In a previous post I showed off a few different t-shirt re-makes / re-fashions. I have had a few people ask how I upcycle t-shirts that I’d never wear, aren’t flattering, or just don’t fit right, so I figured I’d do a blog post showing how I’ve done some of these upcycle projects so you can do the same if you’re so inclined.
Opeth, Apocalyptica, & Amon Amarth t-shirts to tanks
For this one I started off with an Opeth shirt that was really poorly fitted – just too tight in general and really rough fabric too, but I LOVE the logo of the band! I decided that this one was going to have to be a bit more drastic, and since the logo was pretty high up, it would be hard to lower the neckline the way I had done before. Instead of making this into another v-neck, I decided to make this into a tank top instead.
Step one: Redrawing the neckline
Like the other shirts, I grabbed a tank top that I had just bought that fit alright, and used it to re-draw the neckline for the front and back of the shirt. I should have taken the front and back apart before cutting, but I wasn’t thinking, and although my attention was on getting the logo right for the front – I didn’t end up paying attention to the back and ended up cutting into the image on the back. Oh well.
Step two: Reshaping the side seams
I ended up cutting up the sides of the shirt, adding in a stretchy panel (this t-shirt material has next to no stretch!) and adding some bust gathers to improve the fit. This meant I would have to re-shape the hem, which comes later…
Step three: Binding the neckline
I used the same latex-coated spandex to bind the neckline in four parts, (front, back, left, right) which went together pretty well. In previous tanks like this I had run the straps with the binding, but I wanted to do something different with the straps on this one…
Step four: Adding the straps
I wanted to have some hardware on this shirt – so added nickle o-rings to the shoulder straps and attached them in turn to the tank.
Step five: Reshaping the hem
Since I had altered the hem by gathering the bust, I re-cut the hem, serged, folded, and stitched the hem back into place. Like the second shirt, this has the tendency to roll a little in the wash, but oh well!
HIM t-shirt alteration
For this one, I basically just re-did the neckline (making the V-neckline slightly tighter and lower than the previous version to account for the lacing), bound it like the others with the latex-coated spandex, added the grommets, and then got some narrow black ribbon to lace it all up. I hand-stitched the ribbon so that the tail ends could dangle, but so that it wouldn’t come unlaced in the wash…
As an aside
I was reading a forum where folks from bands were talking about merch – and apparently the desire for better-fitting t-shirts is pretty common, along with a desire for better (softer, stretchier) fabrics. Of course, this all comes with a price tag – meaning either more expensive shirts for the customer, or less profit for the seller/band/etc. Other features like v-necks, etc are also more expensive than the basic crew neck. I guess that’s why alterations like these are needed!
More to come!
Of course, after hitting a few concerts (and one rock shop in Vancouver!) I have a few more t-shirts in need of some t-shirt surgery! Hopefully I’ll find the time to work on them in the next month or so…