Tutorial: No-Sew Ten-Minute T-shirt Upcycle

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!

Be sure to check out these parties where I’m linking up, such as this one!


7 thoughts on “Tutorial: No-Sew Ten-Minute T-shirt Upcycle

  1. Oh this is fantastic – so simple!!

    I would love if you came and linked this project to my clothes upcycling page. It has a long term linky, so your project would stay there for more than just the week of a usual linky. We have over 50 projects linked up now – some fantastic ideas – and this month I’m upcycling lots of clothes and trying to feature lots of the links too!
    Do come and take a look!

  2. So cute!!! I am visiting from Somewhat Simple and I would LOVE if you would kindly link up this awesome idea to my very FIRST Delicately Constructed Fridays; a crafty linky party that starts tomorrow!
    Please 🙂
    Have a great day!!

  3. This is a great idea. I have made some long tanktop dresses , and was having ahard time with my bra strap showing , so I made one long tie for each shoulder. Slipped the tie under bra strap then tied a bow at the shoulder…..problem solved.

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