Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another T-Shirt Refashion: Tank Top

After my success with my first t-shirt to tank top refashion I decided to try another one. This time I based it on a favorite halter top I already owned. I started with a kind of yucky XL men's t-shirt (I didn't' want to start with a really nice shirt since this was an experiment). Here is the before:

And after:

How I did it: I used my old shirt to design a pattern piece for the front and the back. Here are the pattern pieces:

As you can see I had a little difficulty getting a good picture.

Actually a lot of difficulty. Finally I got a good one:

Now for my boring attempt at technical instructions: both these pattern pieces are for only half, the right side of each piece is where the fold would go. The one on the left is half the front piece and the one on the right is the same half of the back piece. Tip for knits: last time I tried folding the fabric in half before cutting and it stretched all wonky. This time I cut out one side and then flipped the pattern and used it to cut the other side and this worked much better. The back piece of the shirt is pretty basic with the exception of a little flare at the bottom. The front is the same but taller. It is also not a perfect rectangle: it curves in a little at the top but not too much because I wanted to have enough fabric to scrunch up at the top of the halter. There are seam allowances on the sides of the front and back and a hem allowance on the top of the back piece. There is also a hem allowance on the top of the front but this is larger because it will also form the channel for the straps. Finally: I didn't add a hem allowance to the bottom because I used the bottom of the old t-shirt for the bottom of my new shirt because that hem is always so nice and professional looking. The strap is one long tube which I sewed and then flipping inside out, threaded through the channel at the top and sewed down in the back. Here is the back so you can see the detail:

So I had some more photography issues. And if you think that is the same cat it's not. Don't believe me? Here's proof:

Finally got a good shot:

Here is a closer one. You can see how the strap works and why it's important to make your top hem large so you can get the strap through it:

Another tip: to avoid the little logo on the shirt I cut the back piece out of the front of my old shirt (since the back is shorter) and the front piece out of the back (since the back had nothing on it).

I'm very happy with the result especially considering it was an experimental version. I'm definitely going to play around with the pattern and fabric and try other versions. If this was made a little looser there is no reason it would have to be made from a knit.


  1. you're inspiring me to make something of the toss out heap. :) t-shirts have extended use!

    and love the cats... ours is white with only a black tail and black spot on top of the head. :)

  2. This is AWESOME!!! Great refashion.

  3. That's an awesome redo of an old shirt!

  4. I Love that shirt! It looks awesome!

  5. It is amazing how nice that top looks on you and that you made it from the t-shirt makes it all the better.

  6. I love it! I'm totally inspired, I just have to get a better strapless bra to go with it!

  7. Hello- do you think that this re-fashion would look good backwards? Or is the front made larger? I like straps in the front. By the way, how funny! I, too, live in Southern Rhode Island. It's so funny to be randomly looking on the internet and find someone within a twenty mile radius. I don't have an account so I am just going to sign this anonymous, but could you post your answer on here if you are reading this?
    Thanks! Great job with the top.

  8. Yay for So. RI! In response to your question, I'm not sure how my version would look backwards but I've seen very similar shirts where the front and the back are the same. They are both designed like the front of the one I did with the straps going through the top of both sides (if that makes sense). Kind of like this one: http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/2008/04/last-weeks-refa.html

    Hope that helps!

  9. Thanks!
    from so. ri anonymous.

  10. your cats are very cute but more pictures of the actual process would be helpful.

  11. I bookmarked this project and then realized what the name of your website was. I'm from Southern RI, too! My husband is the true swamp yankee, though. :)

  12. Can you give detailed dimensions of the pattern and your size so I know how much bigger to make this for myself?Also, more detailed instruction on the "tube" stitching for the scrunching on the front would be helpful. Thanks!

  13. I just made myself one of these! Thanks for posting!!