Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ruffled Shrug Re-purposed T-shirt

Hi and welcome to my brand spanking new blog. If I could have re-created it from an old blog that would have been even better since I'm going to attempt to make new stuff from old stuff and blog it here.

To kick things off, I've made this shrug for my granddaughter who recently broke her right arm (ow!) and there are no clothes that come with quick release sleeves to wrap around casts... at least not that I'm aware of.

Here's a photo of the finished project. Had I realized BEFORE I started making it that I would have this blog, I'd have taken lots more pics along the way to make a nifty tutorial.

Instead, I'll tell you how I made it and you can either figure it out on your own (it was simple) or wait for the second shrug with photos. I have to visit my granddaughter and make sure this one fits before I bother making another just yet...

Ruffled Split Sleeve Shrug

  1. Find a suitable T-shirt to transform. The one I used was my son's size 12 boys shirt that I am using to make a shrug to fit my size 7 granddaughter.
  2. Select a length for the finished shrug and cut across the shirt horizontally at this new hemline. Set extra cloth aside to use for ruffles.
  3. Cut up center front of shirt from hemline to neckline to create the 2 front panels of the shrug.
  4. Round off the 2 bottom center corners of the panels you just created.
  5. Take the extra material you just cut off the shirt and cut it apart at one of the side seams so it makes one big flat single-layer rectangle.
  6. Cut this into strips lengthwise of  1.5" or so each.
  7. Serge or zig-zag stitch the edge of the shirt starting at neckline, going down one side of front and continue until you have gone completely around shirt and back to neckline at top of other side of front.
  8. Sew your 1.5" strips together at ends to make one huge skinny strip of material.
  9. Starting at neckline, lay down your skinny strip, tucking a quarter inch under to make a finished edge at top neckline. Making sure outer edge of skinny strip stays even with shirt panel edge, start randomly bunching the material to form crazy pleats as you sew down the center of the strip. 
  10. Continue slowly going around shirt edge, sewing this ruffle down as you make the pleats at random. Stop with needle down just short of neckline (keep shirt in sewing position), trim off extra material so that you will have a small section to tuck under and make a finished edge on this side as well. Then continue to edge of neckline and finish off.
  11. Split sleeves from neckline to sleeve hem along top of sleeve.
  12. Use bias tape to make a channel to hold the ribbon drawstring. If you don't know how to sew bias tape, you can read this great tutorial about it here:
  13. Once the channels are made on both sides, hook a safety pin through the end of your ribbon before you cut it to length. Feed the safety pin in from hem end of the sleeve on one side and draw the ribbon up and out at neckline.
  14. WITHOUT CUTTING feed the ribbon back down the other channel of same sleeve from neckline to hemline.
  15. with sleeve flat (not gathered, make sure you have at least a couple inches of ribbon extending from the hemline of both sides and then cut off the ribbon roll.
  16. Repeat steps 11-15 for the second sleeve.
  17. Gather up the sleeves by pulling on ribbons, then tie into bows to keep them gathered.
OPTIONAL steps for making a rip away sleeve for a person who is wearing a cast and cannot get the shirt over their arm.

For the sleeve on the broken arm side, instead of looping the ribbon at neckline and continuing back down the other channel of the sleeve, only extend ribbon 1/2" past end of channel at neckline, make sure there is at lease a couple inches of ribbon extending out hem end of sleeve, and cut ribbon at neckline (leaving 1/2" to sew it down). Fold the 1/2" of ribbon at neckline back over the channel you drew it up through and tack it down by sewing back and forth a couple times over it.

Do the same thing for the other channel of that sleeve. Now you should have 2 channels on the sleeve that have ribbon going through the channel and extending out the hem of the sleeve while sewn securely at neckline.

Use a 1" strip of velcro and sew to inside of shirt at neckline so that the bias tape will be face to face with both pieces of velcro holding shirt together at neck. (see photo below).

And that's it!

Wish I had more photos for this tutorial, but when I make the next one (now that I know I'll be blogging it) I'll take lots of pics.

Happy crafting!


  1. Hey, I left a comment yesterday and it's not showing up, is everything -abled? :-)

    So I'll try again: This is SO CUTE! What a brilliant idea, I can't wait to see the next one. Tie dyed shrugs would be awesome

  2. I spend too much time on facebook ... I tried to like Cindy's post above. LOL :)

  3. Don't feel bad, I tried to like one of your earlier comments, too.


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