Please note, this will reduce the overall size and fit of the shirt.
You will need:
- Exacto knife (scissors work too, but not as well)
- Approximately 3 yards of thin ribbon
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Your fave fitted t-shirt (optional)
- Page hole reinforcements OR marker
1. Turn the t-shirt inside out and lay flat facing up.
2. If you choose to do so, use your favorite fitted tee to measure the size you would like this shirt to be. Measure so that you are removing an even amount of fabric from both sides of the shirt (I measured in 1-inch on both sides because that is what lined up with my fave shirt, when the top shoulder lines were matched).
3. Line the ruler vertically along the right side of the shirt resting the top edge of the ruler under the armpit of the right side. Mark, with the page reinforcements or the marker, where u will make the holes. Remember to place your mark inward, as you measured in step 2, and to taper hole placement with the natural lines of the shirt. Each hole should be approximately 1/2 inch apart.
4. Measure & mark the left side of the shirt and then the right side of the shirt.
5. Stab holes in each place designated with the exacto knife piercing through both the front and back of the shirt carefully. If you dont have an exacto, u can use scissors, however it is harder to ensure the cuts are lined up on the front and back You could try a kitchen knife, but Im not sure how that would work.
6. Cut up along the right and left sides of the shirt from the bottom and stopping a 1/4 inch from the armpit.
7. Cut the extra fabric off each side, but again, be certain that you follow the taper of the shirt and do not cut the holes you just made.
8. Take the ribbon and measure the length of the shirt from the armpit to the bottom edge of the shirt. Double that and then cut that full length off.
9. At the armpit of the shirt, weave the end of each side of the ribbon into a front hole and back hole, respectively (as if initially lacing a shoe)
10. Proceed down the side of the shirt, weaving in and out left and right as you would lace a shoe. When you get to the bottom, tie a bow as a place holder. DO NOT TIE INTO A KNOT yet.
11. Repeat steps 5 through 10 on the other side of the shirt.
12. Remove page reinforces, if used. Turn the shirt right side out and untie bows. Pull down so the ribbon is snug on both sides and ensure your work is well-done (no missed holes or criss-crossed the wrong way.) If you are pleased tie back into a tight bow on each side and try on the shirt.
13. Measure where you want the bottom of the shirt to fall, the back and neck lines, and sleeves.
14. Take the shirt off and makes cuts accordingly. Cut conservatively you can always cut more as needed. If you are trying to preserve printing on either side of the shirt, I caution you to cut the neck and back lines separately measure, mark and cut carefully. When cutting the sleeves, be sure to leave a wide band for the top seam, so the shirt does not fall apart. (You can slim it later with ribbon.)
15. Try on the shirt again to ensure you like the cuts and fit. Make adjustments if needed and try on. Repeat as necessary.
16. Once it is perfect, untie bows on each side and tie into triple knots, cut excess ribbon off.
17. Use excess ribbon to slim tank straps and camouflage unsightly top seams, if you created a tank. Fashion preferences may vary with use of ribbon detail here.