How to be awesome at t-shirt surgery

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Within everyone's pile of T-shirts are one or two you hold onto but never wear for one reason or another. A new and more productive life awaits them with one of the following projects. Remember, T-shirt knit doesn't fray but it does curl. So you don't have to finish hem edges, but cut them at least a half-inch longer than you want them to fall.

Take it in

To make an oversized T-shirt fit, get some straight pins, put the shirt on inside out and use the pins to fit the shirt to your body. Position the pins horizontally one to two inches apart, pointy side away from your body (a helpful friend comes in handy here). Fit the sleeves as well as the torso.

Carefully remove the shirt, keeping it inside out, then machine sew or backstitch along the pins. Remove pins and cut off excess side fabric, leaving at least a half-inch hem.

Halter it

Put the T-shirt on inside out and, using a fabric pencil or piece of chalk, draw the rough shape of a halter top onto one half of the fabric. Keep in mind the coverage you want to keep, including neckline.

Take the shirt off and cut it vertically down the middle of the back.

Lay the tee flat with a vertical fold in the middle of the front, so the side with the drawn line lies directly over the other side. With a pair of scissors, cut both layers simultaneously, along the drawn line, until you reach the previously made cut -- that should leave you enough fabric to tie the halter at the neck and waist.

Keep thinking

Other ideas: Let out a too-tight T-shirt by cutting the side hems and reattaching front and back with crisscrossed ribbon or embroidery thread; use the graphic on a tee for the front of a throw pillow or a tote bag (for this use two layers of fabric and extra-strength thread, maybe some thrift-store leather for the strap); collect a bunch of T-shirt colors and graphics and make a quilt.