We've all been there, we get to our favourite band's merch stall and all they have is a vast array of large mens Tshirts. Well it need not ever be a problem again. I've made a simple tutorial on how to customise your men's size t-shirt into something unique! Best thing is, to do a simple version you don't really need any advanced sewing skills.
My friend Andy just released his debut album with his band Black Thunder Revue, and along with that got some awesome new shirts printed. I was lucky enough to nab one with promise that it would be hitting the blog, so here we go....
Chances are your shirt is going to be a little too long. I put the shirt on and marked where I wanted the back to come to. I think I took about 22cms off, right the way around the BACK only. Measurements are all very variable depending on original shirt size, torso shape etc. For some sort of vague gauge, I started out with a Medium shirt and I'm roughly a size 10 in UK high street sizing.
Find the centre front of your shirt (easiest way is to match your side seams and fold at the centre). I marked a straight line 22cm up from the hem at the centre front.
Mark in from the side seams at your 22cm line about 10cm towards the centre front. I then joined up the centre front at the BOTTOM of the shirt to these new points with a straight angled line, so you've got what looks like two triangles coming down at the front. I softened the angles off a bit where the 'triangles' join the body.
Cutting! So now you want to cut away excess fabric- be neat though as you may want to use some of the cut offs later down the line! You want to be removing the bottom of the back and then slope down at the front to your ties. Next cut upwards along the line marking your centre front. I cut away a sort of keyhole shape at the top just to make a little more room for a knot when tying up.
Now would be a good time to try on. You want to check the back is the right length and also that you are happy with where the knot sits. I decided to cut out a little higher at the centre front to match my waist height.
Remove sleeves. I cut right around the seamline
Remove neckband. Again I cut really close to the seam. You might want to keep your neck and sleeves in, I just wanted to change the overall shape and style.
I guess at this point you could easily get away with calling it a day, you've made a pretty cool DIY shirt that looks like you should be hanging out on the back of motorcycles. People are definitely going to be asking you where you got your limited edition band tee from. But depending on your original shirt you might want to have a further play around with fit. Firstly I took some out of the shoulder seams, a good few cms tapering up to the neck a little, BUT be careful you don't end up making your shirt too short by taking out too much. I then removed a little of the excess fabric around the front of the arm hole, leaving the back alone. I took a couple of cms from the back neckline so the neckline sat at the bobbly bit at the top of my spine.
Another try on and I decided I wanted to take some bagginess out of the side seams, only a few cms in a straight line from bottom of the arm hole to the bottom of the shirt. Just have a play around and get it sitting happy.
Again this is optional. The biggest fitting problem you've got by now is probably that gapey bit in the armhole to boob area. This can look fun and casual and relaxed, and the gapey-ness can be a good excuse to flash a bit of your velvet Noelle bra, but it's not too hard to put a couple of darts in to remove that excess fabric. It's up to you, no pressure. All we need to do is put the shirt on, start on one side and mark the apex- usually about 2cm away from your nipple. If you're pinching your excess fabric this is the narrowest point of the pinch. Then at the widest part by the armhole, mark the top and bottom of the dart triangle. Got it? Okay, take your shirt off then put a pin through the apex point so you can see it on the wrong side. Match up the two marks you put at the top and bottom of the dart at the armhole, then fold a straight line down to your pin. Chalk a line from your armhole point to your apex if you like, pin and then stitch.
Try it on. Looking good?? Of course, you're looking a little more fitted and showing off your assets. To do the other side it's easiest to just work from the one you have done so that they match. You might want to mark your bust point first so you have a point to work to.
Your shirt is definitely good to wear, but you might want to go that extra mile. Using the excess fabric from the bottom back that we cut away I cut x2 strips 4.5cm wide. I made sure they were long enough to reach round the armholes.
Its always a bit trial and error to get the right length, you want to be a little shorter than the hole so that the fabric stretches round, but not too much otherwise you'll get puckering. The only way I know how is just to pin it on, try it on, then keep taking some off the band length until it sits nicely. At least once you've done one you know your other side should be the same length.
Then, right sides together you want to overlock the band to the armhole. You can probably do this with a zigzag stitch on a normal machine but it's not something I've ever tried.
To finish off, I thought I'd go whole hog and put a band on the neck too. Same process, same width. Take your time and it will be fine.
Has anyone else ever done anything fun to customise a tshirt? I used to use wool to stitch up the sides when I was in year 7!!! I had a Joy Division shirt that I wore to death that had the wool treatment! Only very recently cut this up to make a back patch for my denim jacket.
Would love to see your customisations!
Big thanks to BTR for the shirt :)
Location: Sheffield Railway Footbridge/Foodhall Sheffield
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