Return Of T-Shirt Surgery

It had been almost a year since my last t-shirt surgery, so I was getting that hankering for some sewing action. I’ve managed to collect a decent number of XL t-shirts that fit, but are kind of boring. I’d like to turn these into cute Diana-sized girly tees. (Unlike Threadless XL girly tees, which are about two inches’ circumference shy of being comfortable for me to wear out of the house. That does not stop me from ordering them anyway and hoping to shrink into them.)

My first reshaping attempt was using my Otaku Generation t-shirt. Aaron and I got matching Otaku G shirts free from the Otaku G crew at Ohayocon in January, and I’ve been meaning to surgerize it for a while now. It fits just fine, but I wanted to do something to make it a little more distinctive, and easier to tell my shirt from Aaron’s in the wash. 🙂

I followed this tutorial on resizing a t-shirt, for the most part, although I didn’t really have any resizing to do. Mainly, I just wanted to shrink up the armpits and make the sleeves smaller and more girlish. First, I lopped off about an inch and a half from the length of the shirt. Then I put the shirt on and figured out how much smaller I wanted the armholes to be, and pinned the armpit of one sleeve. I then marked the spot with white fabric pencil and removed the sleeves.

Enter the Singer Tiny Serger. While I watched my Logan’s Run DVD, I sat on the living room floor and serged up the armpits of my t-shirt torso a couple of inches. Then I adjusted the length and width of each of the sleeves, serging them up the armpit seam. Finally, I serged the sleeves back onto the t-shirt torso — inside-out, of course, so the seams were on the inside.

Three hours later (including movie-related distractions), this is how it turned out. I haven’t hemmed up the bottom yet (the “real” sewing machine was having bobbin tension issues), and I’m considering altering the collar and adding white bias tape. Until then, though, at least it’s all girly on my figure. I know it doesn’t look all that different, but it definitely *feels* more fitted.

As usual, I did have one or two screw-ups. I accidentally sewed the left sleeve on wrong-side out, so the red-and-blue serged armpit seam on the sleeve shows when I lift up my arm. I decided it adds to the character, though, so I’m not redoing it. I also serged some of the sleeve-to-torso seams a little loose (although I’m unsure how to do it any differently with my Tiny Serger). Once I get the Giant Singer (aka the “real” sewing machine) going right, I’ll probably straight-stitch next to my serges while I’m hemming the bottom of the shirt. And maybe fixing the collar.

For my next attempt at restyling a t-shirt, I’ll probably make the sleeves a little shorter and cuter, and maybe make the shirt itself a little shorter. I’ll also adjust the shoulders, so the sleeve attaches a little farther up my arm. I’m thinking my next victim will probably be either my Relay For Life 2005 shirt (once I find it) or maybe my Youmacon 2005 shirt. Should be fun!