A Different Approach to the UpCycle T-Shirt Tank Top

Before I started to sew, I always saw others taking old t-shirts and doing amazing things with them; from making skirts, tanks, children dresses, tube tops etc. During my weekly fabric browsing trip ;-),  I found a t-shirt in the sale bin at JoAnns and thought I would take a different approach to the UpCycle idea. Here is what I came up with:

Here is what you need
A t-shirt (preferably one size bigger than your current size)
One rhinestone

First, lay out a tank top or a t-shirt that fits you on top of the bigger t-shirt.

Next step is to cut all the way around your smaller shirt, leaving about 1/2″ seam allowance. I wanted mine a little smaller, so I cut it right at the edge. When you reach the sleeves, cut around both of them following the seam that’s already there on the bigger t-shirt.
 For the neck, I marked and cut about 1″ inwards all the way around the front neckline. For the back, I just cut out the top neck piece.

I also made a curved bottom but you can do it straight. It will look just as good. 
Now its time to take it to the sewing machine. I like finishing my edges on knits. It makes the project look finished. However, you can leave all the edges unfinished if you want a rugged look. One good thing about knits, especially t-shirts is that they don’t ravel so you don’t have to serge or zig zag.
If you decide to finish your edges like me, fold in your neckline and your arm holes about 1/4″ and sew all the way around.
 Once you do the armholes, sew down the sides of the shirt about 1/4″. You can also hem if you would like. For my shirt, I fold it in 1/4″ and then again another 1/4″ just for a more polished finish.

As always, iron out your seams for a professional look. Now onto the ruffles! Take the extra pieces you had from your big t-shirt (bottom with hem cut out, sleeves  and sides) and make a 2″ strip of ruffles. I made sure I used up every bit of fabric as I possibly could so I could make as much ruffles as possible. The more ruffles you can put on the shirt, the better! I made about 1 and 1/2 yds of ruffles for this project. To make ruffles, you simple put your stitch length to the longest possible setting and sew down the middle of your 2″ strip locking your stitch at the beginning and not locking at the end. Then, all you do is take one thread from your unlocked end and pull to create your ruffles.
You can then pin on your ruffles making whatever pattern you want or whatever pattern your amount of ruffle allows on your shirt. I hate pinning, so instead, I drew a curved line on my shirt from the upper right to the left middle. I then guided my ruffle on the line as I sew it to the shirt.

My line is faint in this picture but hopefully you can still see it.


After my first row of ruffles, I had just enough to make half of another one, so I decided to just center it under the first ruffle. I then made a small ruffle flower and add it to the top. To make the ruffle flower, just take a piece of your ruffle and make a few circles, then stitch it on the shirt.

To give it a classy look, I added a rhinestone using fabric glue to the center of the ruffle flower.
And there you have it, my UpCycle T-Shirt Tank Top!


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