Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shirt to Shirt Refashion

The back story: this past Halloween I was working at a chain coffee shop and my boss told us we could wear whatever we wanted (as long as it didn't violate any health code regulations) for a costume. I thought it would be hilarious to come dressed in the uniform of a competing chain. (It was quite funny but not so funny when our store closed its doors less than two months later.)

Of course a uniform wasn't nearly as easy to obtain as I had hoped but one of my coworkers got this shirt for me to wear:

If you can't tell it's a Dunkin Donuts shirt. I think it cost her about 50 cents so after Halloween I held onto the shirt thinking the material might be good for something.

It is made of a really thick soft knit so recently it occurred to me that I should try my hand at making a tank top (since they charge $8 and up for them). The shirt is x-large which allowed me to avoid the embroidery.

I used one of my favorite shirts as a pattern and cut out a front and back piece. I also cut out a piece of woven print fabric that I sewed onto the top of the front. I did this by putting the right side of the little woven piece against the wrong side of the knit, sewing along just the top and then flipping it around to the front so the top was a finished edge.

I then used orange lace hem tape to sew down the bottom of the woven piece. I zipped up the sides of the shirt and all that was left was straps. (The bottom didn't need finishing because I used the bottom of the original shirt.)

I used the woven fabric to make the straps and then sewed more of the orange lace over that. To cover up where the straps were sewn on I added two covered buttons. I made the buttons using this nifty kit that comes with metal fronts and backs. All you do it cut a circle of fabric and use their little rubber contraption to snap the two metal pieces together with the edges of the fabric tucked in between.

It's a fairly horrendous closeup but you can see the button and the straps.

Despite the frustration of sewing with knits (pieces never quite come out the same shape as the pattern you cut them from) I am happy with how it came out. I am also getting used to not having to finish as many edges since knits don't really unravel, I may never go back to woven fabric.

Oh and as for the cost; the shirt was free (the coworker gave it to me, I guess the look on my boss's face when I showed up was worth 50 cents to her), and the lace, fabric and buttons were from the stash. So all it cost me was my time (which I have plenty of these days anyway).


  1. Oh, my goodness... so cute! I stumbled over from WR, and I love your blog. You are doing so much of what I love and aspire to. I will totally be making myself some of these, thanks for the idea.

  2. lovely refashion!! thanks for sharing!

  3. Great way to reuse a tee - so cute!

  4. I was wondering. What kind of fabric did you use for the top part? I don't know if I can find it in JoAnn Fabric Stores. Is it a stretchy type of fabric?

  5. Lisa, it came out of the stash so I don't know the exact fiber content but I'd guess its 100% cotton. It's a regular woven fabric but fairly loosely woven, kind of gauzy, not terribly stretchy though.

  6. Hi, I'm from WR. I was wondering what the back looks like and how you finished the top of the back. I would like to make some of these for me and my daughter. Thanks in advance!

  7. The back piece is actually just a regular rectangle. The bottom was already finished (because I used the bottom of the old shirt) and the top I folded over and zigzagged (I don't have a serger so that's how I sew knits).

    Another trick is that I didn't actually sew that down until I had sewn up the sides of the two pieces (leaving a little space open on both sides). That was because the fabric was really stretchy and I ended up having extra fabric on one side. (Either my cutting was off to begin with or one side stretched more then the other when I sewed it.) So in order to have the two sides actually meet the front piece on the same spot I folded down different amounts on either side and ended up trimming off the excess. Hope that makes sense!