I recently started sewing my own tee shirts. However, I found that my local fabric and craft stores don’t stock a wide selection of knit fabrics, and that they don’t come cheap.
Fortunately, as I was reading a variety of sewing blogs, I came across the idea of up-cycling and re-using fabric from existing clothing to make new clothing. I decided to try it out by making another tee shirt.
I Bought a Thrift Store Tee Shirt
I went to a local thrift store and bought a men’s extra large tee shirt made from a cotton knit fabric that was in great condition and cost only a few dollars.
I Reused the Fabric
After washing and drying the tee shirt, I cut it apart at the seams and removed and set aside the ribbing from the neckline. I then made a trip to the craft store and bought a spool of matching thread.
Next, I laid out the front and back fabric pieces on the fold and cut out my front and back pattern pieces. I used the sleeve fabric pieces to cut out my sleeve pattern pieces.
A nice bonus is that I was able to incorporate the existing hems on the bottom and on the sleeves of the old tee shirt into my pattern pieces, thus saving me a bit of sewing work.
Then, I labeled all the pattern pieces and noted the wrong side of each piece so as not to mix them up.
I Sewed the Fabric
I pinned the pattern pieces wrong sides together and sewed them together using my very basic sewing machine. (It’s a Singer Advance.)
Because I was sewing knit fabric, I used a ball point needle, which is designed to more easily pierce the weave of knit fabric. And again, because I was sewing knit fabric, I used a stitch that stretches. I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew the tee shirt seams and to sew the neckband onto the tee shirt.
I had planned to reuse the ribbing I removed to make the neckband for the tee shirt, but I made a mistake while trimming it, and so I ended up using some of the extra tee shirt fabric to make the neckband instead.
I Made an Up-cycled Tee Shirt!
Here is the finished tee shirt. It went from being a men’s extra large tee shirt to being a women’s small/medium tee shirt. Yay for up-cycling!