Monday, August 6, 2012

T-Shirt Refashion-Extravaganza! Grand Finale - Full Tutorial/How-To!

Here is the grand finale of my T-Shirt Refashion Extravaganza: Made from small scraps of jersey, and some crepe added for the skirt parts:

As you see, I made two versions, slight improvements and variations between them. And yes, it comes with a full how-to/tutorial!

The differences are the sleeves versus a neck holder, the different hight for the waist, and a small change on how I put together the skirt. I will give you both options in the tutorial, so lets get right to it!

The dress features a built-in underskirt. In the version below, I left the skirt open, and I love it because I can let the wind catch it without worrying about being naked underneath ;-) In general I added it because the crepe can be really see-through with the evening sun coming from a low angle...

  • You need lots of jersey scraps/leftovers or old t-shirts. You will recognize my left-overs if you have been reading my T-Shirt Refashion Series... ;-)
  • What you will also need is a big piece of other fabric for the skirt part. I used a crepe. It's a synthetic, which I don't usually take, but in a skirt it is not as objectionable as in a top... Especially in this case, where you aren't even wearing it on your skin at all... Mine was 1,5 meters wide and 2 meters long, and I folded it into a double layer (which you don't necessarily have to do if you choose my built-in underskirt technique...)
  • a serger/overlock is very useful for jersey projects.

You need the biggest pieces for the underskirt. I had a white washed-out shirt and a red tank-top that I sewed together for that purpose.

Measure from the hight of your armpits to whatever hight you want the skirt. In the more colorful version that I made for the tutorial, it was the waist:

Decide how many stripes you want to make or how wide you want them, and cut accordingly (not forgetting a seam allowance):

In the picture below you see how it will be put together. The big pieces won't really be seen, they are the underskirt. Make them as long as you wish. For my blue version, I only used one shirt. If you have to piece it together, you might want to make sure there is no seam directly over the widest part of your behind, or it might show through. The black scraps at the top are for the sleeves/straps, the piece on the right for the little "bust-tag" we are adding to the front.

When you have cut all your stripes, make one little tube:

Start sewing together the stripes. On the front piece at the height of your under bust, sew in the little tube (which you have turned rightside-out):

It will look like this from the right side...:

Make a front and a back piece. You need the top stripe double (one as facing). If you want to make the straps/sleeves, don't sew it on yet (I did, but there is a better way). Also don't sew down the "bust tag thingy" yet, unless you make it a simple tube top version without sleeves. You just want to pin it with a safety pin, so you can start trying it on...

You'll need to measure on yourself how tight the top should be. Then sew together the sides:

Depending on your figure, you might end up with straight sides (the bust tag gives enough shape for smaller women), or you might want to take it in at the waist, and curve out at the bust. Same for the skirt part, adjust it to your figure. And you could add slits at the side of the skirt:

If you want a tube-top with no straps or sleeves, you are done with the top. Sew down the tag and the facing on the inside at the side seams and you have it:

It looks nice in the picture, but in real life I am not too fond of strapless tops. I always find myself pulling it up, and I frankly don't think it does much good to a woman's shape :-)

So for the sleeves, sew tubes again and turn them right-side-out. Then sandwich them between the top stripe and the facing stripe and and sew it all together. You either make them long and only sew them to the front - that way you use them as neck holder bands which you tie behind your neck, as in my blue version. In that case, they don't have to be made out of jersey. Or measure out how long they need to be as straps/sleeves and also sandwich them in the back, as in my colorful version. You have to try out with safety pins where the placing looks best.

When you lift up the straps, the facing stripe will fold to the inside automatically. You can attach it to the side seams though. You can also sew the "bust tag" down now... 
For the skirt, I folded the crepe in half and sewed up the sides:

For the blue version, I sewed a real skirt, so just a long tube. For the version in the tutorial pics, I didn't sew the skirt together, but rather overlapped the edges.
In either version, you want to use elastic to bring in some of that excess width before assembling everything:

So if you overlap, this is how it will look when you sew the outer to the underskirt. Otherwise, just sew the two tubes together...:

As indicated, I rounded off the corners at the hem.
Now all you do is sew together the top and the skirt part, and you are done! 

As you see in the pictures, you can push the sleeves all the way up on your shoulder, or let them fall over a little, as you wish.

I really like the neck holder version, too:

If these instructions were too rudimentary, let me know. I'd be happy to help you along and make things clearer where needed!
Even though I call this the grand finale, I might add in the one or other t-shirt refashion in the future.
Just a quick re-cap:
There was the 3-shirt dress:

...the 4-shirt dress:

...and the 2-shirt top:

And you could also count in the one-shirt refashion:

Best to all of you, and thank you for reading and pinning :-)


  1. you must have so so so many t-shirts just sitting around! great that youve made use of them! I love these dresses, im not quite sure how well they would suit me, but gosh i think the top could be put to good use! thanks for a inspiration :)

  2. p.s. I dont undsertand this disqus business :/? why cant i post under ruffles gazebo! haha

  3. Wow - so many variations, I love it!  I hope you will consider adding a photo of it into SewSet, a new on-line sewing pattern & tutorial directory.  I would love for others to be able to find this and you when searching!  Thanks so much for sharing!
    - Jess

  4. These are great. The dresses came out beautifully.

  5. M A S Maquillaje profesionalAugust 7, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Eres una super artista, me encantan tus re-fashion!

  6. Erica@recycled fashionAugust 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Adore your halter neck version, thanks for the detailed tutorial!

  7. Love all of these. So creative!  I think my DGD would love something like this - I may give it a whirl.  thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow !  These are fabulous !  You are very creative and inspiring !  Thanks for sharing !


  9. Gorgeous! I gotta try this!

  10. Just found your blog and love your creativity, solid tutorials, and resourcefulness. Thanks for
    all that, plus your valuable time in sharing.
    I've bookmarked you and pinned you.

  11. Katja, thank you for these marvelous tutorials. I was first introduced to you and your work through Refashion Co-op. I wanted to let you know I have nominated you for a Liebster Award. If your interested, you can see the info about it at my Project Minima site

  12. Awesome - I like the first top!

  13. I bought some t-shirts from last year. This T-Shirt fits my husband real well. Color looked a little "odd" when I reviewed it, but seeing it in person I'm glad I ordered it. A nice light shade of green that would go with a lot of things. Washes & dries real well also.

  14. You always have the most creative makes...I can't get enough of them! I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. The original link is here:

  15. Thank you for this tutorial! I've been looking to make a halter top from some old band t-shirts and this has really helped me.

  16. great job and thanks for sharing... such creativity and inspiration

  17. Here is my first version of this dress. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I am already on my next one with jewel tones,

  18. Great
    article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.
    I will be waiting for your next post