Crafty by Nature

Crafty by Nature

How to Make a No-Sew Braided-Strap Tank

comments (4) April 21st, 2009     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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This braided top is an easy spring project.
Heres the before...a ubiquitous T-shirt.
This is how to cut away the sleeves, forming the armholes.
This braided top is an easy spring project.

This braided top is an easy spring project.

Photo: Cal Patch

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!

You'll need:

  • A T-shirt that needs an update (one that fits or is a little bigger)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler and marking pen would be helpful

Here's the "before"... a ubiquitous T-shirt.

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.

This is how to cut away the sleeves, forming the armholes.

Slit open both sides along the folds.

Cut open the sides...

Now open up and refold the shirt so the front and back are separate as shown.

...then open up the shirt to cut the neck.

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.

Be sure to shape the strap so that it is an even width of about 2 inches.


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!

Here's the shape you're aiming for.

Now cut each strap into thirds as shown in the photo.

Slice into each strap from the fold at the shoulder, dividing it into thirds.

This is how the straps will look after cutting.

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.

Stretching the straps curls them up nicely.


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.

Pass the bulk of one half of the shirt back through the left-side space between the strips...

Then pass it through the right-side slit.

...then through the right side...

You will start to see the braid forming.

...and a braid will form.

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.

Here's the finished braided strap.


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.

Lace up the seam from the top down...

...and tie it at the bottom.

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.

The finished tank! The lacing echoes the braided straps.

Here's a close-up of the strap...

...and a back view...

...and a close-up of the laced sides.

posted in: , top, t-shirt, no-sew

Comments (4)

graciosas writes: Cute monster! I love that there is room inside the mouth to keep little treasures, great place to hide a diary.
Posted: 4:49 pm on March 18th
niranjana writes: very novel idea
Posted: 6:25 am on September 6th
multicrafty writes: I love this! Looks perfect for the humid weather!
Posted: 10:48 pm on June 21st
fanciflower writes: How neat is that, wowee! Thanks for sharing. jodi
Posted: 9:47 am on May 3rd
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