Transform a plain T-shirt into a vision of elegance

Some occasions seem to defy anything you have in your closet. Should you dress up or keep it low-key? It can be downright frustrating not knowing what to wear, and nothing is worse than showing up in something you don't feel confident wearing. This simple sewing project will make sure you're always a vision of understated elegance, so that no matter the event, you can be positive that you're dressed the part. By simply adding some ribbons to cut out sleeves, you can look polished and be comfortable all at the same time.
Before beginning this project, note that T-shirts are made of knit fabric, which means that stitches are prone to bunching or even popping if sewed incorrectly. In other words, an improper stitch will make your new bow sleeves look decidedly less elegant. Luckily, there are a few ways you can get the perfect stitch for this project. Switching out the universal needle on your sewing machine for a ball point needle will help prevent tears or skipped stitches. A walking foot is also ideal because it feeds all the layers of the fabric through the machine at the same time, so you don't have to worry about the stretchy material bunching as you stitch it.
- Black V-neck T-shirt
- Black grosgrain ribbon, 1 inch wide
- Black thread
- Flat ruler
- Scissors
- Straight pins
- Sewing machine
- Ball point needle
- Walking foot
DIY Everywhere
1. Lay the shirt flat on the table.
2. Place the bottom edge of a flat ruler against the edge of the sleeve opening. Center the ruler by aligning it with the top shoulder seam.
3. Place a pin six inches above the edge of the sleeve opening to mark how long the slit will be. You may want to adjust the length for shorter or longer sleeves.
4. Cut from the bottom of the sleeve up to the pin. To make a triangle-shaped opening, measure and mark 1/4 inch on either side of the cut. Cut from the mark up to the center cut at the pin. Repeat for the other sleeve.
5. Fold over the edge of the cut, then fold over again and pin in place. Sew the pinned edge. Repeat for the other sleeve.
6. Lay grosgrain across the inside of the sleeve opening, leaving a 1-foot tail on either side before cutting. Cut another piece of grosgrain the same length.
7. Pin the grosgrain tie to the sleeve opening about 1-1.5 inches above the bottom of the sleeve edge. Repeat for the other sleeve.
8. Fold the edge of the tie twice and pin. Repeat for all four tie edges.
9. Sew the tie ends.
10. Sew the ties to the sleeves using a regular straight stitch. Remove the pins as you sew.
11. Tie a bow on each sleeve using the free ends of the ties.

Not only is this finished DIY incredibly cool, but the process looks oh-so-satisfyingly fun, too.
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