How to Restyle Two Tees into One with a Fancy Ruffle

comments (2) November 29th, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Here is my new and improved design—very Anthropologie!
This is a perfect top to wear under a sweater.
Here is my ruffle disaster top. Those two pink tees looked so innocent lying next to each other at the start...who knew?
Here is my new and improved design—very Anthropologie!

Here is my new and improved design—very Anthropologie!

Photo: Jen Stern
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Take your T-shirt to a new level by adding a ruffle down the front. Ruffles are tricky; they can be feminine or too froufrou for's a fine line. I like this look because it's pretty and slimming—the vertical rows of knit draw the eye away from the bustline (I'm sorry to report that my bustline has taken part in an expansion project without my consent). Anyway, I took two tees out of my summer stash and tried this twist on a standard tee shirt. I really thought they were going to work so well together...unfortuntately, by the time I was done, I realized that I had created something destined for an episode of What Not to Wear or "Where on earth did you find that thing?" I didn't want to give up on the idea, though, so I made up another one using a single color. I'm happy to report that I was pleased with the results! So, as you decide which two tees to use, keep my pink and darker pink choices in mind. Ideally, pick one tee that fits you well (to add the ruffle to) and one that's shrunk or ill fit to chop up to make the ruffle. I'm playing with my Tee pattern, which I constructed from a larger-than-I-can-wear tee (up to the point where you would take the ribbing off the neckline of a ready-to-wear tee). I was dying to try bias fabric in the center front piece, and I suspect that might be part of my problem. While it doesn't work well as a design idea, the bias woven fabric did work with the knit fabric when I was considering construction and fit...another tee, another day!

What you'll need:

  • Two T-shirts, either two of the same color or two that go with each other better than my pink ones!
  • Thread to match
  • Marking pen or chalk
  • Pins

Below are my two tees. The tee on the right is way too big for me, so I used my Tee pattern to cut out a slimmer shape to work with. The tee on the left is made of a lightweight knit that will make nice ruffles. When I was pulling stuff together to make this top, I found some lace pieces that I considered adding to the ruffle...I decided that they were a bit much. (I'll save them for a future project.)

Before pic of tees
Notice the nice topstitching detail. I made sure that I took advantage of the hem. It's a win-win because the color of the stitching matched the bias fabric I used to make my tee and the hem is already finished!

Cut apart the tee that you are going to use to make the ruffles. The sleeves make great ruffles because the shape of most sleeves has a nice variation in width that you can take advantage of when you're making your ruffles.

Use sleeves to make knit ruffles
You will probably need both sleeves to make enough ruffles to go down the front of your tee—I needed six.

Cut the sleeve into 5-inch segments.

Cut sleeve into 5 inch segments
Use the narrower segments at the top of the tee and the wider ones at the hem.

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Comments (2)

JenniferStern writes: Thanks Craft Crazy22 I like the idea of using the darker knit to finish the armholes. I think the batik threw it over the edge!
Posted: 11:39 am on December 8th
Craft_Crazy22 writes: I think you should finish the armholes just with some bias tape of similar color as the ruffles. It looks good short sleeved. And I don't think that the pink contrast is as bad as you think it is. What I do think though, is that the batik should've been something different. At first it looked like a darker lace. That would've been really pretty to have that extra detail. But with what you have going now, I'd definitely keep it sleeveless! so cute!
Posted: 9:15 pm on December 6th
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