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From Tee to V

T-shirts are great for so many reasons – they are comfy, casual, easy to wear and easy to transform. This post doesn’t cover a dramatic transformation, but I have recently been asked to alter a basic tee neckline to a V-neck and thought I’d give you a step-by-step tutorial for this popular and simple alteration.

Here is the Tee in question:

Basic crew neck, with ribbing. Basic, but not very feminine or attractive. So the first step is to get rid of this ribbing. I do this by snipping into the center back just below the stitching on the neckline. Then follow the stitching line around to just past the shoulder seams.

Then, lining up the shoulder seams, I fold the shirt front in half. You won’t get the shirt completely flat, but just make sure the neckline ribbing matches and the fabric below it for a few inches is smooth. Since the t-shirt I’m using has a front logo, I am using this as the point at which the V will stop. (If your shirt is plain, try it on first and mark with a pin or marker the point at which you want your V to stop.) Draw up from that marking to join the shoulder where you stopped cutting.

Cut through both layers down to the V.

Your original ribbed neckline is now removed and you are ready to re-finish your new V neckline.

There are a few choices for finishing your new neckline. If you are lucky enough to find matching new ribbing, you can use that to obtain an authentic finish. I have found that bias tape is a stable and acceptable alternative. Opening one side of the bias tape flat, I start pinning it to the outside, center back of the t-shirt.

Pin all the way around and when you get back to the center back, cut the bias tape about 1″-1 1/2″ longer than necessary to meet the beginning of the tape’s raw edge. Fold the end over itself about 1/2 an inch, lift the beginning of the tape and place the folded end underneath.

Pin through all layers.

Sew all the way around, starting at center back, back stitching at start & finish.  Remove Pins.

Fold the bias tape to the inside of the shirt, bringing about 1/8″ of the shirt fabric with it, just to be safe. Pin all the way around, snipping the V to the first line of stitching before pinning & sewing.

Press neckline & there it is – you have a much better, less choking, V-neck tee!

What do you think? Is this something you’ve done or think you might try now that you’ve seen how easy it is? The same thing can be done to sleeves – cut off and finished to be a tank top. The possibilities are endless with altering t-shirts so I hope this gets you started!

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Plush Car Seat Strap Covers

One of the things I made for Mr. T before he was born were some ever-so-manly car seat strap covers made from camouflaged flannel (HECK if I can find a picture of them!). Well, seeing as how now we’re having a girl, I had some minky scraps just begging to be made into some ever-so-soft-and-girly car seat strap covers! I took pictures during the process so you can see how fast and easy they are to make for yourself!

What you need are four 7″ squares of fabric, two 7″ squares of quilt batting, double fold bias tape and two 5″ strips of Velcro:

You start by making two sandwiches, with one piece of fabric face down, the quilt batting in between, topped with another piece of fabric face up:

Pin layers together and then measure 2 1/4″ in from each side. Mark with a pen, or in my case, pins. (Note: if you use pins, be sure to remove each one just as you sew to it. This means you are essentially eyeballing it with some guidance.)

You may or may not notice that my pin heads are in opposite directions. I sewed the layers together one direction, turned and then sewed the other way. Minky, especially, is so slippery, it helps to go two different directions in an effort to keep the layers even. If you’re not lazy, like me, this would be a good time to use your walking foot and then you wouldn’t have to worry about direction, but alas…

Sew down those lines and then come back to your cutting board to round the corners. I just used my sewing needle packet. You could use a pill bottle, small glass, spool of thread – whatever’s handy.

Note: If you've never used Minky, it sheds terribly - be prepared to find it EVERYWHERE once you finish your project!

Completely open the narrow edge of your bias tape, aligning the raw edge with the edge of your strap covers, and start stitching in the fold all the way around the strap cover:

For some reason, my hot pink bias tape is showing up more red in the photos!

Overlap slightly, sew together or use your favorite method for joining the ends of the bias tape, then turn to the other side and stitch in place:

It might be helpful to pin the bias tape in place before sewing...there I go being lazy again!

Fold the cover on the sewn, vertical lines to see which way you’d prefer the straps velcro together. I chose the side I just finished stitching the bias tape to to be the outside and then chose the edge with my bias tape seam to fold in first so it would be hidden by the other side folding over it. Center and place the velcro strips near the edge so that the corners almost touch the bias tape and stitch in place:

Warning: Don't stitch folded as shown in picture! In this case, I am using my presser foot as a holder and showing you how the hook velcro relates to the loop piece. 🙂

And there you have it! Cute, plush, girly car seat strap covers cut & sewn (with pictures taken in between) in about an hour!