There was this tee-shirt that I never wear. I didn’t like how it fit, but I liked the cute graphic on the front. So I decided to cut it down into a shirt for Savvy Jr.
All it would take, I thought, was to resize the shirt and stitch up the sides. I could even re-use the adult neck and the shoulder seams. Easy peasy.
And it was. Easy, that is.
Here’s How To Turn An Adult Tee-Shirt Into A Toddler Shirt
You Will Need:
Kid’s tee-shirt (for the pattern)
A paper bag
A sewing machine (or needle and thread, if you’re industrious)
1. Pick A Kid’s Tee-Shirt To Use As A Template.
I needed one of Savvy Jr.’s shirts to use guide for how much to cut the adult tee-shirt down.
I picked this orange shirt with the shark on it because it’s still big on him. I wanted something he could grow into.
2. Make A Pattern From The Old Kid’s Tee-Shirt
I used a paper bag to make a pattern. First I tucked the kid’s shirts arms under, like so:
Then I traced the tee-shirt on a bag with sewing chalk. Using a ruler to measure, I added 1/2 inch seam allowance around the outside of the shirt.
I also traced both of the sleeves, right and left, and made two more patterns for each one. Again, I added 1/2 inch seam allowance on all but the top, which would be placed on the fold.
In the end, I had three pieces of pattern: A Body, the Right Sleeve, and the Left Sleeve.
3. Cut Out The New Shirt.
Cutting along the seam, remove the sleeves from the adult shirt and set aside.
Carefully pin the Body piece of the pattern to the shirt, like so:
Cut out, making sure that you leave the top shoulder seams and neck intact.
Next, take one of the sleeves and fold in half. Pin the new sleeve to it, like so:
You’ll notice I reused the hemming on the original sleeves by lining the pattern up so that the bottom of the sleeve was the same as on the original shirt. No need to do something that’s already done.
Cut out the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve.
Now you have three pieces of the shirt: the Body, the Right Sleeve, and the Left Sleeve. All you gotta do now is sew it up!
4. Hem The Shirt.
Using an iron, fold the 1/2 inch seam allowance on the front and back of the shirt and pin. Sew up the seam. Press the seam with an iron.
5. Sew The Sleeves To The Shirt.
With right sides together, lay Right Sleeve on the right side of the shirt. Pin it so that the center of the sleeve is lined up with the shoulder seam, and the bottom of the arm pit lines up with what will become the bottom seam of the sleeve.
Sew, using 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Iron your seams flat.
If the seams pucker—and they very well may—rip out the section of the seam where the pucker is, stretch it taut, and pin. Sew again, being careful not to let the material pucker this time.
Repeat with the Left Sleeve.
6. Sew Up The Sides.
With right sides together, pin up the sides and bottom of the sleeves with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Sew up the seams. Press with an iron.
Ta-da! Finished shirt.
Here’s the tee-shirt on my son:
As you can tell, it’s pretty big on him. This shirt will be around for quite awhile.
Which is the point: that shirt is getting a lot more use now than it got languishing inside a dresser drawer.
Leaving the adult neck was a little lazy, I realize now. When I do this again, I will probably cut it down.
But still, not bad for an hour’s worth of sewing time.