Whenever I want to refashion something I often consider what can be done with my old t-shirts because there is always so much potential for upcycling. There is something about the stretchiness of the fabric gives you a lot of room to work with. I've only worn this t-shirt a few times, and I felt that it was in need of some serious jazzing up if I was going to wear it anymore as it was a bit plain. I knew I wanted to make a halterneck top, but I wanted more of a 50s edge to it so after some trial and error I came up with this refashioning tutorial.
Here is my t-shirt on the mannequin in it's original form before I started chopping it up. It's just a simple long-sleeved, high neck t-shirt.
Chop off the top of the t-shirt, straight across from shoulder to shoulder. Keep hold of the scraps as you'll need those later.
Some people have given me feedback about an issue they had with a pocket of fabric under the armpit. I have updated this step to rectify the situation:
The next part is the trickiest bit of the tutorial as you need to fold the sleeves so that they lie flat inside the t-shirt. Firstly, turn the top inside out, but not the sleeves. Keep them turned the 'right way'- this should mean that they are still inside the body of the top, as illustrated with my very technical drawing on the right! Make the sleeves as flat against the top as possible, and make sure that the long top edge of the sleeves is running parallel with the top edge of the shirt in the upper left and right corners. The sleeves also need to be angled upwards by gathering the fabric at the top, on the outside of the sewing lines. This will remove any surplus fabric when you come to sew the halterneck straps later in the tutorial. Pay attention to the position of the sleeves in connection to the sewing lines!
Here is a close up of what the arm holes look like from the side. It is a bit of trial and error to pin them in place in a tidy, flat position but it can be done.
When the sleeves are pinned into position you will need to run a zig-zag stitch straight up the side seams (where I have illustrated with black lines in the above photo). The placement of your seams depends on the rough measurements you took when trying on the top earlier.
You should have a neat, tube top with the 2 sleeve flaps on the inside
Flip it the right way out and you'll see that the sleeves are coming out of the side of the seam. Position them as I have angled them in the photo on the left, pin them down in this position to the top layer of the t-shirt (not both layers!!) and sew them down with a zig-zag stitch.
Here is a close up so you can see where I have stitched it down.
Pin one of the ties on to the centre front of the shirt, about 3 inches below the neckline. Stitch it on at the base with a zig-zag stitch. Flip the top inside out and sew the other tie in the exact same position but on the opposite side of the top. Trim away any excess fabric from the tie so that you have a nice, clean edge.
And you're done!
Hopefully your finished product should look something like this below, I teamed it with some pearls and I think this top would look great worn under a circle skirt, a pencil skirt or with denim shorts. The deep neck line and the thick halterneck straps give it a kind of 50s look that will work well with lots of different outfits.
Let me know if you try this out!