How to squeeze one more year out of a kid’s t-shirt

So my Daughter started school today and was very excited about it.  She got herself dressed but when she came downstairs I noticed the shirt she was wearing was about 3 inches too short in the arms and body so in addition to her belly hanging out, she looked like she had gorilla arms! lol!  That and she had obviously worn this while painting one day and it was covered with little paint spatters.

I had her change her shirt and off to school she went.  When I got home I decided to see if I could get one more year out her shirt.  She has three of the same shirt (my mom found them on sale for a buck somewhere) and I knew they would all be fitting the same so I took the black shirt and the purple shirt and put them together to make a ‘new’ shirt.

Here’s the black shirt before:

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and here’s the purple shirt before:

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I love how the grease stains on the purple shirt show up so much more prominently in the photo than they do in real life.  Yeah, laundry is not my forte and my daughter has a hard time understanding the difference between her shirt and a napkin.

Anyhow, first thing I did was cut the sleeves off of the black shirt.  I didn’t measure anything, just eyeballed it and used the first sleeve cutoff to measure the second sleeve so they were even.

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I needed to add about 3 inches to the length of the sleeve which worked out that I could simply cut off the purple sleeves at the underarm point.

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I needed to add approximately the same amount the bottom of the shirt so I cut off the bottom portion of the purple shirt that equaled the length I needed to add plus the hem allowance of the black shirt.

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I then inserted the purple piece I just cut off in the bottom of the black shirt, matched the side seams and lined up the cut edge with the top edge of the hem. Then I stitched around the hem of the black shirt to attach the two pieces making sure to follow the stitch line of the original hem.  I used purple thread but you can use a matching thread.

Next I matched up the sleeve edges, right sides together and serged them together.  You can use a straight stitch instead, knit fabrics tend to be resistant to fraying so there really isn’t much need to finish the edges.

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So here’s how the shirt should look at this point.

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In order to give the sleeves the look of being layered I flipped the seam up and stitched a “hem” around the black part of the sleeve.

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I wanted to try and cover up some the paint spatters on the front of the shirt.  Reverse applique is my favourite thing at the moment so I decided to put some reverse appliqued flowers on the front.  It didn’t completely get rid of the paint splatter but I think it looks very cool now.

I cut the sleeves and front from the back of what was left of the purple shirt.  I used the back since it was less stained and slightly bigger than the front.  I turned the shirt inside out and pinned the purple to the front.

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Next I turned it right side out again and drew my design on the shirt.  Then I simply used a straight stitch and went around the design a couple of times.

I trimmed the excess purple from edges on the back and then cut out the black inside the petals.

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And voila! New shirt that should last at least one more year before she completely grows out of it.

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Some thoughts on this project.

To lengthen the sleeves you don’t have to cut the sleeves short, you can just add to the hem of the sleeves similar to how I added length to the hem of the shirt.

If you don’t have enough to lengthen the sleeves, just cut them off and hem them as short sleeves, that way they can’t be too short. 🙂

You can leave the front of the shirt plain, sew on an embellishment, iron on a patch, embroider something, it’s really up to you.  I just really like reverse applique. 😀

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Came over from WR. I love the reverse applique!

  2. Posted by Punkn on September 10, 2009 at 1:20 am

    thanks! I’m glad you liked it, my daughter loved it to. 😀

  3. I stopped over from WR as well. This looks fantastic. I want to try this on a shirt for myself!

  4. That is so cool!

  5. How amazing is that?

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