Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

“RE-vamping” clothes

msewing1 | Posted in Gather For A Chat on


Does anyone have any good tips for re-vamping old clothes to make them look new? I was flipping through this book @ a book store and it was abt taking old t-shirts and turning them into something else. I thought that was pretty cool and I thought I would give it a go. Anyone have any great ideas or instructions for that? Thanks! = )



  1. SAAM | | #1

    I'm actually trying my hand at this now. My daughter has some BIG tee shirts that she loves in terms of the picture on them but doesn't want to wear because they are just too big. We're started with the first one, taking the sleeves off to take in the sides so it's more form-fitting. We're going to shorten the shoulders so they fit properly, then cut down the sleeves so they are more of a cap sleeve. We've cut the neckline a little deeper so is is more of a scoop neckline. (I took the binding off, cut the new neckline, then reattached the binding. It was stretchy enough to fit.) We're also putting casings in the side seam allowances for drawstrings so she can rutch up the sides. I'll try to post a picture when we're done. As I was cutting the sleeves off, I was regretting not taking a "before" picture.We got inspired to try this after my daughter gave me the book ALTERED CLOTHING:hip fixes and transformations with a needle and thread, by Kathleen Maggio ISBN-13: 978-1-59253-246-9.Sherry

    1. msewing1 | | #2

      Thanks!!! That's really cool! I'll have to try my hand at it!!! Thanks again! = )


      1. User avater
        Knitnut | | #3

        I just received a book called Subversive Seamster (from Taunton) and it is all about re-fashioning clothing, taking bridal dress and making it into a top, making skirts out of pillowcases, transforming Thrift Store items to "street couture".  While it has some very interesting things, none of them fit my taste and I'm not likely to ever use this book.  I'd be happy to simply mail it to someone who could use it.

        If someone wants it, let me know.  Jackie  (it is literally brand new)

        1. SAAM | | #8

          Hi Knitnut,My daughter saw your message and would love to have your book. Please contact me through email and I will give you my address.Sherry

          Edited 1/26/2008 10:59 pm ET by SAAM

      2. SAAM | | #6

        Good luck with your re-fashioning. I agree with Knitnut's comment about her book. The book I have contains many projects that we will probably never recreate, mostly because we don't have clothes like those in the book. However, the book is great for inspiration. Just looking through the many projects and reading about how the changes were made got my daughter and me brainstorming about the resources we do have and the clothes we want to change.Sherry

        1. msewing1 | | #7

          Thanks!! I hope my "re-fashioning" goes well too. = )


  2. stitchagain | | #4



    I have enjoyed making small fitting changes to T-shirt that were too big. 

    The first thing I do to a standard printed T-shirt(usually size S-M-L) is shorten it.  The use of a wide twin needle most readially replicates the coverstitch used in manufactured T-shirts.  Who needs a T-shirt over hips?

    Another T-shirt I had was too big in all ways but made from a neat silver color rib.  I was able to cut off the sleeves make them smaller, cut the side seams take them in, make it shorter and I still had enough material to make a new binding to the collar.  I absolutely love this shirt now.  Simple changes all made with fitting in mind.





    1. msewing1 | | #5

      Thank you. = )

  3. BernaWeaves | | #9

    I remember when I was young, my Mom would make clothes for me out of her old dresses, or dresses that were given to her that didn't fit her.  My pattern pieces would fit easily between the seams of the dresses she was cutting up.

    I particularly remember my "clown" dress.  This was the mod 60's, and the dress was made from a thick jersey knit with a wild paisley pattern.  The colors were very bright, hence my naming it my "clown" dress.  It was a simple A-line dress with a metal or plastic zipper up the front with a big round ring on the zipper pull.  I wore it alot.

    I'm not sure there's enough fabric in a dress today to do that. 


  4. usersuz | | #10

    Here's a suggestion on t-shirts, not for a garment, but a memento. My son had graduated high school and was heading off for college and we had a drawerful of his old t-shirts: every team he ever played on or rooted for, one from a daycare center, one from the Y, you get the picture. There is a pattern for a memory quilt where you basically cut out the logos from the shirts into large squares, fuse them with some stabilizer, arrange and stitch the squares together, add batting and backing and voila! The perfect quilt to take off to college, surrounded by the comfort and memories of your youth! It's gorgeous and he loved it.

