We are officially through with long-sleeved shirts for the season! As I put away winter clothes, I’m sorting out those shirts that I never wore this winter – not once! This was one of them:
I was also looking for some fun short-sleeved shirts, as I am currently lacking, and so decided to try an adult tee upcycle on this one! It needed to be a very fast project, so I went with this ten-minute no-sew upcycle. Really, ten minutes! Once you’ve done one, you can finish another in only five minutes! That’s how long it took me to upcycle one of my little girl’s long-sleeved tees, using the same technique!
First, cut off the sleeves. Cut close to the seam to conserve your material, but don’t worry about an exact, clean cut yet. Just chop them off, being careful not to cut the serged seam. Don’t make any extra work for yourself .
Next, clean those cuts up. Below, you can see exactly where I was cutting, along the serged seam. Because I kept this seam and cut right along it, I did not have to redo any part of the arm holes.
When you finish, here’s how your sleeveless tee will look:
Next, lay out one of the sleeves you’ve cut off. Cut it into two pieces; first, cut along the sleeve. Then, with the sleeve still folded, crease it well with your fingers and cut along the other side. You’ll end up with two equal pieces. Cut the ends at 45 degree angles. I didn’t cut any length off of these, but it will be up to you! The length of these pieces will change the look of your shirt. On the little girl version I did, I cut the sleeves shorter for more of a small-bow-at-the-shoulders look.
Now, the final step: Tie the sleeves around the shoulder of the tee. I did not do anything at all to the top part of this tee, other than tie one sleeve around each shoulder. Love bows? Tie it in a bow? Want some contrast? Tie ribbon instead of shirt sleeves! Don’t like the sleeves as long? Cut them shorter!
You still have one other sleeve left; try a different length of tie with it! Or, if your shirt had shrunk and was a little short, sew that material onto the bottom and add a little ruffle! Use it to make a rosette to sew onto the shirt if you’d like! Use your imagination, and make the top that suits you perfectly.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did do a little sewing after this picture was taken. I didn’t like the little gap you see under the arm, so I cut down the two sides of the shirt, folded the shirt over so it was inside out (right sides facing), and sewed a new 1/2″ seam up the sides. It took care of that problem. In my pre-sewing days (a.k.a. six months ago) I would have left this as-is and not worried about it at all.
Check out the little girl version as well, if you’d like!