Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top

Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top

I wear tank tops instead of bras as my base layer, so when my T-shirts get grungy, knowing how to turn a T-shirt into a tank top is a great way to get more use out of them.

This is a quick and not totally perfect version of the process. If you want to wear your tank top as an outside layer you might find thread that matches, use a double needle or finish the edges on a serger.

But if you’re a beginning sewist or someone just looking for an easy way to upcycle a T-shirt, this is a great place to start.

Why Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top?

In the case of the shirt shown in this tutorial, it was unwearable as it was thanks to deodorant and sweat stains. It’s also just a little fuzzy from pilling because it’s an old shirt.

But I knew I could get more use from it as an undershirt, so it had been on my mind to turn this shirt into a tank top for a while.

Turning a T-shirt into a tank top is a great way to get rid of those stains, or just to change up the look of a shirt you’ve had for a long time. I did this with a plain shirt, but it would be fun to do with logo shirts for summer, too.

Supplies

All you need for this project is the shirt you want to alter, a tank top that fits, a pair of fabric scissors, some sewing clips and a sewing machine with thread that matches your project.

You could do this with straight pins but I like the sewing clips for this one because they don’t slide around on the stretchy fabric.

And again if you wanted to make this a little fancier you could use a twin needle, which will give your seam the same look at the other edges of your shirt, and thread that matches better than what I chose. Light purple was close enough for my purposes, and it makes it easier for you to see, anyway.

How to Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top

First, flatten out your shirt on a table. Match the top/shoulder seam of the shirt to the shoulder seam of the tank top. If there’s not a seam there, do your best to find where the top would hit the top of your shoulder.

You can mark out the curve with tailor’s chalk or fabric marking pen if you like; I just cut close to the tank top’s edge, following the line of that garment. Make sure you’re cutting away all of the funky bits even if you need to change the depth of the armhole a bit.

Remove the tank top, fold the T-shirt in half and cut this side in the same way.

Because of the knit fabric used on T-shirts, the edges will naturally roll back. If you want a truly easy project you can stop here and leave the raw edges, which won’t really be visible when you wear it.

Use sewing clips to hold the cut edges to the inside of the shirt. I didn’t measure my seams (again, I didn’t care if it was perfect) but used the amount it rolled back on itself as a guide and adjusted as needed. It’s probably about a quarter inch (0.63 cm) folded under.

Using a long stitch on your sewing machine and coordinating thread, sew the seams around the armholes. I started at the bottom on the back and worked my way around, but it doesn’t really matter where you start.

Trim excess threads and you’re done!

If you want to alter the neckline, you can do that, too. Since this shirt has a bit of a funky neckline I was thinking of just folding it over and sewing it down, but ironing it might also do the trick. What would you do?

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