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DIY: Refashion an Old Tee

Updated on March 2, 2015

Getting Started

When doing your first refashioning project your first instinct might be to pick out your favorite tee that you never wear, but STOP! Don't do it....seriously. You're most likely about to take scissors to an article of clothing and do something that you've never done before .... yes... let that sink in.... and then put down the tee that you love and find an old grungy one or one that you maybe like, but you won't miss if it got ruined. Once you have the beginner tee chosen then you will need to determine your skill level so you can choose a project that you can handle.

Refashion - What is it?

The term refashion gets thrown around a lot in the DIY world these days, but you may not know what it is. In it's simplest form it's recycling. You take old clothes, or clothing that you simply won't wear and you give it a new life, much like aluminum cans, paper and glass are recycled. The level and skills needed for refashioning items can vary greatly. T-shirts are one of the easiest items of clothing to refashion because they are stretchy, they don't fray and they can be refashioned without a sewing machine or needle and thread.

No Sew Designs

For the beginner a no sew refashion project is ideal. You can create cute, girly and more stylish tees with a few snips of them scissors.

1. Flutter Sleeve Tee: With a few snips of the sleeves and collar Stellar Mother shows you how to create a super cute flutter sleeve tee sure to give a more feminine look to your boring tee.

2. Shoulder Chic: By simply cutting off the sleeves you'll be left with a chic sleeveless tank perfect a day at the beach or a night out.

3. Tee to Vest: Just because it starts as a tee doesn't mean that the final product has to be a tee. This tutorial will show you how to make an easy breezy vest. I think this project would work best on a tee with an all over design, or a really cool design that can be featured on the back.

4. Tee to Tank: When it's hot outside a light, airy, cotton is perfect, so why not make one out of your favorite tee?

Low Sew Designs

Once you've mastered the designs above you may be ready to jump into some of low sew projects. Of course you can use a sewing machine for these projects, but they are so easy they can be completed by hand as well.

1. Tee to Adjustable Tank: By creating a casing in the front and back, and sliding a tie through you can create a cute and comfy tank perfect for a music festival or just lounging by the pool. You can also opt to cut the back part off straight across and just have the front tie on halter style.

2. Lace Front Tee: Instead of cutting into the tee how about adding to the tee. For this one you actually start with a plain well fitting tee and then fancy it up!

3. Dolman Tee: With your scissors and a couple of quick seams you can create a cute dolman sleeve top.

4. Anthropologie Knock-off: This one is a bit more in depth, but the results are superb! All of your friends will be jealous!

More Fun Designs

Fringe Top: This still qualifies as low sew....and super fab! The tutorial says to use tees, tanks in the same color, but I think it would be fun to use two different colors for an even more fun look.

Ruffle Shirt: The skill level on this one might be slightly higher, but it's really not difficult, just some cute ruffles added to a once boring tee.

Bow Back: I really don't even want to try to describe this project because it is just too cute for words.

Beach Cover-up: Those words are too simple for this stunning no sew project. With some fancy cutting, and maybe a little bit of paint you'll have an exotic looking beach cover-up that sure to please.


In addition to all these awesome tutorials online, you can find some great crafty books to spark your creativity!

Get Busy Creating!

I really have only just scratched the surface of the different ways you can refashion tees. Hopefully these projects will inspire you to look at your wardrobe in a whole new way. Once you feel you've mastered these projects, or if you want to see more try searching for "tee refashion", "t-shirt refashion" or "t-shirt surgery" online and see what you come up with. Pinterest is always a wonderful place to look for inspiration and tutorials. If you're too scared to try this yourself, but still want some cool refashioned clothing be sure to hop over to Etsy, and see what's available for purchase, or find a designer who will refashion your favorite tee for you.


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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      4 years ago from California Gold Country

      There are some fun ideas here. I watched the video for the vest-- simple enough for me to do.

      Welcome to HubPages!


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