Friday DIY: T-shirts & Tanks

May 24, 2013

Hello, friends, Happy Friday!  I am so excited to share my latest DIY project with you today!  I have been seeing so many great cut up, cut-out t-shirts and tank tops all over Pinterest lately that I decided it was time to try my hand at making some of my own upcycled vintage tops.

This first DIY is super simple; in fact, I just followed the pictures on this pin…


…to create my own version:


This shirt isn’t actually vintage, but it is made with a great soft, slub jersey material that made it perfect for cutting up and turning into a cropped, tie-front blouse.  I didn’t want to cut my shirt too short, though, because I have a long torso, so I simply cut less off the hem of the shirt and made the ties on the front slightly smaller.

t shirt DIY crop tie front

While this shirt isn’t technically vintage, it was still a great find for only $3.50 at one of those discount t-shirt stores, and now I have an even better custom top, perfect for working out or wearing to the beach on a hot day.  Plus, I love that I could cut the arm holes as big or small as I wanted so that my favorite bandeau bras will peak out of the sides!

t shirt DIY crop tie front

My next shirt was inspired by a few different DIY’s I’ve seen around the internet.  It is slightly more complicated but the results are so much fun and perfect for this style of vintage shirt!


First, I started by cutting off the sleeves and cutting open both sides of the shirt from the armpit to the hem.


At this point, I decided to try my shirt on to see how I wanted it to fit.  I knew I was going to be cutting ties for the side seams so I didn’t want to cut too much off the sides, but I did want the shoulders and collar to be on the smaller side so I did some trimming.


Next, I grabbed my handy sewing/quilting ruler and started cutting tabs or small strips on each side seam that would become ties.  After cutting ten tabs (approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inch wide), I pulled on each strip to stretch it and then double- knotted the corresponding front and back ties.


And that’s it – It really doesn’t get much easier than that, but the result is so much fun!

t shirt DIY tie side seam moto tank top

I had actually been scouring the internet for a while to find a vintage motorcycle shirt that would work for just this sort of DIY, so when I found this Daytona Beach Road Rally shirt, I was thrilled!  I love the moto style of the top especially with the fun ties on the sides.  I even used some of the scraps to braid a quick matching bracelet!

t shirt DIY tie side seam moto tank top

The best part about these t-shirt DIY’s is that it is so simple to customize your shirt however you want.  Want a lower scoop neckline, or maybe even a v-neck? No problem!  You’re the one wielding the scissors so you cut however much or little you want!  I could do a million of these shirts – they are so fun.  I cannot wait to wear mine to the beach or bumming around town this summer!

Do you have any shirts that you’re inspired to make over??  As always, thanks for reading :)


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  • sincerelywhitney

    super cute! I can’t wait to do a few of my own. I love love LOVE cutting tees but for whatever reason never thought to leave a little fabric to tie in the middle! DUH….genius! =) love your post!!

    May 24, 2013 at 9:59 am Reply
    • alligatortoe

      Thank you so much! My friend and I had a girl’s night and cut up our shirts together while watching Pitch Perfect – it was super fun and made the hacking of perfectly good t-shirts less scary haha! I would love to see what you come up with on your own shirts!!! :)

      May 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm Reply
  • Lady Kate

    I love this! I did this to one of my skirts a few months ago & I was so pleased with the way it turned out :)

    May 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm Reply
    • alligatortoe

      Thank you! I love how there are so many different ways to make over a simple t-shirt – so fun and endless possibilities!

      May 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm Reply
  • The Sock Mistress

    What a cool idea! I often see used tshirts where I love the picture but they are just too huge. I must try one of these looks!

    February 21, 2014 at 9:39 am Reply
    • alligatortoe

      Thanks! I have the same problem, I always see cool shirts that are too big and I know I won’t wear, so I am always looking for ways to refashion them! :)

      February 21, 2014 at 10:48 am Reply
  • The Fashion Huntress

    Ahhhh!! So cool! I definitely need to thrift a few t-shirts and try this out!

    June 1, 2015 at 11:14 am Reply
    • Kristi

      Thanks, Melissa! This was a super fun DIY, you should totally try it out!! :)

      June 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm Reply

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