January 6, 2011

Goodwill t-shirt makeover

I purchased this t-shirt at Goodwill awhile back for 99 cents.

I think I bought it to use as knit fabric for another project? It's been sitting on the floor of my craft room for several months now which is why it's so wrinkled. It's 2 to 3 sizes bigger than I normally wear, but I hadn't re-donated it yet because I loved the color and the soft knit. It is a good length. (I love long shirts). It is a fitted style but was too wide in the body and the sleeves. I decided to use elastic thread (my absolute new favorite crafting supply) and try and shrink it up a bit. It could turn out to be a total disaster, but I figured I'd only be out 99 cents and my very valuable time. Using matching thread in the machine, a ball point needle for knit fabric, and a bobbin of elastic thread I started sewing. And sewing. And sewing. And I love how it turned out. Now the picture is not so great. It's late. The lighting is bad. And I'm trying to take a picture of myself using the timer on my camera. But I do have a great model pose going on.

I made 6 rows of stitching around the bottom of the shirt. Each row is about 3/8" apart. After the first row of stitching is done, use the outside edge of the presser foot as a guide for additional rows so they're nice and straight. This made it more fitted around the bottom. As an added bonus it perfectly hides the boring brown belt used to hold up my jeans.

I made 5 rows of stitching (about 1/4" apart--use the inside edge of the presser foot as a guide) around each sleeve. This resulted in a cute little ruffled sleeve.

I made 4 rows of stitching (again about 3/8" apart) on each shoulder (2 rows on each side of the shoulder seam). This pulled the sleeves up just enough to fit perfectly at the shoulder.

I made 7 rows of stitching (about 3/8" apart) on the front of the shirt. I wanted to add something interesting to jazz up the plain front, but maybe this wasn't the area to do it. It looks fine most of the time, but every once in awhile it will bunch up funny. And nobody likes funny bunching right between her boobs. Sorry-- you don't get a close up picture of this.

I really love the way the shirt turned out. It was a very quick project until the stitching was finished and I had to pull all those threads to the back and knot them with the elastic bobbin thread. That took forever. In 2011 I have vowed not to dress like a complete slob on my days off and to dress a little nicer on the days I work. I also don't want to wear a plain old t-shirt everyday. And I refuse to spend a lot of money on clothes. (I seriously buy all of my clothes at Goodwill with the exception of underwear and socks.) I wore my fancy new shirt today, and I actually felt cute and a little hip and trendy (aside from the old lady shoes I was wearing). No more shapeless, extra large sweatshirts for this girl! Now I just need an awesome accessory to go with my new shirt. Any suggestions?

I'm entering this project in Round 2 of Crafting with the Stars at Sew Dang Cute Crafts. I figure I don't have a snowball's chance, but 2011 is also going to be my year to try lots of new things. And you never know unless you try!

Also linking up to DIY Under $5 at A Little Tipsy.


  1. What a great transformation. I think I have to get some elastic thread and play with it.

  2. I LOVE IT!!! I seriously paid $24.99 for a shirt like that at a department store for my daughter only to get it home and her to refuse to wear it because it was way to pink. I wish I would have paid 99 cents for it and made it all kinds of cute myself.

  3. Love using multiple layers of the elastic thread!! I have got to try this!! Thanks for linking up with DIY under $5!

  4. Great idea! I use elastic thread on my daughters clothes. I hadn't thought to do something for myself. Heading off to go through my t-shirts!

  5. I use elastic thread all the time and I don't hand-knot it afterwards. I just backstitch twice (forward, back, forward, back, then sew!) at the beginning and ending of each line, and I've NEVER had any problems with it coming undone. Hope that helps make your projects a little easier in the future! I love this shirt and can't wait to try it myself! :)