No sew DIY T-shirt to tank tutorial

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hey guys! It's the 1st of August & I have an easy tutorial for you. I'm going to show you how to turn an old (or new) t-shirt into a super cute tank top for yourself.

If you're anything like me you have a few over-sized t-shirts just laying around that go unworn. Actually, we have a ton of them in my house. My husband is quite particular about how his shirts fit. Most of his shirts have to hang dry, which means I've accidentally shrunk a few of them from time to time. Which also means my husband will never wear the shirt again, but he still likes to keep them hanging in the closet to occasionally try on & discard on the floor. I decided to raid his closet & turn these unworn shirts into something cute for me.

If you remember my original post about this from TPP link up, I showed you this picture I found on Pinterest:
I couldn't find the instructions on how to make it though because the original link had been flagged for spam. So alas, I had to go about it on my own. I found my method to be easy & I even made it so that there is NO SEWING involved! So grab a t-shirt and follow along. It's easy, I promise.

First things first: get over the fear of cutting the shirt. I did this too. I was afraid of cutting it wrong & "ruining it." But then I remembered...this shirt is already "ruined." It's too small for my husband and it's too big for me. But I like the design (it's a shirt from his shop) and it's not being worn by anyone, so get over it. Grab some sharp scissors (or a rotary cutter if you prefer) and cut the sleeves & neck out.

You're going to cut the seams completely off, but for now stay as close to them as possible. Also, you can cut the bottom off if you want/need to make it shorter. I just didn't want the seam on the bottom of mine so I cut it off.

Next, try the shirt on. It's not gonna look very awesome yet. Grab a marker and make a few marks for where you want the straps to be so you don't cut too far. It doesn't have to be perfect.
See, I went back & cut the neck line down a little lower and made the straps skinnier.

And I went back and cut the back lower and made the straps skinnier there as well.
As this awesomely teched-out Photoshopped picture shows, you should cut more fabric off the back of the shirt than the front. How much you cut off is up to you. Keep trying it on, cut a little off at a time, & come back to cut more off again if need be. Start small & work your way up because you can't add more fabric after you've cut it off.

You'll end up with a pile of scraps. Take a nice strip of fabric (I used the strip from the bottom of the shirt) to use to make your back closure.

Place the shirt face down & kneel on it. That was the easiest position I found to do this part. Flatten out the shirt, neatly gather the back straps & bring them towards the center, then place the fabric strip underneath them  like the picture shows.

How you tie it is up to you. You can simply tie it in a bow, you can use a ribbon, or some people might get all fancy-shmancy & even sew a little cuff or something around the straps. I chose the lazier version: wrapping the strip around twice & double knotting it. Neatly.

Then I cut off the excess fabric, turned the knot around & voila!

You can adjust where exactly you want the knotted part to be positioned on your back. You can move it up or down depending on how you want to wear the shirt and what look you're going for. Take it off & re-tie if it looks funny!

You might have to go back at this point, cut a little more off here or there, and re-tie the knot again. I did. 3 times! You'll figure out exactly how you want it to lay after trying it on. Make your adjustments if necessary, but now you're done.

I suggest wearing a lightweight fitted tank underneath this because the arm holes might be kind of big (especially if you are using a bigger t-shirt to start with). 

Is this DIY tank perfect? Not really. If you are a perfectionist when it comes to sewing or crafting, this might not be for you. It doesn't require a lot of measuring and it even has raw, unfinished edges.(oh the horror!) But I love it and it's exactly what I wanted. Instead of this shirt ending up on the floor of my husband's closet every week (again, never really worn), now I can wear it with a cute pair of shorts for the rest of the summer. Heck, I might even get a little more wear out it by pairing it with jeans, boots, & a little jacket in the fall. It would just look like a fitted shirt underneath the right jacket or cardigan. 

And just think: if you use a shirt from your husband, boyfriend, brother, dad, grandpa, uncle, cousin, son, etc... closet it's probably going to look way cuter on you than it did him, so go for it & have fun doing it. If this style of tank isn't for you, that's OK. It would also be great as a cheap & easy work out shirt, or simply something other than a giant sack to wear to bed. Have fun & get creative.

Linked up to:

I Heart Nap Time


  1. I've got some killer shirts that I'd love to do this too. Thanks for the DIY tips, love!

    P.S. Gave you a shout out on my blog ;)



  2. it looks so good, what a good idea!

    come by and say hello! have a great Wednesday!

  3. I saw this on pinterest a while ago and had to take it as well! I want to to do this with an old band shirt that I'm gonna wear to to a show, BUT... Nothing says hair metal band fan like some cleavage does. So! How should I go about doing that and making it look good?!

  4. I'm totally trying this! I've been dying to do it and yours is super cute! New follower :)

  5. Very cool and such a great way to make use of old tees...instead of thinking, well I may wear this one day, but never feeling quite right about its baggy-ness...Cheers!

  6. I just did it to a University of Idaho Men's shirt I have. I love how it turned out! Now I can sport my Vandal spirit around campus. Thanks for the tutorial! I don't know how to sew so this was perfect for me.


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  8. I've tried this twice now and yours looks WAY better than mine! Great job.

  9. I just did it to a cheap mens shirts I have. I've been dying to do it and yours is super cute! New follower :)

  10. I needed a cuter shirt that still represents our towns library for a parade and this will work great! Thanks!

  11. Great directions! Love how mine turned! Thank you!

  12. I used one of my bigger shirts and it looks terrible. Think I need to steal one of my husbands. Yours looks great!

  13. Thank you! I hope you do try it with maybe a smaller shirt...if it's too big it's still going to look like a potato sack even if you cut it up!

  14. Figuring out the right size for your T-shirt is critical for your clothing needs an di definitely recommend

  15. I'm doing the run or dye tomorrow and I'm a plus size girl. So of course the t-shirt they gave is ridiculously long with sleeves down to my elbows. I used your site to modify it and love it. Thanks so much.

  16. Love it! I might need to go find a shirt!

  17. Thanks for this tutorial! I wanted to mod my Run or Dye race shirt and this did the trick. :)

  18. I really appreciated ur instructions, meaning they r clear unlike so many of the others I have been coming across. Thanks, cant wait to get started.

  19. Your website is very chatty. It will be useful for all of us. You have done a good work. I will come here again to inspect new updates. Thanks for posting.

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