In DIY and Make-Do tutorials

This week my kindergartener put on his favorite Old Navy Halloween shirt from 2 years ago. Yup, it was looking a little shrimpy on him. Three-quarter length sleeves don’t really work for boys. I let him wear it once and then decided to do a little wardrobe refashion on it.

That’s it on the right, a size 4T. The shirt on the left is a different brand, but also a 4T and close to the same fit. I decided to sacrifice the also-outgrown Batman shirt to save the Halloween shirt. (Shhh…don’t tell my oldest!) My plan was to make a mock layered look by combining the two shirts.

First I used a short sleeved shirt as a guide for cutting the sleeve off. I wanted a reference for not only length, but for angle of the cut. I aligned the armholes then cut off the green sleeve, adding about an inch extra for seaming and hemming.

Then I placed the cut off sleeve on top of the other sleeve as a a reference and cut the second sleeve off to match.

I placed the green Halloween shirt and the cut off sleeve on top of the gray shirt. I knew from the last wearing , that the new sleeves need to be at least 2 inches longer. I lined up the cuffs and eyeballed the space: 2 inches of gray sleeve length, plus 1 inch for seaming and hemming. Fortunately the width of the grey sleeve is about the same width as the the green shirt. I cut the gray sleeve off following the edge of the the new short sleeve. Then I copied the length to cut off the second gray sleeve.

Next, I turned the green shirt inside out and put the cut off gray long sleeve inside, right sides together. I lined up the underarm seams and pinned the sleeve edges together distributing the fabric evenly around.

I sewed them together then pulled the sleeve out and pressed the seam allowance (1/4″) up toward the green part of the sleeve.

Here’s the sleeve right side out. Look, ma, longer sleeves! Ok, now to create the mock layered part.

I folded the gray part back inside the green sleeve and pinned it in place. Then I stitched twice around the opening, about a half inch from the fold, to give it the look of a hem.

I pulled the sleeve back out and pressed.

Now for the shirt tail extension. I placed the green shirt on top of the gray one and flipped the hem up out of the way. Again, I eyeballed about a 2 inch-plus extension and cut the bottom off the gray shirt.

Here is the green shirt inside out with the gray strip/tube/hem around it, wrong sides together. I aligned the edge of the gray part with the original hem stitching on the green shirt and sewed them together right on top of it to hide my stitching.

I flipped the new shirt tail hem down and turned the shirt right side out. Ta da! The 4T grew to a size 6!

Now, my guy is happy to wear his fave shirt again! However, I’m told I “shoulda made a hood”. There would probably be enough fabric from the body of the gray shirt, except for negotiating around that batman logo. I was also concerned about restricting the stretch of the neckline when sewing the hood on, thereby making the neck opening too tight. Nothing worse that losing a few ears when you pull your shirt off. (although I suppose it would add to the Halloween theme. eeew, sorry…) Not the best pose here for showing off the sleeves…oh well! :)

For other fun refashioning looks, check out wardrobe refashion and the etsy shop dress me.

Recent Posts
Showing 41 comments
  • Emily

    What a cute idea–and even cuter picture!

  • southerngirlmusings

    Clever and cool! My son had a growth spurt so this gives me some great ideas not too mention it will help me with my Wardrobe Refashion pledge. Thanks for sharing!

  • shannon

    what a great idea! Very cute.

  • Jenn Maruska

    Wow – that’s very cool!

  • amandajean

    that is a fantastic idea. It looks like you did a great job on it. It’s hard for the little ones to let go of their favorite shirts. and it’s wonderful that your son appreciates it.

  • Qalballah

    THAT is the best idea I have seen in a long while!

  • kcamou

    Great job, mom! They do become very attached to things.

  • Susan

    Love it! You are the cleverest!

  • dawnkristine

    great job!!! Love it!

  • drenka

    Nice job! I can see that your boy is very happy with his refashioned shirt!

  • sparkle jars

    What an incredible idea! Thank you for sharing that. :-)

  • Blair

    You are so good Betz, THAT is a great idea!

