Recycle an old t-shirt into a fitted top

How to turn an old t-shirt into a fitted top:

I used to love wearing big baggy t-shirts, and had quite a collection with lots of groovy designs on them!
Now - I really never wear baggy t-shirts. I prefer fitted clothes - and living in tropical Far North Queensland, t-shirts can be a bit too hot!

I've only a few of my t-shirt collection remaining, and they have stayed at the bottom of a drawer in my wardrobe, unworn for years now!

So I decided to try and recycle them into something I could wear!

 I took one of my t-shirts, bought in Japan about 15 years ago, that was very stretched (especially around the neck),  baggy and really unwearable as is:

Here's what to do, if you want to try this yourself!

First take one of your current tops to roughly measure the size you need to cut:

And cut sections from both the front and the back - it's up to you how long you want your new top to be. I like them quite short:

Now this t-shirt was especially thin, so I cut another section to double the layer on the front of the top. (sorry forgot to take a picture of this - but just cut the same width of the front panel - and as long as you can with the piece that is left on the botton of your t-shirt after you cut the main panel)
Here's a picture of all the pieces I cut for the next t-shirt!

Then place your front and back panels - right sides together and pin down the sides.  Add the extra layer for modesty behind the front panel:

Stitch down both sides, then double turn and stitch all the way around the bottom to make a neat hem.

Now you need to make the straps.
Cut two strips from the left-over t-shirt, 4 cm wide and around 30 cm long:
(they are longer in this picture - I ended up cutting them shorter later on)

Then for each strip, fold the edges in to the middle, then in again and stitch:

You should end up with two straps like this:

Now you need to pin your straps to your top.
If you have 2 layers of t-shirt at the front, push the straps between the two layers and fold the raw edges in towards the strap to neaten.
Pin all around and stitch :

Then put it on and wear your new top with pride!

Here's a couple of others I did the same with:

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

For lots more (over 100) of my free sewing tutorials go here!


  1. Those are so cute! I heart the lady sumo!!!

  2. haha i love this!! such a great idea. I have all these old t-shirt that I dont know what to do i do!!! great blog!


    Classic & Bubbly

  3. that is so cute! I'm going to do that with my shirt that I got from my gym.

  4. Now that's is really clever and cute!

  5. You always amaze me with your clever ideas Jill. The tops look great and now they get another life as a much cuter top. :)

  6. these came too cute!The sumo one is my fav!

  7. I love what you've done with the different t-shirts. I have a t-shirt that I don't wear anymore & now I know what I can do with it. Well done!

  8. what a fun project! I'll have to check out some of the other projects you have posted, I'm always looking for ways to repurpose old clothes that don't fit my kids anymore.....

  9. The Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop became the coolest party on the block because of your participation :) Thank you!

  10. CUTE! What kind of cutting board do you have?

  11. I have that same sumo shirt!

  12. What a great idea- really easy to do too:)


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