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Upcycle a Favorite Too Small Shirt into Something They’ll Love!

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It’s always a sad day when you realize a favorite article of clothing has been outgrown.  (Not that that will stop them from wearing it, lol.)  Today, I’m sharing a quick trick for upcycling a too-small shirt into a NEW favorite shirt!


How to upcycle an outgrown shirt into a new top your little one will love!

We have a particular kitty shirt that was incredibly well-loved.  I found a picture of her wearing it in late 2012, and almost 4 years later it is definitely too short. (I bought that tee to go with the pants I made in that picture.)  The weird thing is, I kept putting this shirt in the giveaway pile and it kept magically re-appearing on my missy’s body!  (The combination of droopy drawers and underbelly baring tees are not necessarily a person’s best look, ha ha.)

After at least the 10th time of making her change the shirt into something that fit better- I decided to figure out a way to upcycle the kitty design to another shirt.

I found this pink sweatshirt at Wal-mart and grabbed it specifically for this project.  The shirt is practically the exact pattern as my free raglan tunic top pattern (has a slightly wider neckline) but I just wanted to get this project done.  

(Hate to admit, but If I waited until I sewed a new top- It would be another year before I posted this!)


Can we all take a moment to just sit back and admire how awesome this upcycle turned out??  My little Missy couldn’t have been more pleased with her “new” best friends kitty shirt.

Here is how I upcycled the old shirt:

Carefully cut around the design on the original shirt.  Cut as close as you can- but if there is embroidery, be careful to not cut into that.  (If you do, try adding a bit of fray check to that spot.)

(I probably could have cut closer- but I originally planned to use red thread and sew through the original fabric.  I determined it would be easier to sew along the embroidery of the transferred design.)

Pin the design in place.

Carefully stitch around the design.

That’s all it takes!

We have a new top that my kitty crazy daughter loves!

What do you think?  Do you have any tops this could work for?


Products used and recommended in this post: 

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One Comment

  1. We have a whole stack of shirts (all with cats on them!) that my daughter outgrew but couldn't part with. I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for later today that features your tutorial: http://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=86410 –Anne