Do you have a cute T-Shirt laying around that you never wear for one reason or another?
Maybe the sleeves are too tight and it's uncomfortable, maybe there's armpit stains, maybe it's got a hole in the top part. Or maybe you just don't particularly like the style!
Whatever your reason, here's an instructable for how to turn your unused shirt into a cute halter top.
Step 1: Materials You'll Need
1. I suppose you could sew it by hand, but it would take longer. So sewing machine! (A retro one from the 70's that you have had to label yourself with masking tape is especially helpful!)
2. Good scissors or other fabric cutting tool, and seam rippers (for the mistakes you're undoubtedly going to make if you're new to sewing.)
3. Some other necessary items I forgot to take photos of include:
- Fabric for the straps
- Fabric pen, or eyeliner in contrasting colour to fabric.
- Pins and needles... Not the kind you get in your butt from sitting on concrete for too long.
- Almost forgot this one, an old T-shirt!
Step 2: Select a Shirt
This might be easier said than done. Some things to consider.
1. Is the shirt still wearable, or do you still wear it?
2. Are you willing to risk ruining it to try and alter it?
I decided to go with the light green one, because I sweat.. like a lot, all the time. It's ridiculous. So any light coloured shirts I own tend to get armpit stains (as you can see in the photo if you look closely) and I haven't worn this one in a very long time, mainly due to that fact. So turning it into a shirt without sleeves would certainly improve it for my personal needs.
Step 3: Cut It Up! (See Tip First!)
Cut off the top of the back, as well as the sleeves, as low as you would like to go, bearing in mind that boobage might pop out the side if you're not careful.
Tip: Maybe BEFORE cutting it, put it on inside out, and mark where you want the seam to sit.
For that matter, you could measure and cut it all with straight or curved rulers, but I'm lazy. I mean, I'm unafraid of mistakes!
Step 4: Mark Better Lines (if They Need Fixing)
So since I decided to give this a bit of a curve around the top of the bust, and since I didn't measure and just eyeballed my lines, I got uneven, crooked edges, and I had to remark and cut it again before proceeding.
Step 5: (Optional) Mark Darts & Other Areas to Take In
If the shirt is too large, or you just want a better fit, put it on inside out again, then pull it taut along the sides, pin them, carefully take it off, and then you can mark with a fabric marker (or whatever, I use eyeliner sometimes) where the new side seams will be.
I also did darts along the bust, but to be honest, I think it would have fit better without those, so it's your call whether to include that.
I also did a back inseam, again, which I wish I hadn't have done. Just took extra time for a marginally improved fit.
Sew the new seams carefully, making sure to gradually get closer to the side as you get closer to the bottom. If you bring in the side seam right to the bottom (if you have an extremely large shirt, for example) you'll want to take out the bottom seam first, so that you can finish it nicely when you're done taking in the extra fabric.
Step 6: Cut and Pin the New Top Seam
Whenever you have curved edges, they tend to bulge and become unmanageable when trying to fold them over, so if you cut triangles in even spaces around the curve, once you fold it, the fabric will lay flat.
If you've chosen to do a straight seam, more like a tube top style, then cutting out the chunks is not necessary. It should fold flat easily.
At this point you should iron it, to help keep the fabric in place while sewing. I often skip the ironing part, but I did it for this instructable because for anyone who actually tries this, ironing it will give you a nicer finished seam.
Step 7: Measure and Cut Fabric for Halter Straps
I decided to go with a tie-type halter strap, because it's always adjustable that way, and it's easier to sew on, but you could make the two straps shorter, and clasp together at the back of the neck instead of tie; or keep them separate and make it a spaghetti strap tank, sewing them on the front and the back. Once you're at this point, it's pretty easy to sew on whatever kind of strap you like.
I've included the rulers in my images so that you can see exactly how wide and long I cut the fabric for the straps.
Step 8: Sew & Prepare Straps
This step seems complicated, but once you understand what's going on, it's fairly straight forward.
1. Take a strip that you cut out from the previous step, and fold it in half, long sides together. Sew along this seam, slowly getting a narrower seam the closer to the end you get, then finish it with a bit of a round or square bottom that doesn't come to a complete point.
2. The idea behind this step is that you're sewing the two edges together that will actually wind up on the inside of the strap, so you have to turn it right side out after it's sewn together.
- There are fancy sewing tools you can buy for this, but a straw and crochet hook (or any other skinny, long, and firm rod-type tool that will fit easily inside the straw) works just fine.
- See the image notes for the directions on how to do this.
Step 9: Pin Straps to Top of Shirt & Sew Seam
1. Remove a couple of pins around where you want the straps to go, then place them, and re-pin.
2. Sew the entire seam all the way around. I used a twin needle to try and achieve a more professional look. (Even though I wound up going around twice and did a bit of a crap job, and it's not exactly professional looking anyway.)
3. Try it on and make sure it fits okay and hope you didn't ruin it!
Step 10: Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labour!
Wear your new refurbished shirt with pride. :^)