I do love recycling men’s T-shirts. I can go to the Goodwill and get an extra large tee for $1.25, come home with it, and make it into a lap tee for Luke, a pair of pants for Levi, or in this case, a ruffle tank for me!
a tank that you like that you already have (for making a pattern)
tracing paper or sewing paper to trace your pattern onto
L/XL T-shirt of your choice
1/4″ elastic (enough to fit snuggly around your waist, and then a little bit.
stretch needle for your machine
2. Lay out your XL t-shirt and cut off the sleeves, then cut up the sides and at the shoulders so that you have a front piece and a back piece.
3. Fold the front piece in half and lay your pattern piece on the fold, with the inside edge of the pattern on the fold. Make sure to line up the bottom of your pattern with the bottom of the t-shirt, you want to use the original bottom of the t-shirt later as a casing for elastic. Pin into place and cut around the pattern.
4. Repeat step #3 with the back piece.
5. With your leftover t-shirt scraps, cut about 4 long strips of t-shirt, about 1″ wide. Set those aside. These will serve as the neck and arm hole trim.
6. Right sides together, sew the front and back pieces together at the shoulders and finish the seam with a serger or zig zag stitch.
7. Now take two of those strips of t-shirt material that you made in step #5. Open up the shirt and lay it flat so that your neck line looks like a circle. Start sandwiching the neck line into the strip of material, pinning as you go. Go all the way around the neck line, overlapping the strips of fabric if you run out before you make it all the way around the neck line
8. Stitch around the neckline at the raw edge of the trim.
9. Grab your elastic and pin a safety pin to one end. Thread it through the bottom band of the front panel of the tank top. You are using the casing that was created when you cut the original t-shirt apart, easy-peasy, huh? When you get your pin and elastic all the way through, secure the elastic by sewing across the band. Back stitch to make it nice and secure.
10. Bunch the material a little bit so that the bottom of the front of the tank top is gathered, then secure the elastic on that end just as you did on the other. Repeat steps 9 and 10 for the back of the shirt.
11. Right sides together, pin the side seams together and sew with about 1/4″-1/2″ inseam. Finish with a serger or zig zag stitch.
12. Now you have a choice. You can finish the arm holes with the leftover strips of fabric that you cut, of you can leave them raw. It’s totally up to you. If you choose to finish them off, just do it the exact same way as you did the neck line.