when you're just trying to get a nice, neat seam. And I'm an experienced seamstress! 

I had seen a neat idea somewhere on Facebook a while back, utilizing scissors and a crochet hook, but couldn't remember where exactly I had seen it, so I decided to make a blog post about it, so I could share the idea with my friends. So this isn't my original idea, but I hope the person who came up with it won't mind my being a copycat.

Anyway, I got out my measuring tape and scissors... and I folded the t-shirt in half, so that the sides (where there might be seams if it were a fitted shirt, which it wasn't) were lined up neatly together. I laid out my measuring tape and snipped the folded edges every half-inch. I cut about half an inch in from the edge.
 So when I unfolded it, the cuts were about an inch long. I pulled a little at the sides to stretch them. And then I got out my crochet hook. I used a US8, but I don't think the size of hook matters all that much.
 Starting at the bottom, I made a crochet chain up the side of the t-shirt...just like picking up a dropped column of stitches in knitting... and then secured the final loop at the top(on the inside) with a needle and thread.
So now I have a t-shirt that's a bit more fitted, and has a fun detail at the sides! The crochet chain produces a very flattering ruched look, too. The whole project, including photos, took about ten minutes. And that was only because I had to go down in the basement to find red thread...
 I think, on the next one, I'll start it all the way at the bottom of the shirt, instead of two inches up, to avoid the little hole I got at the bottom of the chain. And when I lose a bit more around the belly, I might add in two more chains up the front, like darts, and stop them just below the bust.


  1. did you do just one side, or both? I love the idea, and I think it adds such a flattering detail to your shape. :)

  2. Yes, I did both sides. :) I like symmetry. :D


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