Refashion: Oversize to Tank Tee

This little tank has already become one of my “go to” little numbers. Layered under a cardi for now of course but I know this is going to be in heavy rotation in the summer too. It’s a shape I feel really comfy in and is so easy to refashion from an oversize tee….

Here’s the obligatory before & after! See how much more flattering it is without the sleeves and with a bit more fitting around the “boobettes”?! (I’m not usually one to intentionally direct someone’s gaze to my boobettes, but there’s a point I’m trying to illustrate and, well, I feel I’ve known you long enough now not to be prissy about it!)…

The key to this is finding a tee with a drop shoulder seam like this. (Essentially where the shoulder seam extends past the shoulder. The sleeve part will have a super shallow, almost non existent sleeve head because there is practically no armhole curve). Then remove the sleeve by cutting it away very close the the shoulder seam line…the “old” shoulder seam, will become the new sleeve hem…

You can see how shallow the armhole curve is below. With the sleeves removed, the armholes are way to big for the look I was aiming for. See where the yellow pin is in the first pic? Well in reality I ended up 2 stripes above that! But essentially, try it on in front of a mirror, and pinch closed the armhole until the armhole fits you comfortably and resembles a cap/kimono shape, as opposed to a big flappy gaping armhole! Mark that point with a pin. Then sew from that point down & blend your line of stitching down into the side seam. Trim away the excess…

You should have the original overlocking from the shoulder seam still attached. Turn under and stitch down…

As a finishing touch, I cut away the neckline ribbing….

I really love this little tee. The original garment cost me £1 from the local charity shop and is a really good quality jersey. I think it was one of those “yachty” sailing type brands. In any case, this took about 30 minutes. So in an afternoon, with a stash of thrifted T shirts, you could have a whole array of new summer tank tees for a few quid!
Nice huh?!

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestGoogle+


  1. March 20, 2014

    Thanks Portia, just a great idea, so simple and looks so much better. Now I have to find the right sort of t shirts…!

  2. Toni-Louise March 20, 2014

    Lovely upcycle, nothing beats turning old clothes new again. x

  3. Giddyauntlola March 20, 2014

    Love what you did to this tee and it looks fab on you; I will be looking out in my local charity shops for something similar to alter as it’s such a flattering shape. Gorgeous hair too!

  4. Marie March 20, 2014

    Clever and lovely as always Portia! So good to see your pretty face around these parts ;o)

  5. Louise Perry March 20, 2014

    Like it, may have to have a wander past some charity shops later today.

  6. Suzanne March 20, 2014

    Great fix! It looks so much better as a tank for sure.

  7. Symon March 21, 2014

    Super clever and what a difference it makes!! 🙂

  8. Kay March 21, 2014

    Looks great! so do the boobettes…(although I wasn’t really looking!) I like the deconstructed neck line. Might try making a Hemlock T with this sleeveless method… Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Savvysista March 21, 2014

    The original tee was horrid. Im going to have to copy this! X

  10. theresa March 21, 2014

    That’s a much bigger difference that I would ever have thought possible from a few small changes. This gives me loads of inspiration – many thanks, you have a real eye for the details.

  11. Anne Weaver March 21, 2014

    Wow! That makes such a huge difference!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this morning that links to your tutorial:

  12. Helen March 26, 2014

    Thanks for this Portia! I have made a maternity version from a mash up of this tutorial, and one by Cotton & Curls! Great, and useful tutorial!

  13. Echo @french_seams April 25, 2014

    What a fab makeover, your top looks great.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *