In this project we'll show you how to refashion a man's tee into a boat neck top with cap sleeves and a fitted waistband. (Please be sure to check with your beau before snaking his shirt for this project!)
It's that time of year again, when baseball fans get excited because spring training is under way and a new season is about to begin. Oh boy! Part of the fun of going to baseball games (aside from the hot dogs, peanuts, and ice cold beverages of course) is rooting for your home team. And clearly, rooting for your home team involves wearing the right outfit. Clearly.
If you're a baseball fan (or hang out with one that plies you with icy cold beverages to get you to watch the game) you know that team shirts are usually big, boxy and not flattering on us gals. (There are girl versions that come in pink and fit like a baby doll tee from the nineties. No thanks, we'll make our own!)
Step 1: Cut From the Team
Start by cutting off the bottom of the shirt, about 1.5 inches above the hem. Hold onto this part as it will become your boat neck collar. Also, cut off the sleeves and the existing collar as shown below.
Step 2: Fitting In
Go hunting in your closet for a t-shirt that fits you well. You'll use it as a sizing template for the bodice of your new shirt by laying it on top and pinning along the side seams. Line up the centerlines of both shirts (to find the centerline, fold each top in half lengthwise, matching side seam to side seam and use a pin to mark the fold). Place the shoulder seam of the sample shirt about 1/2 inch below the cut edge of your new tee (this space is for seam allowance in the new shoulder seam).
Place pins down the side seams, about 1/2 inch on the outside edges of the sample shirt (for seam allowance). Stop pinning at the armpits and make sure you mark that point (marked in the photo below using a blue pin, though you can also use chalk to mark this spot). Next, mark the point on the shoulder seam where the sample shirt's sleeve and body are connected (white pin on the right in photo below). Lift off the sample shirt. Following the original curve of the sleeve that you cut off, place a pin to connect the armpit to the shoulder (pink pin in photo below).
You can do this on both sides as shown below, or you can save time by pinning only one side and then folding the shirt in half lengthwise before you start cutting.
Cut along the pinned lines.
Step 3: Neck and Neck
To create the new neckline, place a pin about 1.5-2.0 inches towards the center from the shoulder pin you placed (in the photo above it is the other white pin you see). Do this on the other side too. You do not need to do this if you plan to fold in half before cutting.
Cut a curved line between the 2 inside shoulder pins. If you chose not pin the other side, cut a curved line from the pin to the center of the folded shirt to make a shallow swooped neckline.
Step 4: Sew Close
Face the two shirt pieces party side to party side. Using a medium length straight stitch, start in the armpits and sew the side seams together. Don't forget to back tack at the beginning and the end. Next, sew the shoulder seams closed using the same settings. Be sure to leave the curved arm seams open (so you can place your arms through the shirt!).
Step 5: Cap's Off
Using the original sleeves that you cut off, cut a triangle to use for your new cap sleeves. Cut them about 3.0 inches at the widest part, and use the full circumference of the original sleeve. After you cut one, lay it on top of the second sleeve to use as a template, making sure you cut them both the same size.
Pin the new sleeves to the shoulder of the shirt body. Make sure you pin party side to party side and that you center the sleeve with the shoulder.
Sew along the pinned line of both sleeves, and then admire how darn cute they are!!
Step 6: Full Boat
Take the original waistband that you cut from the shirt and cut it open in one spot so you have a long strip to work with. Starting at one of the shoulder seams, pin the band along the neckline, party side to party side. Go all the way around to create the new boat neck collar. After you sew this down, you'll see how it stands up and adds a whole new finished dimension to your shirt!
The only real trick to getting the collar to stand up like that, is to sew the ends of your original waist band strip (the piece that you sew onto the neckline of the shirt) together after you've sewn all around the neckline. This sort of perks up the new collar. Other than that it's just the stiffness of the old waistband that gives it body.
Step 7: Get Waist-ed
You could skip this step and leave the waistband with a raw edge if you don't have any other fabric or you just like the deconstructed look. But if you're down with a waistband, cut a 4-inch wide strip of cotton lycra, or some other stretchy fabric (if your shirt was REALLY big, you may even have some of that fabric leftover). The strip should be slightly longer than the circumference of your's bottom edge.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise, with the party side facing out, and sew it to the waistband of the shirt using a medium zigzag stitch. Make sure you face the party side of the shirt to the waistband as you're sewing so that when you're done, the stitches hide on the inside.
Depending on your style and the fit of you new top, you may want to add a dart or two down the back of the shirt to take it in a little bit through the waist. This will also help tighten the waistband around the hips.