Monday, October 19, 2015

Contrast Sleeve T-Shirt Tutorial

I have an abundance of T-shirts. If I see them on sale for $5 or $6, I grab them because they are my go-to comfy top. But the same old solid tees get boring, so I decided to do some sprucing up to a plain t-shirt by adding contrasting sleeves.  I've seen similar shirts at boutiques all over the place for $20-30.  This shirt was about $5 and the fabric I used was from my scrap pile! 

This is one my most basic tutorials--a perfect one for beginner sewists!! I will walk you through each step so you can add fun color or print sleeves to any of your plain ol' solid color t-shirts!

My gorgeous jewelry is from African Promise Foundation. I have a dear friend who started this foundation years ago to provide education opportunities to children in Uganda. The beads are handmade from recycled paper. Each piece of jewelry is a unique and amazing work of art created by women trying to improve their family's opportunities. 

You will need: 
  • T-shirt
  • Seam ripper/ small, pointy-nose sharp scissors
  • Stretchy fabric--jersey knit, stretchy lace, poly-knit, etc.  Less than 1/4 yard will work for cap sleeves. If you want to use this tutorial to do long sleeves (This method will work!), you'll want more fabric--probably 1/3-1/2 yard). 
  • Corresponding thread
  • Straight sewing pins
  • Sewing machine (a serger is nice, but not necessary)

1. Remove the sleeves from your T-shirt.  Use a seam-ripper/ small-nosed scissors to rip out the seams.  

Here are the two sleeves removed (I left one folded). Don't rip out the seam for the hem around the cuff of the sleeve. 

2. Using one of the sleeves as a pattern, cut out two pieces of the contrasting fabric, adding on 1 inch to the cuff-side of the sleeve.

Here you see the two sleeves and the extra I added on the contrasting fabric. Since I am using lace for this project, I will be layering it over the original sleeves. If you are replacing the original sleeves completely, you'll still need the extra 1 inch. 

3. (This step is for doing an overlay with contrasting fabric. If you are replacing the sleeves completely, move on to the next step.) Pin the new sleeves (wrong side) to the old ones (right side). Sew along the long, curved side (not the cuff side).  Try to sew right along the old stitch marks. 

4. Use a zig-zag stitch (or serge stitch if available), to sew right along the edge of the contrasting fabric's shorter (cuff) side. This is to prevent fraying and help the cuff lay flat. Repeat for second sleeve.

5. Fold and pin the contrasting fabric over 1/2 inch, wrong sides together. 

6. Top stitch the new cuff in place. Here I am showing the right and wrong sides of the new sleeves after the top-stitch. 

7. Generously pin the new sleeves to the old t-shirt, right sides together. Stitch in place, turn right-side out, and you are done!! SO EASY, and now you have a new shirt!!

Participating in these link-ups.