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Upcycle an Old Shirt

Oh let’s face it, it’s kind of a blah-old-lady shirt, so I decided to jazz it up!


Here is how I did it!

Yep, my least favorite thing is you gotta unsew; take the sides seams out of the shirt. I put my shirt on and decided where I would want the appearance of a waist. I opened the side seam 12 ½ inches on both sides of the shirt.

I wanted to leave room for a seam allowance to place the new lace insert, so I cut the shirt tail at 12 inches above the hem. I used the bottom of the shirt tail and marked a 12 inch line across the back of the inside of the shirt.

Next, I cut across the line and removed the lower back section.

Choosing My Lace

I found a lace in my stash that had some circles in it so I thought it would be a good look to go with the circles in the shirt fabric. I also noticed if I fuzzy cut my lace I could have diamonds at the bottom and not have to worry about a hem.

I cut my lace 15 inches in height (I wanted that hi/low look) and I cut it 1 ½ times wider than the piece I removed so I could have a slight gather. I marked the top center of the lace insert with a pencil.

Truth of all this, giving yourself a gather and extra length keeps you from having to make a perfect fit.

I went to my JUKI DX-2000QVP sewing machine and set a straight stitch with a length of 5.0 and using quick select button number 3 set my needle at ¼ inch. Placing my lace on the edge of my foot, I stitched a straight stich across the top of my lace so I could pull the loose thread and have a slight gather to my lace insert.

Next, placing wrong side together, noting the center of the shirt back and the marked center of the gathered lace edge, I lined up the gathered lace to what is now the cut bottom side of the shirt.

(Don’t forget, wrong sides together.)

Once I have my lace pinned in place gathered and fit, I returned to my sewing machine and basted the lace top to the shirt bottom using the long 5.0 stitch length. ** Remove pins as you approach your sewing foot. Never sew over pins.


Ready for that Professional Finish

Going to my Juki MO-2000 air thread serger, I set up a 4-thread overlock with a stitch width of 2.0 and serged the seam at the shirt tail and lace that I had basted with my sewing machine. Trimming just the edges with the knife for that clean professional finish.

Next, serge the side seams. Wrong sides together, serge the side seam of the shirt to the new lace insert. Stop just as you approach the bottom of the shirt tale.

Finish the lace. Remember, I left my lace longer than the original shirt tale.

To give myself a nice, clean finish on the exposed lace; I stopped before moving onto the lace only section and reset my serger.

Changing my stitch width to a setting of 1, I finished the seam keeping my lace next to the knife, this gave me a tight stitch that looks like lace edge

Hope you are inspired to update something old and give it a new life! I am still thinking about changing the sleeves, another post for another day.

Happy stitching, Karen

Feb 16, 2019