Turn a t-shirt into a cute workout shirt

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T-shirt DIY - The Hot Mess Press

Everyone has a drawer FULL of t-shirts they got at various events that they never wear. You may have relegated them to pajama duty, or saved them for lounging around the house. You can actually modify them to fit you better and look more stylish with just a pair of scissors! That’s right – no sewing necessary! Here’s how to turn a regular t-shirt into a cute workout shirt.

Necessity is the mother of internet research

I was inspired to try this when I attended an event a couple of months ago where they were handing out free t-shirts. I’m a small gal, and the woman passing the shirts out looked at me and said that the only size they had left was extra-large. I shrugged and said I’d take one anyway. I took about two steps away and heard her comment to another worker “I guess a free t-shirt is a free t-shirt”. I’m sure she didn’t mean to be judgmental, but I was a bit annoyed. And when I get annoyed, I take it as a challenge. So, I hopped on Google, and found this great tutorial for changing an oversized t-shirt into a cute racer-back tank top perfect for working out!

How did you do it already?

You only need good scissors and your t-shirt to make this happen, but I also recommend a wide, flat work space, a measuring tape and some chalk. (I neglected to use these last two things and I wish I had.)

Lay your shirt out as flat and even as you can, with your design facing you.

Cut off the sleeves, starting at the shoulder and moving down. In hindsight, I wish I’d used a measuring tape and then marked a cut line with chalk to ensure that both sleeves were even, but it still looks pretty cute. It’s a workout shirt anyway, so if it’s a little off, you’ll probably be the only one who notices. Depending on what you want it to look like, you can cut the sleeves fairly low so that your undergarments show, if that’s your jam. If not, just stay close to the original sleeves.

Cut off the neckline, and about an inch of fabric from the bottom of the shirt. If you want the neckline a bit lower than that, now is the time to cut it lower. This photo features a cameo appearance by my cat, Skye, who thinks anything on the bed, where I was working, is fair game. 

Turn the shirt over and cut the back part of the sleeves in to make more of a racerback shape. Cut the back neckline into a v-shape.

Remember that extra fabric you cut off from the bottom of the shirt? Grab it, cut it so that it’s one piece, and stretch it out to make it long and thin. Take it and tie it just a couple of inches above the v-shape you cut on the back. Wrap it down around the center of the tank and back up. Knot it and cut the loose ends if you need to. (I left a little of mine hanging because I liked how it looked.)

If you want your shirt to have that trendy look of being a bit higher in the front than the back, turn the shirt sideways and cut the bottom diagonally down, starting at the front.

There! That was easy! Here is my finished result!


How Does it Look?

Let me know if you give it a try! If this one isn’t your style, there are plenty of other DIYs out there, some that require sewing and some that don’t. If you’re nervous, just do it with an old shirt you don’t care about first. You’ll see how easy it is to turn a t-shirt into a cute workout shirt! Good luck!

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