When I start this Knit T-Shirt with Dress Shirt Sleeves DIY project, I thought it would not take me more than 2 hours to do it. After all, I have the dress sleeves left over ready from another project. Chris’ he-doesn’t-want-it-anymore white V-neck T-shirt is also ready. So what’s hard about cutting off the sleeves off of the T-shirt and attach the dress shirt sleeves?
Well, it’s easy in concept. Koko Yamase’s instructions in the Cut-Up Couture: Edgy Upcycled Garments to Sew book is really easy to follow. The problem is of course, the execution. First off, make sure the T-shirt is washed beforehand, especially if the T-shirt is new. This is to prevent shrinking AFTER you are done with the sewing. Now with that in mind, let’s go over what I did from start to finish. I modified the project a little bit from the original Koko Yamase instructions: I used a V-neck T-shirt instead of crew-neck, and I did a hidden orange bias trim instead of gathered finish on the sleeves.
1. A pair of men’s dress shirt sleeves
Make sure you have complete men’s dress shirt sleeves for this project. Complete means the whole length starting from the arm hole to the cuffs. That way you can control the desired sleeve length better.
The prep for the sleeves is to make sure they both have the exact same length and same curve on the edges that will be connected to the knit T-shirt. Ironing both sleeves and laying them perfectly flat helps a great deal.
2. The men’s knit T-shirt
Basically, your goal is to create a new set of arm holes on your T-shirt for the dress shirt sleeves to fit in. First, I ironed the washed T-shirt to make my job easier. Then, I tried it on and marked a point on the shoulder area where you want your dress shirt sleeves to start showing. I personally marked 8 cm from the neckline, giving it a considerable distance from the neckline and chest area.
Then using the dress shirt sleeve’s curved edge, I made a quick pattern with a tracing paper. The tracing paper helped me find the second point below the arm pit area to mark, however as you see below, I had to retrace my pattern because the curves needed to be a smooth round curve and not a S-curve that I originally started with.
Once I got those two points figured out (with 1/4″ sewing allowance factored in), I cut the new arm holes on the knit T-shirt. From here, I put one arm hole with one dress sleeve right sides together, pinned them, and top stitched them.
When I was done with both sleeves, that’s when I knew the hardest part of this project is done over :)
3. Sleeves personalization
This is where I decided to go my own way instead of following Koko Yamase’s Kakkoii Couture Remake directions. I wanted a just-below-the-elbow sleeve length, so I cut just slightly longer than what I intended to account for the orange bias trim that I would use.
After making sure both sleeves are of the same length, I attached the orange bias trim and folded them inside so the contrasting color peeks from the inside of the sleeves.
And voila, this is the finished product!
With the washing, retracing, and sleeves personalization, it took me about 4 – 5 hours to do everything from start to finish. But then again, I’m really slow at sewing :) I’m honestly very happy on how this Knit T-Shirt with Dress Shirt Sleeves DIY turned out, and I learnt a little bit more about combining knit and woven fabric together.
Have you done knit and woven fabric combo DIY projects?
Thank you for reading, and until next time,