Colorblock Muscle Tee {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Upcycled: Colorblocked Muscle Tee

Today I’m going to share with you my first of many projects! I will be transforming two adult tees into a tank for my son – all for less than 25 cents.

But first, have you seen what upcycling can save you? And how you can get the most out of your material?
Colorblocked Muscle Tee {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

{Disclosure: These are not our patterns, and we don’t claim any rights to them. They are kindly offered for free by the pattern designers. The patterns and tutorials must be obtained at the pattern designers’ sites.}

Using Fishsticks Designs’ free Tank pattern, I mashed up two adult shirts to make this fun new one! The stumbling block I came across was that the graphic I wanted to keep from the original shirt was too close to the edge of the tank’s pattern piece. If I had cut up the original shirt, I would have sewed the graphic right into the seams, losing the look I was aiming for. Color blocking to the rescue! If you’ve ever had this same problem, read on to see how you can keep those fun (maybe even sentimental?) graphics from shirts past….

I snagged this long sleeve maroon shirt from my husband’s wardrobe long ago knowing Carpenter would love it one day. (Don’t worry, my husband gave me full permission!) And, today is the day!  I showed him the graphic on the back and he said, “Bam! Cars!” He is not one to shy away from crashing, smashing, and all sorts of collisions; this shirt fits him well. 🙂

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

You can see below that if I used only this maroon shirt, I would have cut right along the side of the graphic from the back of the shirt. And, I couldn’t move the pattern piece up, since there’s no more shirt to move to!

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Luckily, I had a matching shirt in my stash of clothes to upcycle (it might just be larger than my fabric stash, but who’s counting?). So, I decided the best solution was to color-block the two shirts. Instead of making a new pattern piece or printing off another one, I simply folded down the piece, making sure the pattern matched up on the fold (this will ensure that the angle is at 90 degrees, and your pattern pieces will be perfectly horizontal).

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}(This is the top half of the pattern piece used for my yellow shirt)

You’ll then have the other part of the pattern to be used for the maroon/graphic part of the shirt:Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

First, I took the top part of the pattern piece and laid it on my yellow shirt to be upcycled. You can see the pin on the right – that is marking the fold in my pattern piece. I will add a seam allowance of approximately 3/8″ (or 1 cm) below that pin.

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

The top of my tank all cut out – the pin still in place, marking the original pattern piece, and you can see where I added seam allowance all along the bottom. (I repeated this step for the front pattern piece of my tank.)

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Next, I prepared the bottom sections of my tank. (I’m showing you the front piece, but I did the same process for the back of the tank as well.) Using the bottom piece of my pattern, I placed it on top of my original shirt, making sure it did not cover up the details I was trying to save. I marked around the pattern piece with chalk to double check my work.

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}Looks good!

You’ll want to add the seam allowance to the top of this section of the shirt (as you’ll be sewing this piece and the top piece together). I, however, didn’t have any space to add a seam allowance, so I simply added some extra length to account for what I needed.

Now I have my main pieces cut out:

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}To complete the colorblocking, simply zig-zag stitch (width = .5, length = 2.5-3) or serge the top and bottom pieces to each other. Do this for both the front and back pieces. Then, you’ll have the front and back pieces just like in the original pattern.

For the neckband and armband, I love to use the ribbing from the original shirts. Since I have two shirts, there’s plenty of ribbing for both the armband and neckband. I like to cut as close as possible to the seam to get the ribbing off the neckline of the original shirt. You can save a little more fabric by seam ripping these necklines out, but, whew, it’s a job! Trust me, I’ve done it. It’s a whole lot simpler to just cut out, even if you do end up with a slightly skinnier piece of ribbing.Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Upcycled Colorblock Tank {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

From here, I followed the directions from the original pattern. Now my son has an awesome, unique, pocket tank. Thanks so much Bonnie for an awesome FREE tank pattern! Be sure to go check out the Tank pattern, available in sizes 12m-14!Colorblock Muscle Tee {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org{Colorblock Muscle Tee {Sew Thrifty | www.sewthrifty.org}

Here’s the breakdown:

Colorblocked Muscle Tee {Sew Thrifty | ww.sewthrifty.org}

And be sure to hop on over to Feather’s Flights to see her cap sleeve cardigan and cap sleeve tee!
Upcycled: Learn to Sew Your Kid's Wardrobe. A Series by Feather's Flights (feathersflights.com) and Sew Thrifty (sewthrifty.org)Have you upcycled any garments for your kids? Tag #upcycledkid on Instagram so we can see all the awesomeness you are creating! Or share a link in the comments.

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