Saturday, June 19, 2010

old polo shirts find a new wearer

My four-year-old has been hurting for some nice collared shirts.  Active boys find a way to cake new t-shirts with dirt, food and other grime within days of purchase, so he really needs a few nicer shirts to wear to church and stuff.

Instead of starting from scratch, I decided to transform a couple of my old collared shirts.  I wore these to work when I was an operations manager.  These were men's shirts, so they were not at all flattering on me (which didn't matter in that job).  Now that I have an office job, I never wear them.  But they are in good condition despite the fact that they are both at least 10 years old.

It was late at night when I started transforming these, so I didn't take any BEFORE pictures. But this green shirt shows the approximate size difference before and after the transformation.

I made a pattern from one of Logan's only collared shirt.  It is a size 4 (not 4T) so it's still a little big, but I figured he could wear these for another year (barring any major growth spurts of course).

Because I didn't want to cut up the current polo, I didn't have a pattern for the sleeves.  So I just laid a sleeve from the current polo on top of the sleeve of the old polos and cut around it.  This didn't work out so well.  The sleeves that I cut were too small for the arm hole.

The mishap caused me a ton of grief on this gray polo (which is my favorite).  The knit material didn't stretch very much and I ended up with more shirt fabric than sleeve fabric and I had to rip the seams about 4 times before I got it all to work out.

The gray polo ended up slightly slimmer on him than was originally planned, but I really like that kind of look with shirts.  This one fits him better for his size now, but who knows how long he will be able to wear it.

The blue polo turned out a little bigger than I wanted it to.  I didn't add any seam allowances to my pattern, and I purposely didn't add any when I cut to try and make the fit a little tighter.  It's still a little big but he will be able to wear it for a while.

This one went together much more quickly (in less than an hour, but I think the bottom hem took me the longest).  I tried to cut the sleeves a little differently, but again I ended up with too much shirt and not enough sleeve.  This knit material, however, was much stretchier and I managed to ease the sleeve into the hole without any problems.

By the way, I'm not sure which way of attaching a sleeve gives a better look, if there even is a difference.  With these, I sewed up the sides of the shirt and then sewed up the bottom of the sleeve to make it circular.  Then I fit (not so easily) the circular sleeve into the arm hole and sewed around the circle. 

I thought this was the right way to do it, but then I found a few tutorials online that sew the top of the sleeve to the shirt before sewing the bottom of the sleeve or sides of the shirt.  Then the bottom of the sleeve and side of the shirt are sewn together in one continuous maneuver.  That sounds a lot easier, kind of like cheating, and I will try that with the next one.

I'm proud to hand down my clothes to the next generation but I'm even prouder that I could fill a need using my sewing skills without spending a penny.  Frustrations aside, I gained confidence in my transformations with this project and I am currently raid my and the hub's closet for more clothes to transform into little guy sizes.


  1. That second method of sewing in a sleeve may sound like cheating, but I can tell you from experience it is MUCH easier, and works just as well if not better! Nice shirts!!

  2. What a nice way to use up some old shirts ... I will have to see what I have to contribute! Nice job Michelle. They look great!!!