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How to Restyle a T-Shirt into a Gathered-Yoke Top

Before vs. After

I have so many old T-shirts that I don’t wear, and I love coming up with new ways to revamp them. This one requires a tee that is somewhat oversized so that you’ll have enough fabric to gather into the yoke.

1. Mark your neckline. Close to the original neckline of the shirt, mark where you’d like the new neckline. I left my neck edge raw, but if you plan to finish yours, allow for seam allowance. Then, to determine the yoke seamline, decide how wide the yoke should be (I did 3 inches) and measure out evenly from the neckline. Mark this line, and cut out the yoke. Notch CF and CB on the yoke seamline.

Mark your desired neck and yoke lines with a disappearing-ink pen

Cut on the lines to separate the yoke piece from the shirt

2. Enlarge the yoke line on the shirt. In order for there to be enough fabric to gather into the yoke, cut away another 1 to 3 inches from the yoke seamline on the shirt. Just be sure you still have at least an inch of shoulder seam left. Notch CF and CB.

Cut away part of the yoke line on the shirt piece to enlarge it

3. Gather the shirt. Run two rows of gathering stitches (longer stitch length), 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch from the raw edge on the shirt.

Run two rows of gathering stitches along the yoke seamline and gather it to fit the yoke piece

Close-up view of the gathering stitches

Gather the shirt to fit the yoke, pin together with right sides facing, and sew using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Edgestitch the yoke seam from the right side. Cut off the sleeve hems to your desired sleeve length, and you’ve got yourself a cute new shirt!

The finished neckline

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  1. User avater
    DarrenSharper | | #1

    Awesome Article!

  2. user-2698071 | | #2

    That's brilliant. what else have you done? I have lost 55 lbs. since last summer and all my summer tops are now oversized, but the necklines are mostly low enough or even too low to do this. Any suggestions?

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