Something Old to Something New

Too many old shirts and not enough dough to go on a shopping spree? Sounds familiar.

Update your wardrobe without having to shell out. Transform old clothing by adding embellishments, cutting sleeves, sewing on beads and patches, or silkscreen your own designs!


All you need is a pair of fabric scissors… and a steady hand. That’s it.

To make cut-off tank tops, literally cut off the sleeves and the neckline piping. I went ahead I snipped off the hem too for a more balanced look. If you want to be accurate, draw the armhole and neckline with tailor’s chalk as guides. You can make the armhole as big as you want. I made mine up to the waist so I can layer it with another top.

Black Halter Top (The gold cloth isn’t part of the top. I just put it in between the mannequin and the top so you can see what the top is like.)

Halter tops are a bit trickier. Similar to the cut-off tank tops, you snip off the sleeves, the neckline piping, AND the upper back area. So instead of having two straps, you only make one that goes around the back of your neck. For this one, I added a strip of gold sequined ribbon from the neckline to the hem.

Not-so-plain white shirt

Plain Jane no more! Add buttons and hand-sewing lines onto your plain white shirt.

Or patches

You can also silkscreen your own designs (to follow in a separate tutorial in the future). Alternatively, there are iron-on transfers available in craft stores where you can create your own designs using your computer, print them onto the special paper, then iron onto your shirts.

Embellishment on all the things!

If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, go crazy and just put on whatever on your shirt. Here, I added a strip of ribbon, a button, shaped some pieces of cloth into leaves and bows, and pieces from an old bracelet. I’m definitely confident that I won’t run into anybody wearing the same shirt!

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