Introduction: How to Make a Summer Top From a T-shirt

This is an easy alteration and would work on an adult or kid-size t-shirt.  It's a great way to give an old, tired shirt new energy!

Step 1: What You'll Need

two t-shirts, one long-sleeved t-shirt OR one t-shirt and some knit fabric;  sewing machine;  scissors;  thread to match shirt and safety pins

Step 2: Cutting the Shirt

Lay the shirt out flat.  Draw a line diagonally from the center of the back of  the neck to just under the arm on both sides.  Cut along the line through both layers.

Draw a line straight across the top, just under the neck.  Cut through both layers.

Cut about 1 1/2" off the bottom.  Shirts can vary, so alter this to meet your needs.  You'll be adding about 3" back on later.

Step 3: Cutting the Second Fabric

Cut three pieces from your second knit (second shirt, sleeves or knit fabric), each 40" long and 2" wide.  If you don't have pieces that long, sew shorter pieces together, preferrably with a diagonal seam to cut down on bulk.

Cut two pieces, each 1/2" longer than your shirt is wide (for my shirt it was 18") and 3 1/2" wide. 

Step 4: Making the Braid Straps

Stitch the three 40" pieces together at one end.  The fabric I used had a definite wrong side, so I folded them in half first.  If you're using t-shirt scraps, that shouldn't be necessary.

Braid together, keeping the wrong side turned in, if you have one.  Pin the finishing end with a safety pin so it doesn't come unbraided.

Step 5: Armholes and Neck

Hem the armholes by turning under 5/8', turning the raw edge inside that, pressing and stitching with a narrow zigzag stitch.

Turn the upper edge at the neck under 1 1/4", then turn the raw edge in 1/4".  Stitch with a narrow zigzag to form a casing.  Make sure to stitch all the way to the armhole instead of stopping at the edge of the casing inside.

Step 6: Adding the Braid to the Shirt

Feed the braid through the casings, front and back.  Pin the ends of the braid together and try the shirt on to make sure the length of the braid is right.  Cut shorter if necessary.

Sew the ends of the braid together.  Pull until the sewn-together end is inside the back casing.

Adjust braid so it's equal on both sides.  Pin in the center of the casing.  Gather the shirt equally on both sides of pin by pushing toward the center while holding the braid.  Stitch the edges of the shirt to hold the braid in place.  Repeat on the back, gathering less.

Step 7: Finishing the Bottom Edge

Stitch the ends together on the 18" pieces with a 1/4" seam to form a continuous loop.

Pin the loop to the bottom edge of the shirt, right sides together and edges even.  Stitch with a 3/8" seam.

Press the seam up toward the shirt.  Zigzag stitch over the raw edge on the inside.

Hem the bottom with a 1/4" seam.

Press the seams and you're done!
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