How to Make a No-Sew Braided-Strap Tankcomments (3) April 21st, 2009
I love sewing. But sometimes I also love Not Sewing. When I'm traveling and don't have my machine with me, I enjoy knowing I can still whip up a creation with just a pair of scissors. And for all who just haven't yet been bitten by the sewing bug, this one's for you!
- A T-shirt that needs an update (one that fits or is a little bigger)
- A ruler and marking pen would be helpful
1. Trim the tee: Fold the shirt in half down down the center front. Cut away the sleeves about 2 inches in from the armhole seam, and curve down to meet the bottom of the armhole.
Slit open both sides along the folds.
Now open up and refold the shirt so the front and back are separate as shown.
Cut the neckline into a low V in the front and a scoop in the back. You want the straps to have a consistent width (of about 2 inches) for as long as possible.
Also cut along the center back to open it up. Cut off the bottom hem if desired.
2. Open up the shirt and align the front and back. It's already a tank!
Now cut each strap into thirds as shown in the photo.
Note: If the shoulder seams seem weak now that you've cut the narrow strips, you might need to reinforce them with a few hand or machine stitches. I didn't do it for mine, but they seemed to be holding together. Stretch the straps so they'll curl up a bit.
3. Ready to braid? Lay the shirt out so that the back pieces are in front of you. Working on one half of the back, wad up the body and pass it through the left-side slit between the cut thirds.
Then pass it through the right-side slit.
You will start to see the braid forming.
Keep passing though, alternating left and right sides, until you can't braid any more. The braid might get kind of twisted and knotted, but don't sweat it.
4. Lace up the seams. Along each side of the center back seam, mark dots starting 1/2 inch down from the neckline and 2 inches apart. They should also be 1/2 inch from the cut edge. With sharp scissors, make tiny snips at each dot (the holes will stretch more than you think, so only cut them about 1/8 inch long). With your sleeve scraps, spiral-cut three long strips about 36 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Stretch them to curl them into strings, and use them to lace up the seam as you would a sneaker.
Repeat this process for each of the side seams.
And that's it! Just a few snips and ties and you've got a new shirt.