It’s no secret I love refashioning. It is my lazy side coming out ;). If you find just the right shirt, all the hard work is done for you. Little details like a gathered neckline are easy to leave alone, while you cut the shirt down to a smaller size. Last year I had made a little swimsuit cover-up from an adult shirt and I have used similar techniques ever since. In this tutorial I will show you some other ways you can have fun with refashioning.
I wanted to cut this shirt down from a woman’s medium to a toddler 4T. I had bought a bunch of fabric with a mustard color in it, and could not find a shirt anywhere to go with the bottoms I have made. Then the lucky score at the thrift store! Seriously the perfect color. I had a hard time cutting this one up, cause it actually fit me just right :).
This shirt was a knit and was pretty forgiving. You don’t have to finish all the hems, because knit doesn’t fray, so you can have fun with different finishes. I decided to add a little ruching to the side, because I think that look just goes better with skirts. It’s so easy, I think I might add a little to all my shirts, so flattering!
Follow me after the jump and I will show you how easy it is to add little details, like a layered sleeve and ruched sides! You’ll have a new toddler shirt in no time :)
How To Refashion A Woman’s Knit Top For A Child Size
- all your sewing stuff
- knit shirt
- a shirt that fits your model
- thin elastic
Where we are sewing with knit we will use only a 1/4 inch seam allowance throughout unless noted. Be sure to set your stitch length at a knit stitch if your machine has one. Mine doesn’t, so I use a little longer stitch length. You will want to do the same to prevent threads from breaking during wear.
Start by laying the smaller shirt onto the adult shirt, lining up the front necklines. This way, you can use the neckline of the adult shirt. I happened to have a sleeveless shirt, but if you don’t just use a t-shirt, and fold in the sleeves.
Now simply cut around the shirt you are using for a pattern, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. For the neckline, the front necklines of both shirts should be lined up, so you will just cut where the back of the neckline will be. You want the shirt to be plenty long for the ruching so make sure that you leave enough length that without the ruching it would touch the top of their thigh. My shirt was just right, so I followed that length, you may have to drop down a few inches :).
Here is our shirt. Easy right? Look at that pretty gathered neckline, and you didn’t have to do it!
From the shirt scraps cut three long strips, mine measured 1 x 13 inch, and that was plenty.
We will start sewing on the back of the shirt first. Take one of the strips and pin it onto the right side of the back neckline like shown. You will have to cut the length of the strip down.
Press the strip up, and then under.
It should look like this now. Just sew along the neckline about a 1/4 inch from the seam.
Like you can see in the picture, I did add a second row of stitches, it looks good and holds the seam down.
Next we will sew up the shoulders. Pin the front and back with right sides together at the shoulder. Sew both sides.
Now lay the shirt open with the wrong side up. Lay one of the cut strips down along the armhole. Cut the strip to length, and overlap the edges about a 1/2 inch. Pin if you like.
Sew on the right side, again with a longer stitch length.
It should look like this when you are done. Repeat on the other arm.
Now with right sides together, pin up the sides. Sew them up with a longer stitch length.
Turn right side out and this is what you have. You can hem up the bottom if you like, but it doesn’t need to be. Knit just rolls up a little when left alone. At this point you could be done…but really, it’s so cute ruched, so…
Cut a 3-4 inch piece of elastic (I cut 3 inches for a 4T) and sew to the wrong side of the seam. Just line it up about a 1/2 inch from the bottom and sew a few stitches. Then stretch the elastic as much as you can and sew right along the seam of the shirt. You don’t want to stretch the shirt, just the elastic. Be sure to backstitch.
This is what you should end up with.
Making a nice gather at the waist. Perfect for skirts! Works great as an undershirt too.
All done! This took me about an hour, and that is with taking pictures. So quick and easy.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will answer them there. And if you make one, send me a link or picture!
Last year in Sew Be It we were making No Sew Bibs From Onsies. Seriously, the easiest project ever, and perfect to use up all the onsies your kiddos grow out of!