T-Shirts to Tank Tops

I’ll tell you right now, I’m no designer. Nor am I even remotely competent at using a sewing machine (I believe I’ve used one once in my life to make a tiny throw blanket when I was about 10 years old), but I’ve always been jealous of people who can make or alter their own clothes. I really like this fabric; I wish it were a shirt: BAM! Now it is. Oh no! This dress doesn’t fit: BAM! Now it does.

But alas, I’ve never taken the time to learn.

One day, an opportunity to alter clothing without involving needles, thread, or sewing machines presented itself. One of my all-time favorite bands, Envy on the Coast, who, sadly, disbanded about two years ago, were selling t-shirts online for $10 and I couldn’t resist buying one and attempting to cut it into a tank top. When it arrived, it looked like any old t-shirt:

Wielding only a pair of scissors, I smoothed the shirt out on my desk repeatedly, not wanting to mess it up. After a moment’s hesitation, I carefully cut off the collar and sleeves, leaving it looking like a muscle shirt a biker dude would wear. Ultimately, making it even more unflattering.

I decided the solution was to continue making the armholes larger to avoid awkward folding and bunching. I just kept trying on the shirt to determine how much I wanted to cut. I did this a few times, folding the shirt in half to make sure both sides were even. In order to make the shirt a little less biker-dude and a little more feminine, I cut the arms wide enough to show a tank top or bandeau underneath. Because the design on the shirt comes up so far, all I did to the neck was cut the collar off, but you could easily cut more of a scoop neck, if you so desired.

For a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. I wore it to Warped Tour with a bandeau (and a sports bra underneath…just a bandeau at Warped would be disastrous), denim shorts and some big sunglasses. It functioned as a perfect festival top. Here it is when I met one of the guys from Four Year Strong: 

Not the best picture of it (or me), but you get the idea. Now that I’ve successfully created a tank top in the most basic way possible, all of my old t-shirts are calling to me from the depths of my closet and I want to try some of the fancier techniques I’ve seen while perusing Youtube videos on the subject.  Perhaps next time I’ll attempt a racerback. And maybe one day I’ll actually learn to sew…

-Liz

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