Thursday, March 8, 2012

Upcycled Button Sleeve Shirt

I like having something new to wear. Upcycled T-Shirt
I like it even more when I only spent $.60 on the new clothing! How did I do that? Read on….
T-shirt repurpose
The black shirt is my favorite t-shirt (it’s from Gap.) However, it is just a tiny bit too short. I’ve had it for quite awhile and I guess it shrank. So not only did it get new sleeves, it got a new band around the bottom, too.
How did it only cost $.60? I found this gray striped shirt at Target. It was marked at $3.60, but I had a coupon I’d printed off Target’s website for $3.00 off a clothing item of this brand. I bought a size XXL to get the most fabric possible.
Here’s a description of what I did to add the banded bottom.
I wanted to use the factory-serged edge from the original shirt to avoid hemming it. I don’t have a serger and I don’t really love putting a perfect hem into something like this.
From the gray striped shirt, I cut two pieces using the hem as the new bottom of the shirt. I measured and allowed a 1/2” seam allowance on one side of the pieces. I used the existing seam as the other side seam. (Does that make sense?) Then I sewed up the other side to make a tube.
To attach the tube to the bottom of the shirt, I slid the raw edge of the gray and white striped fabric under the black shirt’s original hem. I pinned (a lot!). Using black thread, I sewed stretch stitch right on top of the black shirt’s original hem to secure the new gray and white striped piece!
Ok. Onto the sleeves. I wanted to use the factory-serged edges again for the sleeve bottoms.
Sleeves taper a bit from the armpit to the wrist. So I measured to see at what point the striped shirt’s sleeve width matched the black shirt’s sleeve width. I cut it off a little bit longer to have extra for seam allowance.
Then I pinned it (making sure that it overlapped with the black shirt’s original seam) and sewed it onto the black shirt with the same stretch stitch.
Repeat with the other sleeve.
Hint: Rolling the sleeve a few times allows it to fit onto the arm of the sewing machine. You’ll have to stretch it a bit.
Here you can see how long the sleeves ended up. I wanted them to be a little bit shorter.
After considering a few options, I decided to roll the sleeves, tack them, and add some faux buttons.
I used some gray jersey scraps. I sewed two tubes about 6” long and about 1/5” wide. Allow for 1/2” seam allowance and leave them open on one end. I clipped the corners so they would be nice and square after turning and pressing.
Turning the tubes:
I pressed both tubes and then top stitched them each. I did not use a double needle; I just sewed each one two times. After my struggles with my double needle tangling thread this summer, I haven’t used it.
Anyway, after neatly rolling the cuffs about three times each, I hand sewed the strip to the shirt, catching both ends….IMG_4329
And then I added a nice green button on top of that. IMG_4330 IMG_4508
I repeated it for the other side. Now it is a nice, cute, easy shirt to wear as the weather gets warmer!
I still have some gray and white striped fabric left. I’ll have to come up with another project to use the rest of it!


  1. It looks adorable, clever thinking buying the xxl!!

  2. very cute. I've been an altering nut for a while now and am just getting serious with my blog. I'm also your newest fan. I love what you did with the sleeves. :)

    1. Thanks for following! Can't wait to see what you're altering lately!

  3. Super cute! I'd love it of you linked up to Crafty Cousins!


    Crafty Cousins is your newest follower! :)

  4. Thanks & welcome!
    I did link up!

  5. Love this, I did something similar a while back but forgot about it. I know I have some shirts now that would totAlly work to do this too

    1. I have shirts I know I've given away that I could've used this same technique on to save them! Glad you still have yours in your closet!

  6. Thank you for linking to Handmade Tuesdays. I wish I could sew! My favorite detail on this is the cute button. And smart idea buying an XL g
    To get the most fabric.

    1. You could sew! It just takes some trial and error (at least that is how I operate!)

  7. Cute cute! I love Gap's Favorite Tees but I have the same complaint... long enough at first and then suddenly they shrink! ERRRR!! What an awesome solution! Thanks for sharing!
    Found you on Polly want a Crafter
    Visiting from Well Rounded,

    1. Glad I'm not the only one with the shrinking Gap T-Shirt problem.

  8. I love this and will do it on a couple tops that are too short., thanks, kathy


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