Here I am, pretty excited about the idea of doing both my first tutorial and my first giveaway. However, as I’ve been preparing this I’m realizing that there’s really no way to do this short and sweet. Tutorials take up some time and space, eh? So, if you need to run and do some laundry or grocery shopping or head to work for the day, leave this tab open and come back later when you have a moment to read. But don’t forget to come back because, well, GIVEAWAY!! And a great t-shirt hack. Being it’s my first tutorial I won’t lay claim to it being “great” just yet. I probably need practice, but I hope it’s a good first try.
Last year I missed our town’s first Colour Run. This year I somehow managed to get the whole family out for it and I am so glad we did it. My girls were real troopers and ran most of the 5k which is more than I expected! They went almost a full mile before our first short walk break!! I was so impressed with them.
I knew we were going to all run together in the event for awhile, but I waited till the last minute to actually go and register so we fell victim to whatever was left of the shirts.
Now, what does a Mami with a sewing machine do? I had no choice but to do some shirt refashioning. I meant to just do something quick and simple, but ended up with a pattern hack that I will DEFINITELY be doing again. I love how these turned out so I thought I’d share what I did. But first….
It all started with the Isla pattern by Simple Life. Yup! That’s the pattern I get to give away!! I’ve had this pattern for a bit and finally got around to making one a few weeks ago. This meant I knew how it fit and how easy the pattern was. AND when I made this one I totally forgot to add the the sleeves that I had cut out right beside me and ended up making a tank top instead. That was a weird moment that left me some perfectly good sleeves all cut out and ready to go.
The heart cut out is what drew me to this pattern and being a knit top makes it one that my daughter loves to wear. It’s comfy and easy. I use a lot of Simple Life patterns and have yet to find one that I don’t like.
So with the sleeves already sitting there, this pattern became the obvious choice to use as a base for the Colour Run shirt refashion. And I like that I was able to use up some knit scraps because I have a hard time throwing away pieces of fabric!
Before cutting I needed to figure the sizing the girls would need and I determined to size up to get a looser fit. The original Isla that you just saw is in a size 10 which is the correct size for my oldest. You can see it’s a close fit (though not tight). But I wanted a loose t-shirt style so the size 10 I now used for my youngest who normally would get a size 7 or 8. The one size up worked great for both of them.
On to the cutting. I started with the front bodice and I don’t have enough pictures to explain what I did so I hope I can word this well enough.
The logo was too wide to fit on the top narrower portion of the new bodice. I moved the pattern piece up on the old shirt so that the logo was now chest level on the new one. This gave enough room for all the words to fit across…. Except now the neckline of the original shirt was too low cutting across the new bodice. It wasn’t going to work and in order to make it fit, I needed to make some adjustments. Easily solved by piecing and creating a “new” piece of fabric to cut from! I cut the shirt about 1 1/2″ above the logo and grabbed my stack of scraps. I was pleased to find a piece that was JUST wide enough to fit that top narrow bodice portion. I centered it and serged it on and then went back for my pattern piece for the actual cutting.
I pinned the front bodice pattern piece (on the fold, of course) to my newly created “fabric” and you can see the pattern peeking out from below the green shirt a bit. I then used this green shirt for a reference on length since the Isla bodice is short and meant to have a skirt attached. I matched up the armpit points and then marked on the fabric how far down I wanted the top to go and cut down from the armpit to my marking at a slight angle outwards. I wanted to be sure there was enough room around the hips. I would say I angled out only about 3/4″ at the very bottom. It wasn’t too much. Don’t forget to add length for the hem. I did about 3/4″. After this, the front piece was now ready.
For the back of the shirt I decided I wanted to do something fun which meant I needed to create an actual pattern piece instead of the “eyeball it” method I used when cutting the bottom of the front piece. I have a large roll of tracing paper that I use for my patterns which is very handy for things like this. I got it from www.well.ca though I’m sure those who are able to order from Amazon would find it easily there as well. I like using the tracing paper because it’s nice and thin and doesn’t bulk up my file box where I store my patterns the same way that regular paper does. With all my PDF patterns I just print once and use the tracing paper for the different sizes and it saves on the amount of paper running through my printer.
My pattern was not going to be mirrored which meant needing a full pattern piece for the back as opposed to the typical “cut on the fold”. So I folded the paper in half and traced the top half of the back pattern piece in the size I wanted from the neckline down to the armpit. I then extended the side all the way down to match the side seam on the front bodice piece and I did that using the actual front piece I had already cut. Again, I angled slightly outward towards the bottom to create some room around the hip area. Sorry, I didn’t grab a picture of how I lined that up.
Then I opened the tracing paper up and using some fancy tailoring ruler that I happen to have I drew and cut an angled line from bottom of one side and ending about 4″ below the opposite armpit.
Next, I needed to create the pattern piece for the opposite bottom corner to create that tulip hem. I folded the full piece in half again and lay it on top of my tracing paper. I traced out the triangle you see at the bottom but added a seam allowance to the side of the triangle piece indicated by the dotted line. (Just in case my picture is confusing, the seam allowance is added to the triangle piece only. It’s assumed the front and the larger back piece already have the seam allowance added.) Since I decided I wanted my hemline seam allowance to be about 3/4″. I just added another scant 1/2″ to that for a total of 1¼” and that’s what I added to the side of my triangle. You will be folding and ironing the top fabric under to hem and then you’ll have that extra bit on the triangle for the other piece to overlap onto and be sewn together in the following steps. (Man! This business of explaining things is not easy! I hope you are able to follow and understand.)