    1. msewing1 | | #11

      that is really neat!! Thanks for the idea!!! Msewing1

  5. Gloriasews | | #12

    You could also make a skirt & vest out of a dress, depending upon the style.  I've also seen T-shirts cut off to just below the bust, with a light cotton skirt sewn- & you'd change the sleeves & neckline to what you'd want, with maybe trim from the skirt fabric. Sweaters can have ribbons woven in vertically, with little bows at the top or bottom.  Old jeans can be pieced & made into vests, etc.  Just use your imagination - anything goes.


    1. msewing1 | | #13

      Thanks a bunch! And thanks to everyone who has replied to my question!!! I really have appreciated it! But....keep the advice coming!!!!! thanks again! = )Msewing1

      1. Gloriasews | | #18

        No problem - lots of heads are better than one :)


  6. usersuz | | #14

    Glad you like the t-shirt quilt idea. If you try it, I think you cut out your fusible squares first, iron them on the t-shirt logos next. and THEN cut out the logos - a lot easier than trying to cut knit into a perfect square, huh? Enjoy...

    1. msewing1 | | #15

      Thanks for the tip! Yes...that would make it a LOT easier!!! = ) Msewing1

    2. sewornate | | #16

      I have not made a quilt, but I made a pillow for my son out of a favorite tee with a design on it that he liked.  He had worn out the shirt (holes in the underarms etc.)  I fused a piece of tricot fusible interfacing, my all-time favorite for things like this, to the back of the design, cut out the square and made the pillow from that.

      I tried to get him to save some old shirts for me so I could make him a quilt but he didn't have any he wanted cut up.


  7. pinkit | | #17

    I don't know exactly what style changes you would be interested.  However, I did see a series of programs by Nancy of Nancy's Notions where a teenager and her friend had worked on redesigning some of their knit sweaters.  There are at least two programs which are selling on DVD but I know that you can view her TV programs on your computer by going to her web site.Nancy'sNotions.com.

  8. Kips | | #19

    I'm new to this board, but I've been thinking along the lines of resurrecting clothes too! I have a few of those old dresses that go to the ankle that would make really cute top/skirt/skort combinations!Kip

  9. Teaf5 | | #20

    In our local bookstore, I spotted at least ten different books devoted to refashioning t-shirts and several about revamping clothes. Have you tried an internet search yet?Our Depression-era parents were experts at re-styling clothes, so much so that I rarely bought new fabric for my projects, and when I visit my siblings' homes, I see potholders, quilts, garment collars, and home accents from fabrics I recognize and share.A good way to get started is to take apart a garment (wash it first) that has good fabric but that doesn't fit. Take off the pockets, collar, cuffs, and placket details but leave them intact. Press all the pieces, and stack them by size (and grainline).Next, grab a favorite pattern and play with all the pieces, deciding which can be from the recycled fabric and which need to be new or from another recycled fabric. My favorite vest has a pieced front from one stack, a solid back from another, and a lining from a third!This process sounds complicated, but it's really quite easy and inspires a lot of interesting new options that I wouldn't otherwise think about. Try it and tell us what you come up with!

    1. msewing1 | | #21

      oh...an internet search....lol. hadn't thought of that..hmm...thanxThanks for the tips!!! That sounds really easy and cool! I'll have to try it!! Thanks again!Msewing1

      1. tourist | | #22

        Younger sewers are very into freestyle revamping. My 25 yo DD does not bother with picking apart seams or buying messy things like patterns - she just cuts and stitches ad lib and comes up with some great looking stuff. T shirts almost never get rehemmed, just cut off. Stains are covered by patching with a cool design from some other t shirt. Of course, this all looks great if you are 25 and have the confidence to carry it off!One thing I got from her fearless attitude to alterations was to not fuss about altering jeans (I am not about to remove a waistband on RTW jeans that may have cost all of $30 and are casual wear) with the gapping waistband. I just pinch darts on either side of the CB seam and stitch them in. Nobody has ever noticed, especially if I wear a belt, and my pants stay up!

        1. msewing1 | | #23

          Thanks....I like the tip abt altering jeans...I've been wondering how to do that w/o having to take off the waistband. Thanks again!Msewing1

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All