We all have that favorite t-shirt that we can’t quite part with. Maybe you love the way it hugs your curves or you’re obsessed with the print or it reminds you of happy memories. No matter the holes, the unraveling hem, or ahem, the sweat stains, that favorite tee holds a well-loved place in your wardrobe. If you’re having trouble breaking up with that beloved t-shirt, then you’ll love our list of easy refashioning ideas.
Refashioning is the perfect alternative to throwing out worn clothing and helps you keep old clothes out of the landfill while giving your garments a fresh look. Our list of ways to refashion your favorite tee will show you how to take your t-shirts from basic to beautiful in just a few hours. We’ve also included a few DIY accessories if your tees are a little worse for wear, so that you can save them from the trash while transforming them into something completely new!
Whether your favorite t-shirt has a tiny stain that you need to hide or it’s barely holding itself together, you’ll find creative inspiration for your next sewing project below. Get ready to empty out your t-shirt drawer and grab your best pair of fabric scissors because you won’t be able to resist refashioning every tee you own.
Quick and Easy Refashioning Ideas
- Add ribbon, lace, or tassels to your hem – If your t-shirt hem has started to unravel or if you’ve been wanting to dress up a basic tee, adding a fun trim is a great update. Adding a trim with a larger width, like an eyelet lace, to the inside hem can also give the illusion of a layered look.
- Take your hemline to new heights – Crop tops are back in style thanks to a resurgence in 1980s and 1990s trends, so why not show a little skin? Simply use a fabric marker to mark your cutting line and start snipping. You can even add a front tie if you’re feeling extra flirty.
- Give your old tee the cold shoulder – Asymmetrical necklines are incredibly popular right now, so give your tees a Flashdance-inspired update. Depending on your t-shirt’s original neckline, you can also switch it up to a sweetheart, halter, or v-neck style with some basic sewing skills.
- Cover up holes with embellishments – If you’ve got a tear in your tee, like in the shoulder or back, cover up it with a fun embellishment. You can use lace, patchwork, or bows to disguise a hole while giving your top a new look.
- Stay on trend by adding cut-outs – Make a major statement with barely any effort! Adding some cut-outs, either to the sides or back of your tee, is a quick refashioning idea and is a great option to layer with tanks or sports bras in summer.
- Restyle your sleeves – Freshen up your favorite tee by refashioning your sleeves. You can add a side slit to your sleeves, leaving them open to show off your arms, or add insets, buttons, or ribbon detailing.
- When in doubt, add dye – If you love the shape of your top, but hate the color, add some tie dye. Tie dye is easy to personalize with color and design and is totally on trend for 2021. For an edgier look, try bleach dying on dark clothing!
- Turn it into a tank – We’ve included some ideas for sleeve redesign above, but if you’re a summer girl, why not just leave the sleeves behind? Making your tee into a tank top lets you adjust the neckline, shoulder strap width, and openness of the armholes to your comfort level.
- Go total beach babe – If you’re stuck with a t-shirt that’s too long, make it into a DIY bathing suit cover-up. For a flirty look, try cutting the side seams of your t-shirt and adding ties, lacing, or other fun fixtures.
- From top to bottom – Don’t feel restricted about keeping your tee on the top half of your body! Make your t-shirt into a mini to wear with bare legs in warmer weather or to layer with tights and leggings this fall. Cut your tee to a comfortable length and add an elastic waistband.
- Let’s play dress up – There are so many different options for turning a t-shirt into a comfy and cute dress! If you want to create a mini dress, start with an oversized t-shirt that hits around mid-thigh and tweak it to fit your personal style. For longer dresses, you can combine tees in contrasting colors for a playful color-blocked look. And speaking of quirky combinations…
- Two is better than one – One of the most popular types of t-shirt refashioning is combining two tops into one. For a chic and sleek look, combine a plain tee with a boldly patterned one to create a stunning contrast. Most often, the t-shirts are combined across the top of the bust or at the waist. You can also add the patterned tee to only the back of your completed top for a surprise detail!
- Make something for your mini – Treat your little one to something brand new for their wardrobe! Transforming your old tee into a simple sundress for your child is incredibly easy and cost-efficient. You can also redesign your tees into pajamas, baby rompers, and fabric backpacks for kids.
- To market, to market – A super quick and eco-friendly way to refashion an old tee is to turn it into a cloth tote or farmer’s market bag. The body of your t-shirt becomes the body of your bag, so that you can still show off a fun print or logo. This is also a great no-sew project for those new to working with fabric.
- Save your sunnies – A genius solution to upcycling your t-shirt sleeves are to turn them into handy little pouches. Turn your sleeves into a case for your sunglasses or tiny traveling bags using beginner sewing skills. You can easily add a button or snap closure to help secure your items.
- Go bold and braided – If your favorite tee has a lot of piling or faded fabric, slice it up and make it into fun jewelry! Cut the body of your tee into strips and then braid it into strands and join them together to make trendy bracelets and necklaces.
- Fall in love with scarves – Circle or infinity scarves are an excellent way to refashion a brightly colored or patterned tee. There are several options for personalizing how you finish this project but our favorites include layered strands of fabric for a bulkier scarf or cutting the edges for a flashy fringe look.
- You belong among the wildflowers – One of the simplest DIY accessories to make with scrap t-shirt fabric is fabric flowers. Fabric flowers can be made with your sewing machine, a hand needle and thread, or fabric glue. These quick sewing projects are perfect for adorning headbands and purses and can easily be made into brooches.
- Underneath it all – We know underwear is more of a necessity rather than an accessory, but believe it or not, you can turn your old tees into undies! Making your own underwear is going to depend on the fabric of your t-shirt and how much stretch it has, so this project is recommended for more advanced sewists.