How to Alter a T-Shirt


Creating one-of-a-kind fashions using an ordinary T-shirt is easy as long as you are equipped with the right tools and a healthy dose of imagination. Boring, drab apparel can be given a new life with the help of iron-on transfers, ribbon, fabric paint, stencils, a razor blade and basic sewing skills. Inspiration can be found on the big screen, on the pages of the latest fashion or celebrity magazine, and in your own closet or dresser. T-shirts don't have to be new to be considered stylish or current. In fact, altering clothes that you already have is economically sound and environmentally friendly.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirts
  • Iron-on transfers
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric paint
  • Stencils
  • Razor blade
  • Sequins or studs
  • Bedazzler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric scraps
  • Decide which technique would work best with the T-shirt that you have available to you. Sketch out a design on paper before committing it to fabric. Gather the appropriate supplies and place them in one central location for easy access.

  • For new T-shirts, wash and dry them according to the instructions printed on their labels. This will prevent the apparel from shrinking after altering and embellishing them. Iron each shirt to remove wrinkles.

  • Lay the T-shirt out flat and use a stencil to help you come up with a design. If you would rather decorate the item by hand, use fabric paint to create a pattern. Allow the T-shirt enough time to dry before cutting it or adding other details to it.

  • Cut select areas of the shirt. Use the Bedazzler to add studs or rhinestones. Use colorful ribbon or embroidery thread to highlight areas or add flair.

  • Model your new attire in front of your friends and family members. Take orders from your loved ones and customize one-of-kind apparel to give to them as gifts.

Tips & Warnings

  • Arts and crafts store have aisles of T-shirt-making supplies to choose from. Take the time to see what your local store has to offer.
  • Thrift and dollar stores are great places to find inexpensive embellishments.
  • Revamping vintage duds may require more time due to the delicate nature of the fabric. Cut slowly and carefully to avoid destroying the garment completely.

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