sewing, shawl

Sewing Knits Counts as Knitting, Right?! Converting Boxy Man Tee Into Feminine Cut Tee.

As much as I love hand-knits, I also love nerdy novelty t-shirts.  The problem is that the best geeky shirts are only available in men’s sizes which are not at all flattering on my figure.  Not even a little bit.  So, I’ve done some research and have also ruined a few old tees trying to figure out the best way to convert a humongous man shirt into a flattering shapely woman’s tee.  I’m getting it down into a process with a predictable outcome and I’ll soon be cutting into my prized shirts.

Here’s the process:

1) Select a giant man shirt that has room to spare in the hips and bust.

IMG_7094 copy2)  Take apart an old tee that fits you well but you won’t be so sad to see in pieces.  Cut carefully along the seams of the sleeve cap and sides to preserve the shaping.  Trace the shapes onto wrapping paper and give some room for seam allowances.

IMG_7083 copy3)  Use the pattern pieces and trace the shape onto your giant man tee.  Don’t worry if the pattern covers the original arm seam.  This llittle bit of seam will be hidden in the armpit of the finished product.

IMG_7084 copy4)  Cut out your pieces.

IMG_7096 copy5) Turn inside out and stitch your side seams.

IMG_7099 copyYou can see that this conversion leaves a little bit of the original arm seam in the armpit.

IMG_7100 copyAnd, I recently bought (yesterday) a serger to finish the side seams but you don’t have to use a serger.  My regular machine worked just fine for this.  I used a narrow zigzag stitch to leave a little stretch in the seams.  Your machine might also have a mock coverstitch that you could use that would give some stretch.

6) Pin your sleeves to the sleeve hole with right sides together.

IMG_7104 copy7)  Stitch the sleeve in place.

IMG_7102 copy8)  Turn it right side out and try it on!

IMG_7127 copyIMG_7094 copyMuch better fit!!  Remember what it looked like before?

I’m still working out the best way to hem my newly fitted tees without a coverstitch machine.  I’ve tried the twin needle and a loose bobbin thread but find it still pulls.  I’m leaning towards a plain zigzag.  It really ends up looking better than the puckered twin needle result.

Just be sure you pay attention to the placement of the artwork on the front of the shirt.  I didn’t notice an off-set motif and ended up with words being eaten by the arm seam in one of my earlier conversion attempts.  There’s not a consensus in my household on whether or not this shirt is now unwearable in public.  It’s only missing a teeny corner of the “S”.

20150218_211706 copy

IMG_7134 copyAnd, just to make sure there’s some actual knitting included in my knitting blog post, I’ve about reached the end of my 100g hank of yarn on my Hitchhiker shawl.  The pattern calls for 150g but I’m not sure if I want to use another hank or if this is long enough.  The Midnight Knitter had a great idea of using part of the second hank to extend the Hitchhiker but leaving enough for a pair of socks so the yarn doesn’t go to waste.  I’m thinking that I may use her idea for this project.

I love that my shawl matches my Holland Handmade project bag!  It wasn’t planned but the color-coordination makes me smile.  🙂

7 thoughts on “Sewing Knits Counts as Knitting, Right?! Converting Boxy Man Tee Into Feminine Cut Tee.”

  1. Awesome tut! I find most T’s are just too small in the arm unless you go up to woman’s sizes, and then they are too loose! I might try a Man’s size to see if the arms fit better.


  2. This is a great idea! I wish I knew how to sew, or well, sew well. (Somehow, I never had the patience for it? Which sounds odd, considering the fact that knitting probably technically takes way more patience.) I have some shirts that could use this treatment for sure.


    1. You sew too? Yay!! 🙂 I wish I had thought about t-shirt conversion sooner. Although, sewing knits has always given me such trouble until I purchased the serger. I love that thing! My girls gave me all their novelty t-shirts yesterday and I altered over 20 of them! Fabric and thread were EVERYWHERE. But, so worth it! They are thrilled with the custom-fit tees.


What do you think? Leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s