Maternity Leave Refashions: Definitely RA (Guest Post)

While I’m out on maternity leave, taking care of our sweet little Buck, I have a few amazing bloggers filling in for me to share some of their awesome refashions! 

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Hi, there! I’m RA, and I got a sewing machine for my birthday this year. I am a super novice with it, but I’m learning slowly. I’m really excited to show you how I managed to slim down a giant t-shirt without messing up the whole thing beyond repair.

My husband and I both went to the University of Delaware, and we have season tickets for the Fightin’ Blue Hens football games! Recently, I got a free Blue Hens t-shirt, and even though I was excited to get it, it was, um, a little roomy.

Original giant t-shirt

Yeah. It was an adult XL. I already have a big jersey (#17!) for wearing over sweatshirts and coats, so I didn’t need another. What to do?

I remembered that Merrick had posted tutorials on making a tunic and skinnifying a larger t-shirt, so I studied up. Ultimately, I decided to make a fitted t-shirt based on those ideas. This was the game plan:

  • Cut out the neck band to make a wider neckline.
  • Chop off the sleeves. The shirt was so wide that the shoulder seam dropped over my shoulder, which would make a passable short sleeve.
  • Chop off the bottom to the right length.
  • Sew down the sides.

Here’s a not-to-scale diagram of what I did, roughly. I cut on all the dotted lines, but I only sewed at the gray sections. The blue parts were left ragged because t-shirt material doesn’t fray.


And, hey, check it out!

Slimmed down t-shirt

Woo! Much better. Big difference, right?

I don’t swim in fabric any more, and the top is slim enough to go under a cardigan, but not so tight that I couldn’t layer a long-sleeve tee underneath. I’ve washed it a couple of times, and my jacked-up sewing even held up. Success!

Recommendations if you want to try this:

  • If I had been thinking ahead, I would have used a t-shirt I already owned as a size guideline, cutting around it with a ½-inch margin. Instead, I sort of guesstimated, so it’s a miracle that I didn’t end up with something super tight.
  • Because I was doing a t-shirt, I cut straight down to the bottom, but if you wanted to make a tunic, I think it would be better to angle slightly outward to create more room for your hips.

This was a fairly quick project for me that makes me want to attempt more in terms of altering clothing, so big thanks go to Merrick for encouraging me to try. Go, Blue Hens!

Go, Blue Hens!


  1. Teresa says:

    That is fantastic. Makes me believe that even I could do it! Thanks!

  2. sharing this on my facebook page!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this. My daughter is 16 years old and only 4'10" tall at 90lbs. She just recently got a shirt from a field trip and the only thing they had left for her was a large. Even extra smalls are big on her. This post popped up at the perfect time. I'm an amateur seamstress as well, so this looks like something at my skill level that I can handle.
    Thanks again, RA

  4. So cute! I have several sports team shirts that I can do this with.

  5. heidikins says:

    This looks so great!! Yay!


  6. Sara Flynn says:

    Great job! Looks MUCH better. I am asking for a sewing machine for Christmas and I CAN NOT WAIT!


  7. Chrissie says:

    Nicely done, it looks great!

  8. Mev_Lohman says:

    Looks great! I had to do a similar job with the T-Shirt I was given for coaching little league soccer. They gave me a men's large, so skinnified it and made the sleeves more narrow. They were long enough that they ended up looking almost like 3/4 sleeves, and now the shirt is cute enough that I'll be willing to keep wearing it even though soccer season is over.

  9. Saskia says:

    This is a great post. I love the last picture.

  10. I have a big shirt that is a little awkward to use, so this tutorial helps a lot! Thanks for sharing!

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