  • lindaharre

    How clever!!!!! I am really impressed:D

  • Swirlyarts

    That is such a good idea! My daughter has a couple of shirts that are too small so I might do this too!

  • Lesley

    That’s briliant! I never need to throw anything out again :o) Thanks for sharing. I now need to rifle through some drawers to try it out for myself. Great instructions xxx

  • Tsoniki

    That is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Vicki

    This is a great idea!

  • Lucy Locket-Pocket

    Thanks for that – the instructions were really clear and the result is fantastic! I can see there being some very happy children! Lucy x

  • Gédane

    Super idée!!! merci pour les explications.. thank you!!

  • amanda

    “shoulda made a hood”. Oh, I love that!
    The shirt looks fabulous. What a great idea!

  • Not Jenny

    Awesome idea!! I am going to share it with my friends.

  • Kookaburra

    That has got to be one of the coolest ideas I have seen in awhile! Oh and great directions and pics.

  • Magpie


  • natesgirl

    that’s brilliant and it looks great too!

  • Knittlebittle

    Fabulous idea and even better tutorial. My son has been lamenting the loss of a few favorite shirts. I can’t wait to surprise him with a few of them remixed.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Mom2fur

    Wow, what a great idea! I’m going to try to salvage some of the shirts my bigger boys have discarded because they are too short!

  • Jess

    I am going to have to do this with “Thomas”!!!

  • Anonymous

    Hi I did almost the same thing before I came across your refashion today. What a coincidence! It’s great and fun to refashion isn’t it? Here’re my DD’s refashioned Ts (sorry you’ll have to scroll down. I should have separated them in different posts): http://sewlovesew.blogspot.com/2008/06/some-stuff-made-today.html

  • Bad Mummy

    Great idea! I’m not a sewer (I was referred her because of an interest in working with felted wool), so this is well beyond what I could do.

    What I did with a fav t-shirt of my kidlet’s was to cut out the graphic (in this case: Miss Drama Queen), do a blanket stitch around the edges and safety-pinned it to the back of her jean jacket. We can change them around and it means the jacket remains gender-neutral for passing onto friends with boy kidlets.

  • Anonymous

    This is such a really neat idea. Thanks for sharing!

  • Healthmom

    I also have a child who has favorites like this. This is a great idea especially in these tough times. I’m not a sewer, but I am going to try this. I don’t feel I can mess up too bad, LOL!! I’m actually looking forward to trying this trick. THANKS!

  • Judi

    Thank you for this tutorial. I just refashioned a size 4 spiderman pajama top into a size 6 t-shirt that my daughter can now wear school.

    And I have to say, even though I’m sure you’ve heard it many times, I love those cupcake pincushions. I just ordered your book and purchased 4 thrift sweaters (felted and drying as we speak). Can’t wait to get the book.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this great idea.my child always fusses over the fact that his fave shirts have grown ‘smaller’.He’ll be kissing me over n over for making his fave shirt his size again. LOL!

  • Marvyn

    What a coincidence. I find all MY shirts on the short side after they come out of the wash. I have to go through all my shirts that I have boxed up and see what I can salvage.

  • Stacey,momof 2

    I love this— I had thought about it in my head, but I didn’t have directions so it was just an idea– now you made it a soon to happen project! yahooo!

  • Organizing Mommy

    Very nice!! Great frugality and creativity!

  • graceunbound

    Awesome! My boys are always outgrowing the length of their shirts so quickly, I think I will try this on a few to see what I can accomplish. (I may even try re-purposing some too-short turtle necks to look layered.)

  • Wendy

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I just used it to extend the life of one of my son’s shirts and I think I’ll do it to a few more as well.

  • teresajoy

    Great idea! I’m going to use this on my daughter’s favorite t-shirt that has gotten too short on her!

  • Jeans and a Sweatshirt-

    umm…duh! why did i not think of that one? it’s a great idea! i’ll have to try that one next time my 11 yr old complains that i’m taking his “favorite shirt”.

  • countrychicken

    I think I’ll try this for my own knock-around-the-house shirts.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Be a VIP!

Member benefits include exclusive discounts, early bird specials and first dibs on new designs! Subscribe now to stay in touch!