Refashion – Zip Back T-shirt with Tutorial

Today I have a very easy, fun and satisfying DIY refashion to share with you. If you've ever inserted a zipper, this will be a breeze for you. Yesterday, in my DIY Outfit post I shared my inspiration for this top as well as sewing patterns and fabric to make it all yourself. If you don't feel like starting from scratch, you can grab a striped t-shirt from your closet or the local thrift store. Read on for all the how-to details.


I had an old hand-me-down t-shirt that had become kind of stretched out over the years. It was just screaming to be made over. I found a colorful zipper in my stash and I was ready to go. By the way, I highly recommend having a zipper stash. Over the years I found some super cheap (as in 10 cents) zippers at thrift stores and snatched them up. It's so handy to have a box full at the ready.

Adding the zipper, takes in the shirt a couple of inches at the center back. It was perfect for this shirt, giving it just the right fit. If you're making your own or buying a new (or previously used) one, be aware, it will be a little smaller when you're done.

How to Refashion a Zip Back T-shirt

Supplies:
T-shirt
Zipper (about 24 inches long)
2 strips of interfacing (1 inch wide by length of shirt)

Step 1: Fold the t-shirt in half with the fold down the center back. Cut along the fold and finish the raw edges.

Step 2: Adhere interfacing strips to wrong side of cut edges. Fold cut edges to inside.

Step 3: Pin zipper to folded edges and stitch in place. Topstitch folded edge in place.

Design Tips:

  • To see more of the zipper, stitch the zipper on top of the right side of the shirt (instead of the inside as I did here). 
  • Use contrasting thread for added design details. You could even redo the topstitching along the hem or neckline to match the zipper.
  • A contrasting color zipper makes this shirt feel really special. Choose one in a neon color for extra fun.
  • Try adding zippers to other seams like the bottom side seam or the front of a raglan sweatshirt.







Here I've styled the shirt with some casual skinny jeans, a matching vintage bracelet and driving moccasins. It's a great t-shirt for weekend wear, casual but still interesting.

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DIY Lace Inset Tee

Yesterday I shared the inspiration and a brief how-to for making this lace inset tee. The design is inspired by the Lace Divide Tee from Anthropologie. I do realize that it's not an exact copy of the rtw but it's pretty close and very easy to make. To be more exact it would need a dip hem and lace hemming the front of the tee as well. Totally doable, I just wanted to fast track this project. I love how this turned out. It would be really easy to take an existing t-shirt and add godets of lace to the back or sides or even to the shoulders.


I had both of these fabrics already in my stash. It took about a yard of black knit and really just a scrap of lace. Putting it all together only took a few hours. It would have been faster if I hadn't kept cutting the neck binding too small. It was a situation of I didn't want to make it too big so I kept making it too small. Third time was the charm!

I love how this top turned out and plan on using lace again in the near future. Here I'm wearing the top with Articles of Society jeans and black flats, similar to these and these.

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Summer Sewing #7 – Red Striped Dress

Next up in my Summer Sewing adventure is the last item on the list – the red striped dress. This casual dress is great for summer. Plus, it was so easy to make. I'm sure I'll be wearing this all summer long and probably even making a few more.

I used the pattern I made for my self-drafted t-shirt to make this dress. The only adjustment I made was to lengthen the body and square off the hem. I love the contrast stripe of the neck binding. The fabric is a knit that I found at the bargain Michael Levine store a few weeks ago. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for my summer sewing and snatched it right up. Red stripe knit? Yes, please.


I really like the look of adding a belt to a dress like this. It helps accentuate the waist and breaks up the pattern. Here, I'm pairing the dress with a skinny woven belt (similar to this and this), a basket style purse (similar to this and this) and woven sandals (similar to these and these). This dress would look great dressed up with gold jewelry and a jacket too. It's so versatile and easy to wear I'm already sure it's going to be a favorite.

Check out the earlier posts in this series here:

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