Friday, April 12, 2013

Refashioning a Too-Flowy Top

With the changing of the weather from hot to hotter out here, I've been feeling the need to find clothes that are more appropriate for sweating in.  I'm not talking workout clothes, I'm talking tank tops.  [Yes, it is already hot enough for bare shoulders down here.]

Last week I took a trip to the local thrift shop, and found myself a couple of cute tops.  One thing I love about thrift shopping is that there's more freedom to refashion clothing you find there.  Something about buying it secondhand and for less than $5 just makes it easier to look at a shirt and go, "with a little this and a little that, this shirt will be exactly what I've been searching for!"

This tank was one of those situations.  There's a lot of love about this top [the fit, the colors, the braided straps] except the way the fabric flows right to my mom hips and makes them look even wider.  I wanted to keep the flowy look around the stomach, for both coverage and breathability. The original plan was to just shorten the length so that the top didn't end right at my widest point, but then I realized that this shirt had even more potential as a maternity top someday.

With some inspiration from the shirt off my back [literally], I realized what would make this top just what I wanted it to be.  It needed an elastic waistband.

The good news is, adding an elastic waistband is super easy.  And actually, there is no bad news.

So, here's the how-to:

You will need
  • A shirt you like
  • Polyester Elastic in the width you'd prefer [I used 1/2 inch]
  • Sewing supplies - a machine, thread, scissors, etc.
You will do

[1] Measure out your elastic using your own body.  Wrap the elastic around where the bottom of the shirt hits [in most cases, this will be around your hips], then tighten it up a bit so that the elastic is stretched some, but still comfortable.  You should still be able to breathe.

[2] Cut off the excess elastic.  This is the diameter of your elastic.

[3] Now, cut your elastic diameter exactly in half.

[4] Sew the ends of your elastic halves on the inside of the shirt, at the hem, next to the side seams of your shirt. You want there to be about 1/8 inch of fabric that is below where your elastic ends - this is going to be your seam allowance when you encase the elastic. [That whole part might be confusing. Sorry. Hopefully this picture helps.]   Note: Your elastic will be shorter than the width of your shirt, but that is okay.

[5] Fold the hem of the shirt over, so that the elastic is encased inside.

[6] Sew a new hem around your shirt, making sure not to sew into the elastic.  I periodically pulled on the elastic a little bit to make sure it still slid around inside and wasn't sewn into.

Now try it on!

Happy Refashioning!


  1. that's so cute! I am inspired to go get me some shirts now :) If you have trouble with the elastic rolling or twisting inside the casing, you can tack it down here or there. Great work!

  2. Ottimo, articolo davvero interessante, era proprio quello che cercavo! Grazie per lo spunto!