Introduction: How to Convert a Shirt to Sleeveless
In August, we suddenly had a heat wave in the Yukon (in northern Canada). Normally summer is almost over at this time of year, and when I went shopping for a sleeveless top, all I could find were down-filled vests and jackets!
So I decided to convert one of my existing short-sleeved shirts to a sleeveless shirt. This would also be a useful way to save a shirt if one of the sleeves gets damaged or ripped.
Step 1: Cut Sleeve Off, Except for About 5/8"
I cut off the sleeve close to the armhole, leaving about 5/8" of the sleeve fabric as a "facing" to turn under and create a finished edge.
Step 2: Finish Raw Edge
- Thread your sewing machine with a thread that matches the colour of your shirt
- Use the zigzag stitch on your sewing machine to finish the raw edge.
TIP - Test your zigzag stitch on the part of the sleeve that you have cut off, and adjust the stitch width and length until you are happy with it. You are just trying to prevent the raw edge from fraying, so you don't need the stitch to be a tight "satin stitch", but the stitches should be close enough to create a neat edge.
Step 3: Iron This "facing" Under
This thin strip from the former sleeve (which you've just zigzagged) is your "facing".
Iron this under with an iron, so that it lies neatly under the original seam which joined the sleeve and the body of the shirt.
Step 4: Sew Facing Down
Return to your sewing machine.
Use a straight stitch to sew the facing in place, sewing close to the zigzagged edge of the fabric.
If you've stitched this an even distance from the edge (e.g. 1/2" or 3/8"), this line of sewing will look just fine on the right side of the shirt.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Cool New Shirt!
This conversion to sleeveless can be done with a long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt and takes less than half an hour.
Enjoy that heat wave!
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