I have needed some new gym clothes for awhile now. But I was pretty appalled by the prices. Considering I am going to sweat and be stinky in these garments why do I want to spend a mint on them?  Being the oldest of my siblings you might not expect me getting bags of unwanted clothing from my brother and sister,  but I happily do and often with little or no work I have a new to me wardrobe.

I recently left a family get together with a stack of unwanted t-shirts. I excitedly accepted them as I knew they would quickly become my work out clothes. I will show you a few ways to alter a t-shirt with little to no sewing involved.

Example A: The easiest transformation of removing the sleeves and neckline. I cut the sleeves off of this t-shirt inside the seam making the opening a little larger. I also cut the neckline off inside the seam as well. I did a couple quick locking stitches on my sewing machine to make sure the shoulder seams did not unravel with washing and wearing. Now I am ready for the gym in under 10 minutes!

*Note: for some reason I took finished photos in front of my amazingly messy desk. I wasn’t thinking at all! I need to redo them, but wanted to post this since it has been a draft for months. I went to add the photos today and was horrified!

Example B:

A long sleeved shirt isn’t going to make it in the gym with me,  so I started by first cutting the sleeves off inside the seam so it was discarded with the sleeve.

Hint: cutting sleeves into inch long rounds make great ties for your tomato plants or other plants that need tidied up in the garden.

I folded the t-shirt in half to even up where I cut the sleeves off. Next I started cutting the sides and the shoulders in one inch strips using my quilting square and rotary cutter. I prefer the rotary cutter over scissors because you never have to move the folded t-shirt so your alignment never moves and you can do both sides of the shirt at the same time.

Then I pulled the back of the t-shirt out of the fold and cut the front under the logo in one inch strips again in varying lengths so I made a triangle pattern on the front. I went over the cut seams with a quick locking stitch at the shoulders because over time the seam may unravel with wear and washing.

Example C:

I started with one xl women’s t-shirt. Using a cardboard t-shirt platen to keep the shirt flat, I drew my pattern out with a silver sharpie on the inside of the shirt. Wings, such a shocker for me. (<—sarcasm) I wasn’t very careful in my cutting. I just picked up the areas of the t-shirt that were being cut out and snipped away.2015-05-20-21-56-51

Notice how the pattern is only on one side. From here I folded I the t-shirt in half and traced the wings onto the other half. Once it was all traced I could snip out the second wing.


Once I had both wings cut out I also cut off the neckline and cut back the sleeves. Downside to this design is that everything is happening in the back. I am considering doing something with the front of the shirt. But the great thing is I can alter it at any time and it looks like I have a new shirt!

Example D:

First I cut the sleeves and neck line off. For this one I relied on good old Martha for the design. I had pinned a Halloween t-shirt remake of hers a while ago. You can find her tutorial here:


I wore this to the gym around Halloween with neon colored sports bra. I belong to a aerial  gym that is all ladies so there is no dress code and no hating. I am going to skip the details on making this one as why try to improve Martha? 2015-12-12 15.53.572015-12-12 15.54.43

As a side note, the ribs thin out with stretching,wearing, and washing as shown.  Martha’s are perfectly flat and wide in her photos so don’t be disappointed when yours does not look as perfect as Martha’s. She has some crafting magic going on in her photos and I wouldn’t be surprised if the t shirt are just huge or they were interfaced to keep them from changing with modeling.

This is the beginning of my t-shirt redo journey. Anyone have any other great revamped workout gear?