Upcycling a Large T-Shirt

I was recently blessed by the sporting gods (and my brother-in-law’s choice of career) to attend this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.  It was a glorious celebration of football and beer and mardi gras and America.  I scored a great Raven’s Super Bowl T-shirt, it just happened to be sized for a quarterback.  Here was a good excuse to figure out a simple T-shirt re-size and save some of my classic far-too-bulky shirts from the rag bin.

  • First off, lay out your over sized shirt inside out on a cutting mat and position a well-fitting “guide” shirt on top.  I decided I’d switch the style while I was at it to a raglan sleeve.  Cut or mark the sides according to your guide to get the correct width, allow 1/2″ seam allowance.  Mark with chalk where the raglan sleeve should meet the neck and armpit, and connect the dots with a straight chalk line.  
  • Next, remove the sleeves and neck trim.  Leave the sleeve “tubes” intact.  Cut along your chalk line to the neck.
  • Place one sleeve along the cut line, and position it so it forms a triangular raglan style sleeve.  Cut it along that line.  Lay your trimmed sleeve over the other, and cut to match.       
  • Now sew up the sides of your shirt to the arm pit.  I planned to hem the shirt so I started sewing a few inches above the bottom.
  • Place the sleeves, right side out, in between the shirt front and back, cut sides together.  Align the armpit seam on the sleeve with the side seam of the shirt body and pin in place.  Stitch along the front and back seams from armpit to neck, connecting the shirt body to the sleeve.  Repeat on the other side.       
  • Sew a simple rolled seam around the neck hole: fold fabric over twice and top stitch around entire neck opening.  After trying on the shirt, I went back over with a wide zigzag stitch to help the neckline lay flat.                                  
  • Measure and hem the bottom front and back of the shirt.  I made a tab-shaped front and back hem to continue the raglan/baseball tee style.                          
  • That’s it, you now have a custom-fitted t-shirt!                                                                

Now, here are a couple gratuitous Super Bowl pics.  Go Ravens!


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