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No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

I loved this shirt the moment I laid eyes on it, but crew neck shirts are not my jam. Sometimes I put them on, thinking I can deal with them, but somewhere within the first hour I start to feel like I’m being choked. Also these sort of unisex-cut shirts can be really boxy, so I created this no sew t-shirt refashion to take this from boxy to feminine. And it only took me about an hour!

No Sew T-shirt Refashion

I never buy crew necks. Never. I have a few that I’ve gotten free from different places, but I never pay money for them.

Except that I kind of fell in love with this shirt. I love the floral motif (even though I’m not generally much of a floral girl) and I love the sentiment.

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

But these are unisex shirts and the cut does nothing for me, honestly. Maybe it means I’m vain, but I just don’t love wearing things that I don’t feel are flattering.

As a woman who tends toward an hourglass shape, these shirts make me feel boxy and shapeless. And crew necks make me want to Hulk out.

So the crewneck is where we started. First I turned the shirt inside out and cut off the collar at the seam. Then I drew a quick outline of what I wanted for the neckline. I couldn’t really cut the front down a lot lower and keep space for the braid, so mostly I took it a little wider and squarer.

I used soapstone chalk for marking this project.

It doesn’t have to be totally perfect, since the braid will change it as well. But you want it to be mostly symmetrical.

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

After cutting the neckline, I marked out lines one half inch apart all along the neckline, front and back. I tried to keep the lines perpendicular to the neckline as much as possible.

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

Then I made cuts along the marked lines with small, sharp scissors.

I left about 1/4 inch from the top and 3/8 of an inch from the pattern so as not to interfere with it. I would not recommend going any closer than this!

If you’re working with a shirt without a pattern like this, you can definitely play around with the length and width of your cuts. But since I had a relatively small area to work with, I kept mine closer together and a bit shorter. This made for a narrow braid.

Just make sure your cuts are fairly consistent all the way around.

Making the Braid

I found a tutorial online about how to make the braid, but it wasn’t as clear as it could have been, so I had to play around to figure out exactly how it worked.

Hopefully I’ve made it clear with the pictures below.

Step 1

Image 1 of 4

Start at one shoulder seam. Take the first two loops in your finger.

Once I got to the end of the braid, I tucked the last loop under the first one and put in a couple of stitches to hold it. But if you don’t feel comfortable with a needle and thread (I did say this was no-sew!) you could cut the last loop in the middle and tie it around the first loop.

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

When it’s done, it should look something like this.

You can see that the braid gathers the fabric a bit. It’s more pronounced when it’s off the body, but it’s still there somewhat when it’s on.

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Sleeve Refashion

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

I also decided to change up the sleeves to give them a little more shape.

I cut off the hem of the sleeve first, then I folded it straight at the shoulder seam.

Then I made a mark two inches from the shoulder seam and cut it straight along the fold up to the mark.

If you’d prefer more of a “cold shoulder” type look, you can cut it all the way up to the shoulder seam.

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

Then I took the cut ends and gave them a tug to lengthen them a little. Then I made a small knot at the ends.

Here’s what it looks like finished! My neck can breathe! And the sleeve modification gives it a bit of a cap sleeve rather than the boxy sleeves it started with.

I like it like this with a pair of jeans. But–

No Sew T-shirt Refashion -by amber's hands-

I love it styled with a pencil skirt and a little knot at the bottom.

Then again, I have a pencil skirt obsession, so take that with a grain of salt!😆

What do you think? Do you have t-shirts in your closet that need a refresh?

A super simple no sew t-shirt refashion to go from boxy to feminine with a braided neckline and bow sleeves. Done in an hour! #tshirt #refashion #upcycle #diy #tutorial #fashion
Go from boxy to feminine with this super easy no sew t-shirt refashion that you can do in an hour! #tshirt #refashion #upcycle #diy #tutorial #fashion

17 Comments on No Sew T-shirt Refashion

  1. Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial ! Trying it out on a shirt I have saved for 2 years after seeing a similar technique but somehow lost the info.

      • Hi Amber,
        First, I want to let you know your email link is broken on this post. Second, is it doable to put the same braid or weave on the sleeve as the neckline?

        • Hi Dot! I think you could do the same braid on the sleeve, as long as the sleeve was big enough. The braid cinches up the fabric just a bit, so if the sleeves were tight to begin with, it may be uncomfortable. But otherwise there’s no reason you couldn’t!

  2. I just followed your instructions to turn blah into adorable!! Thanks so much for helping me feel cute and crafty!! 😊

  3. I am so glad someone else understands the HATRED for a crew neck. I also feel like I’m being choked and have tried to be ok with them a couple times then end up getting rid of them bc I just can’t do it. It’s SO hard to find cute shirts these days that are not crew neck so thanks for this awesome idea!!!!

    • Great question! I haven’t had any trouble putting it through the washer and dryer. I have a front load machine and generally wash it on gentle. You can always hang it to dry, too, if your worried your dryer might be hard on it. But mine has held up well.

    • I think they were roughly an inch long, but I didn’t measure an exact length. You can absolutely make them longer if you have space on your shirt to do so, but I think if they were any shorter, it would be difficult to do using your fingers.

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