Slim Down & Doll-Up Over-Sized T-Shirts

Tired of getting free t-shirts that aren’t worth wearing because they are big and bulky?  Check out this step-by-step guide to making your over-sized free tees into a fabulous, custom-fit t-shirt.  This design is great for workouts or everyday wear!

Please note, this will reduce the overall size and fit of the shirt.

t-shirt cutting suppliesYou will need:

  • T-shirt
  • Exacto knife (scissors work too, but not as well)
  • Scissors
  • Approximately 3 yards of thin ribbon
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Your fave fitted t-shirt (optional)
  • Page hole reinforcements OR marker

1. Turn the t-shirt inside out and lay flat facing up.

cut-up tees

2. If you choose to do so, use your favorite fitted tee to measure the size you would like this shirt to be. Measure so that you are removing an even amount of fabric from both sides of the shirt (I measured in 1-inch on both sides because that is what lined up with my fave shirt, when the top shoulder lines were matched).

slim down over-sized tees

Cut-up tee shirt measurements

3. Line the ruler vertically along the right side of the shirt resting the top edge of the ruler under the armpit of the right side. Mark, with the page reinforcements or the marker, where u will make the holes. Remember to place your mark inward, as you measured in step 2, and to taper hole placement with the natural lines of the shirt. Each hole should be approximately 1/2 inch apart.

cut your over-sized t-shirt smaller

lace-up sides of cut-up tee

4. Measure & mark the left side of the shirt and then the right side of the shirt.

5. Stab holes in each place designated with the exacto knife piercing through both the front and back of the shirt carefully. If you don’t have an exacto, u can use scissors, however it is harder to ensure the cuts are lined up on the front and back … You could try a kitchen knife, but I’m not sure how that would work.

mark-up tee to cut smaller

6. Cut up along the right and left sides of the shirt from the bottom and stopping a 1/4 inch from the armpit.

cutting up tee for lace-up sides

7. Cut the extra fabric off each side, but again, be certain that you follow the taper of the shirt and do not cut the holes you just made.

cutting lace-up sides tee

cut-up t-shirt

8. Take the ribbon and measure the length of the shirt from the armpit to the bottom edge of the shirt. Double that and then cut that full length off.

measure ribbon for cut tees

9. At the armpit of the shirt, weave the end of each side of the ribbon into a front hole and back hole, respectively (as if initially lacing a shoe)

lace-up sides tee

10. Proceed down the side of the shirt, weaving in and out left and right as you would lace a shoe. When you get to the bottom, tie a bow as a place holder. DO NOT TIE INTO A KNOT yet.

11. Repeat steps 5 through 10 on the other side of the shirt.

making a cute cut t-shirt

12. Remove page reinforces, if used. Turn the shirt right side out and untie bows. Pull down so the ribbon is snug on both sides and ensure your work is well-done (no missed holes or criss-crossed the wrong way.) If you are pleased tie back into a tight bow on each side and try on the shirt.

13. Measure where you want the bottom of the shirt to fall, the back and neck lines, and sleeves.

14. Take the shirt off and makes cuts accordingly. Cut conservatively – you can always cut more as needed. If you are trying to preserve printing on either side of the shirt, I caution you to cut the neck and back lines separately – measure, mark and cut carefully. When cutting the sleeves, be sure to leave a wide band for the top seam, so the shirt does not fall apart. (You can slim it later with ribbon.)

cut-up wide neck tee

This is a good cut for a wide neck tee that will preserve designs on the front and back of a t-shirt.

cut-up tee cap sleeves

I cut cap sleeves for this wide neck design, but you can get more creative.

15. Try on the shirt again to ensure you like the cuts and fit. Make adjustments if needed and try on. Repeat as necessary.

16. Once it is “perfect,” untie bows on each side and tie into triple knots, cut excess ribbon off.

cut-up wide neck tee

Here is the finished product of the wide neck tee.

17. Use excess ribbon to slim tank straps and camouflage unsightly top seams, if you created a tank. Fashion preferences may vary with use of ribbon detail here.

cut-up tee to tank

With this version of the t-shirt, I cut the neckline and sleeves into a tank. Again, the front and back designs are preserved.

Now you can measure, cut, tie and rock your new tee! And, please share this post with all your friends, via email or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+!!!


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