Activity #229: Upcycle a boyish tshirt for a girl

by Whitney Moss on September 21, 2009

in Crafty,Having 2+ kids,How to

Your standard issue souvenir shirt, labeled as unisex, is pretty much for boys. Don’t fight me on this. The boxy cut and thick collar of a boys tee is fine for romping around, but if you are saving some favorite boy shirts for the baby girl you are expecting, you may come to find you are reluctant to dress her in them. Shirts for little girls simply have more shape to them– more charm than a unisex tshirt.

I am in the one-of-each club, with an older boy and younger girl. I have now mastered the subtle alterations required to turn a boy’s tshirt into a girl’s tshirt.


Thrift store lovers, this will allow you to turn that toddler-sized “I left my heart in San Francisco” you scored for $1.00 into something even more stylish.

Ready to perform a sex change operation on a tshirt? Here’s my tutorial.

What you need: “unisex” tshirt, elastic thread, sewing machine, beginner sewing skills

Starting with a basic toddler’s tshirt, handed down to us from Heather’s son Milo.

Cut off the neck line and trim the hem off the sleeves. Turn the sleeves under and sew. Your shirt is already more feminine. If you are exhausted at this point, you can quit now.

If you are still feeling strong, proceed with loading the elastic thread you purchased at the fabric store onto a bobbin. You have to wind it by hand. The thread coming from the bobbin up through the bottom of your machine will be the elastic stuff, while the one coming through the needle from the top of your machine will be your regular thread.
Now you will sew a lines around the middle of the shirt to create a gathering effect. Simply sew straight ahead and complete a circle around the shirt. You don’t need to do anything else to make it gather. The elastic thread takes care of that for you, and the effect is even more dramatic after the shirt’s first washing.
Now sew two more rows, evenly spaced to the best of your ability below the first one.
That’s it. You’re done.
If you try this for yourself, please post links to your pictures!

The following two tabs change content below. co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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