At this point I had the two pieces I needed for the back.
I lay my finished pattern piece over the old shirt and I had just enough left in the bottom corner for my triangular piece. It was pretty much just right.
Now comes the construction. I followed the Isla instructions for attaching the front and back pieces together as well as the sleeves. Then I serged down the one side of the shirt that had the lengths that matched.
For the other side I sewed up only a couple inches from the hem approximately to where I’m pointing. The rest of the side all the way up thru the sleeve is left open for now and I’m ready to hem. I ironed my hemline all the way around. And now this part gets even trickier to explain.
With the shirt still inside out (not like the picture) I pinned the remaining side closed from the sleeve down to the point where I had already sewn those last couple inches at the hem. Then I pinned along the angled edge attaching the triangle piece from that spot I’m pointing to and going down to the centre back point. I made sure that the larger piece of fabric was overlapped on top of the small triangle piece about 1/2″. You want to do this pinning now to ensure everything is laying straight and that the two pieces are overlapping nicely. Once you start topstitching the hem you won’t be able to lay it flat again to line that all up so you want it held in place now.
Here I was able to do one nice long hemming stitch starting from the centre back point. I used my serger, but this can also be done with a double needle on a sewing machine. I went down the triangle piece, across the front of the shirt and then up the long angled piece. When I reached the centre point where the two back pieces met I, then, made sure to sew over both pieces to nicely attach them together across the back and up to the side seam.
At this point it’s almost done! I could now finish serging up the side of the shirt and all that’s left is to hem the sleeves and attach the neck binding.
The Isla pattern calls for a lining piece which eliminates the need for binding, but I didn’t have a lining so I needed a way to finish the neckline. I’m not super confident with figuring out how long a piece of binding is needed for necklines or armholes. Or I should say, I wasn’t. Both of these shirts for the girls AND my own shirt refashion turned out excellent in the binding department! It’s like I know what I’m doing! I measured the distance around the neckline, subtracted 2″ and used that number to cut the length of fabric for the binding. I believe I cut it 1 1/2 – 1 3/4″ wide. I forget, but that’s about preference. Do as you like! I serged the short ends together creating a loop and ironed the whole thing in half lengthwise. You could also iron the strip in half before creating the loop. It’s easier. I know it is, but I always tend to do it this way.
Finding centre front and back on the binding and matching those to centre front and back of the shirt I pinned and then sewed the binding to the right side of the shirt. I flipped it under to the wrong side and used my serger to topstitch around the neckline. And that’s all!! I don’t think I’ve forgotten anything!
Here’s just a quick peek of what I did with my own shirt and how impressed I was. (I never did get a before pic.) I knew I wanted to make a tank top. I don’t like running in t-shirts for some reason. I put out a request for some tank top pattern ideas on a Facebook sewing page and got some great pattern ideas which I promptly pinned to my Pinterest. But they either didn’t quite match what I had in mind or called for more fabric than my oversized shirt contained. So I just chopped into what I had! And it was midnight. Not a good idea. I didn’t notice I cut way too close to the logo. And the straps were a bit teensy right on top of the shoulders so I had to be pretty precise with my binding in that area.
But in the end I pulled it together. It’s not as impressive as the girls shirts were, but I did have someone at the run ask we where we got our shirts. She looked as if she felt royally ripped off that she didn’t get to choose from the fun shirts!! I should probably be careful or I’m going to get requests next year.
Here’s some reality shots for you all before we get to fun stuff!! Did you forget the GIVEAWAY? I almost did.
Post-race!! I’d like to report that the colour came out of all three of the girls shirts. Papi was left with pink on his. Weird since he’s clearly covered in blue. We all still have stained skin a day later….. Not so easy to wash off skin, apparently.
Ok!! We need to get to the good stuff. I mean, the other good stuff. The amazing girls over at Simple Life Pattern Company have graciously provided me with a copy of the the Isla pattern that I used as my starting point for the t-shirts. And I’m going to give this one away. Here’s what you need to do:
- Leave me a comment and tell me if you are someone who follows patterns to a T or if you, like me, simply HAVE to change something about every pattern you make.
- You don’t sew (yet)? Tell me if you’ve ever joined in a Colour Run!
- For an extra entry jump over to my IG and follow me there. Here‘s the link to get there. DON’T FORGET TO LIKE THE CONTEST POST SO I KNOW YOU’RE PART OF THE CONTEST!!
This giveaway will run till June 14 at 12:00 pm Central Time and is open internationally. I’m going to attempt to figure out how to work my IG stories and do the draw on there, but I will come back and post the winner here as well.
And there we have it! I’m assuming this gets easier when you do more of these…… I hope you enjoyed this and if you make this shirt, I’d love to see it. Tag me on a pic in IG or post a pic here.
Fabrics used: All three tops used Art Gallery fabric scraps that I had on hand from other projects. The Ice Cream Shop fabric from the Boardwalk Delight collection by Dana Willard was used for the original Isla top as well as one of the short sleeve shirts. The other short sleeve shirt used Triangle Brush Tempera scraps from the Chalk and Paint collection by Caroline Hulse. And finally, for my tank top I used bits of Nib and Pluck Ursinia from the Petal & Plume collection by Bari J.
Affiliate links are used, but I can’t help but give my real thoughts on all of it!