Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Make an Anthropologie Inspired Tee with Adventures in Dressmaking

Fellow beautifiers, I'm actually at my church's Girl's Camp this week!! No internet. No showers. No cell phone service. Oh my. But the good news is that at Girl's Camp I was put in charge of crafts...imagine that! :) Hence my lack of creative posts lately. Let's just say that I have cut out more fabric circles that I care to tell you. We're making fabric flowers and I thought it would be easier if the fabric was pre-cut. ANY way... when I get back I will share with you the tutorials from all of the cute projects I have for the girls.

In my place, I have a few guest posters lined up to rock your creative world. Today, I'd like to welcome, Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking to The How-To Gal! Suzannah inspires me on a daily basis. She actually MAKES me want to learn how to properly sew...and believe me, THAT is a huge feat.


Hello, readers at The How-To Gal!

My name is Suzannah, and I blog at Adventures in Dressmaking, where I share my sewing, crafty, and home decor projects almost daily! Anna Rose asked me to do a guest post today and I'm so happy to be sharing with you this fun tutorial for an easy tee makeover--anyone with very beginning sewing skills can do this and it's a great way to make over a tired tee shirt from your closet and use up old fabric scraps!

I am always thinking about ways to makeover tees and tanks into something fun and new. This upcycling project was inspired by this type of top from Anthropologie:

I did a similar project here last January but today I'm happy to offer a tutorial of how you can do this yourself, using fabric scraps you have around!

So: How-To make a tee like this for yourself:

  • Start with a tee or wide-strapped tank you already have. I bought this one at Goodwill Outlet a while ago (Gap, nice neckline, basic style) but I have been so not into black recently I haven't worn it in ages! I thought it would be a lot more fun with some fabric embellishment.

  • Next, dig through your scrap fabric drawer (or box, or shelf, or... bag?) and pull out some fabrics that coordinate or look good with your tee. I went for the black family on this one.

Hold them up to your tee and see which one (or ones) you think looks best.

  • Cut your fabric of choice into logical shapes (I went with the rough flower-type splooshes on my ikat-inspired bright print) and arrange them on your tee. The inspiration shirts from Anthro all have trim near the neckline, but you can do whatever you want. Just put them in the approximate place. *Note: if you're using a very fine knit tee, you may want to add iron-on interfacing on the inside of the tee where the stitching will go to secure the decorative fabric pieces.*

  • I recommend you cut down the fabric pieces to echo the curve of the neckline. Doesn't have to be perfect, but rather than straight edges the pieces should have curves.

  • Now, pull out your spray adhesive if you have it and one by one, lift up each piece, spray the back, and adhere it back in place. You are welcome to use pins instead, but if your fabric is at all smooth or shiny there may not be much friction and I know it would drive me crazy, getting them to stay in place.

  • To the machine! If you don't have a machine you could certainly do this by hand, but I actually really like the look of the machine stitching for this type of sort of abstract embellishment. I chose to use a contrast thread color, bright yellow, since the print fabric isn't all one one color anyway, so black wouldn't necessarily look good on the entire trim piecing. Stitch with 1/8"-1/4" distance from the raw edge of your fabric, going all the way around. There's lots of picking up the presser foot and turning the garment to go around all the curves!

  • Now finish the top edge by the neckline. I thought it would be fun to do a zig-zag instead of a straight stitch here. You can try things out and mix it up, too! Some of the inspiration tees have even more detailing, so you could add some beading, decorative stitching, or other fabrics layered on top.

  • Wear and enjoy!


Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun trying it at home! For more simple clothing makeovers and tutorials, check out my blog, Adventures in Dressmaking. Hope to see you there!


  1. Wow, if you're interested great ideas for using scraps, check out Mary Adams' new book, The Party Dress Book, available November 9th.
    NOBODY uses scraps like Mary Adams. Her dresses and skirts are amazing!

  2. Niceeeeeee!! Iam glad I found this!! Thank-youuuuuuuu!!!!

  3. This is gorgeous!! I found your blog by chance this morning and its awesome! Thanks for the tutorial. haberdashery


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