Hack Your Too-Big Man’s Shirt into a Cute Tank

I know, I know. It’s been a year since I blogged. What can I say? I’ve discovered the joys of Facebook. Come find me there! It’s all books and feminism and my awesome kids.

But I’m back on the blog today to share my first attempt at fashion in over a year. I’ve finally lost most of the baby weight, which means I get to discover all kinds of clothes I haven’t had a chance to wear in over a year. Also, I recently scored an awesome She-Ra themed tank top from TeeFury (my favorite spot for nerdy t-shirts), and when it came, I was disappointed to discover that TeeFury’s idea of a “unisex tank top” was more suited to a male basketball player. To wit, here’s their medium on me:


I am 5’7″, 145 pounds. I usually wear a medium or large girl’s t-shirt, or a size 8 on top. Here’s a shot showing the enormous arm holes and saggy sides:


And here it laid out alongside a tank top whose fit I like:

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Obviously, this would never do. The wide shoulders and neckline would probably have been acceptable, were it not for the sheer size and all that extra saggy baggy fabric under my arms. Also, the design of She-Ra is too low here. It doesn’t even start until well below my bust.

So I did a little online research into t-shirt hacks, and mixed and matched the methods I thought would achieve the result I wanted — a more feminine fit. The results are cute as a button and almost ENTIRELY no-sew! I thought I’d break my blog hiatus to post them here.

First, I marked off the neckline I wanted with chalk, using the tank top I liked as a guide. I matched the distance between the neckline and top the of the design with the difference of the black tank. Then, I split the seams at the shoulders, and cut each strap in three, then braided the result.


This both solved my neckline problems and design placement, and also “shortened” the length between the arms and the shoulders (braiding makes it shorter), but how to deal with the enormous width and space around the armpits? Online, I found instructions for making a “crossback” tank out of a giant man’s t shirt, and I thought it might achieve a similar draping effect it I tried it here.

On the back side, I split it down to the neckline, cut off the top foldover seam, split each side in three, and braided them again. IMG_20160721_102339706

Here’s where I ran into my problem (I’m not a measure twice, cut once kind of gal.) The resulting crossback BRAID was a little shorter, and thus tighter, than I wanted my straps to be. So I took a little of the extra fabric I had from cutting down the neckline and folded it over and wove it into the braids, tacking it down with a few stitches to secure, to add a wee bit of extra fabric and length at the top of the shoulders.


I actually love the way this turned out and would recommend it, even if you didn’t need the extra length, because it covers the places where the straps join, and makes for a nice, smooth, clean finish, not to mention a flatter strap at the top of the shoulder, which is probably more comfortable anyway.

And here’s the final result!

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No more saggy armpits! Lovely feminine neckline! Gorgeous drapey back!

Here is is laid out against the model tank. You will note it still looks bigger laid flat because of the “drapey” effect in the back, but it fits fine on:


And there you have it! So the next time you find the perfect t shirt that doesn’t come in ladies’ sizes or cuts, you can salvage it with about twenty minutes of work, a pair of scissors and a few stitches. Go forth and geek out!


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