That feminine touch: Revive an old T-shirt by adding lace to the back

It can be tempting to toss out old T-shirts when decluttering closets, but with this feminine sewing project, you can transform a plain white shirt from stale to stunning. Lace, a hallmark of femininity, adds whimsy without coming off as stuffy. Adding an open back also turns this into a summery top that keeps you cool while still looking classy. All in all, this upcycling project brings ladylike charm to your wardrobe and keeps old T-shirts out of the landfill.
Sewing women's T-shirts can be tricky because of their stretchiness, but there are a few tips to keeping this project stress-free. First, exercise patience during each step to make sure your shirt comes out looking polished and professional. Use a ballpoint needle and walking foot on your sewing machine for stitches that lay flat and don't tear over time. Finally, if your shirt is small or if you know you'll stretch it, sew with a zigzag stitch to prevent the new hem from popping while you wear it. Otherwise, you can use a regular straight stitch for this project.
- White V-neck t-shirt
- White lace ribbon, 2 inches wide
- Rotary mat, 17 by 17 inches
- Rotary cutter
- Straight ruler
- Fabric pencil
- Ballpoint needle
- Walking foot
- White thread
DIY Everywhere
1. Turn over the shirt so the back is facing up and smooth out the T-shirt.
2. Slide the rotary mat inside the T-shirt via the bottom. Move the mat up until it reaches the upper shoulder seams. Smooth out the shirt over the mat, as if you were hanging the shirt on a clothes hanger.
3. Place the ruler vertically against the bottom seam of the collar, centering the ruler so it is at the middle of the collar. Place a mark 8 inches down on the shirt.
4. Move the ruler at a slight diagonal about 2 inches to the left. Place another mark 8 inches down the shirt. Repeat for the right side of the shirt.
5. Using the fabric pencil, draw a U-shaped line on the back of the shirt. Start where the upper shoulder seam meets the collar, then draw straight down. Curve the line to connect the three marks made in step 4 and 5. Finish the top of the U on the other side of the collar where it meets the second shoulder seam.
6. Cut the U-shaped line with the rotary cutter, then cut where the back of the shirt meets the seam of the collar. Leave the shirt attached at the corners where the collar meets the shoulder seams.
7. Remove the rotary mat. Use a pair of fabric scissors to cut the corners next to the shoulder seams. Cut off any loose threads or rough edges.
8. Place one edge of the ribbon in the upper left corner of the cut-out area. Pin the edge in place, then lay the ribbon diagonally across the cut-out area to the bottom right edge. Pin again, then cut the ribbon about 1/2 inch past the edge of the cut-out.
9. Cut a second piece of ribbon that is the same length as the first.
10. Fold the raw edge of the cut-out by about 1/4 inch, and pin it in place. Sew a new hem around the cut-out using a ballpoint needle and walking foot.
11. Lay the strips of ribbon in an X-shape across the back. Pin each edge to the inside of the shirt.
12. Line up the needle with the stitch you sewed in step 10, then sew the ribbon to the shirt.
13. Trim any excess ribbon, and loose thread from the shirt.