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DIY: make a gaping shirt fit at any size

I love going to the University of Massachusetts hockey games. I get pumped up beyond belief when the main lights dim, the spotlights go on, the Minutemen skate out and the announcer yells, “PAAAUULL DAINTOONN!”

And, like most Minutemen fans, I love getting a free T-shirt when they’re being given away, mostly because I can’t afford the real Minuteman memorabilia. Case in point: Bright Out Night.

As usual, I arrived at the game a few minutes too late, and was assaulted with an extra-large white T-shirt. Great, I thought. I wear a small. This is useless to me. Or is it?

After leaving the poor, neglected T-shirt draped over my desk chair and scouring the Internet for a decent reconstruction tutorial, I have come up with a way to not only make the shirt fit me, but also make it somehow pass as both dangerously sexy and simply sensible, without sewing.

For this slightly modified tutorial, you will need an extra large T-shirt, a pair of scissors, and a marker or pen. To make the last step a little easier, you can cheat by using yarn or string.

Lay your shirt out flat on your work surface. I used the floor. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles and that both sides of the bottom hem are lined up. This will make your cutting even and your finished product look less choppy. Next, cut off the sleeves and lay it flat again.

Take a T-shirt that you already have, preferably one that fits you in a way you like, and lay it flat over your extra large shirt, lining up the collars. This will give you a good idea of where you want to make your next marks and cuts.

Next, using your marker or pen, lightly draw a line down the sides of your extra large T-shirt an inch or two from your fitted T-shirt. Draw a horizontal line across the bottom of the shirt about an inch below the waist of your fitted shirt.

Remove your fitted shirt and put it away. Cut through both layers of the extra large T-shirt where you marked. Take the excess fabric from the bottom of the shirt and set it aside. The rest can be thrown away.

Now, mark up each side of the shirt with dots. Make sure you mark an equal number on each side. Then, use your scissors to snip these dots into holes no bigger than a pencil eraser.

For the next step, take the extra waist band you set aside and cut all around it, making one long strand of T-shirt, and cut it in half so you have two. You can use an alternative material if you’d like; I used two long strands of yarn, and you can use safety pins for a more punk rock look. This will be used to lace the sides of your shirt together.

Tie the front and back pieces of shirt together like a shoe by using the small holes you’ve created for yourself up and down each side, from armpit to waist. You should have some excess string hanging at the bottom of your shirt. Before tying it off, slip the shirt on so you can tighten it as much as you like. This is where you can vamp it up by tying it tightly to make the shirt look sexier, or keep it a little looser and simple.

This method includes elements from several tutorials, but the most reliable one can be found in the book “Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt” by Megan Nicolay. The book has a ton of easy tutorials for awesome T-shirts in any size and allows for readers to re-create them in any style.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at erulonmi@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “DIY: make a gaping shirt fit at any size”
  1. Lauren says:

    Thank you so much. Our high school was selling T-shirts for the playoff game this weekend and all they had left was an XL, XXL, or XXXL…and I wear a small. I bought the XL and can’t wait to fix it!

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