Posted in DIY, This is real life.

Look, Ma! No Sewing!

During this crazy week of testing, I’ve had cast into the far reaches of my mind for entertainment (and it’s only Day One – this does not bode well for me).

So, of course, I’ve been having an internal debate over my clothes.

You see, there are two incredibly good reasons that I should update my summer wardrobe.

#1: I’ve dropped a little over 20 pounds since January. Hellooooo clothes I haven’t worn since my senior year of college…next stop – sophomore year.

#2: I have a sweeeeet new tattoo and only about 9 outfits that really show it off in all its glory.

Those are some eeeeexcellent reasons, if I do say so myself. But then we have to consider the other side. The dark side. And even though this side only has one reason, it’s an even better one than the others.

Cash money.

Creative Commons credit - stuartpilbrow

I don’t so much have a lot to spare these days. Who does?

No, really, know anyone? Because they should be my new shopping buddy.

Until you introduce me to your rich friends, I need a plan. What to do, what to do…and then this morning, right about as I was wishing that I had my own formula chart to figure out what percentage of my salary I spend on clothes each year, I had a brilliant idea.

Recently, I decided that I needed to box up a ton of my t-shirts until I found a non-expensive project to do with them. And yes, I’m all about making a t-shirt scarf (thanks, Pinterest), but it’s almost summer. I realized that if I could find a tutorial for a DIY shirt-scarf, I must be able to find a DIY halter tutorial.

My bored-out-of-my-skull brain leapt for joy at the prospect. It also started dreaming up how glamorous my shirts would look…and they could, except that I went the no-sew route this time. Besides, I wanted one to wear to the Rangers game tomorrow night.

I read up on the slacker ways to make a halter and decided that I needed to combine two techniques to make it work for both the shirts I wanted to use and my body type.

On my third shirt, I tried to take photos to enlighten you masses…and then forgot like halfway through. Whoops. But here’s how you get started.

Step 1: Pick a shirt. Any shirt will do, but I strongly suggest you use one that you won’t be upset if you ruin the first time around. Lay it out flat and whip out those scissors. The one below, if anyone cares to note, is my old Vagina Monologues shirt.

Step 2: Cut the sleeves away (I always do this based on the front-view) and take the collar out. Pretty much everyone advises cutting as close to the collar as possible at first. You can always cut more later…and if you know me, then you know I do.

Step 3: Next, you should ‘find the imaginary line’ that runs from the bottom of each armpit across to the other. I do this by laying the shirt on the edge of the table to make sure it’s straight.

 Here’s where it gets good…and of course where I stopped taking photos. I’ll update with them later if I remember.

Step 4: Go ahead and cut across JUST one side. Normally, that’s the back of the shirt, but if you’re like me and occasionally want to keep that back design, then you may reverse it. It’s your prerogative. Just don’t cut both, kay?

Step 5: Flip the now-cut top over and, starting from the shoulder seam, cut straight back through the flap, taking a rectangle out and leaving two wide straps.

Step 6: Narrow these straps as needed throughout the process. Some people leave them to make a big fluffy bow, but my ideal strap width is about 2 inches.

Step 7: Fold the almost-done halter in half, lining up the bottom of the arm holes so that you can see the “slope” of your shirt and find the center of both the back and front of the tee.

Step 8: **If your shirt already fits like a second skin, skip this step. If it’s loose, proceed.**  Pinch the fold in the back of the tee and cut 1 inch-wide strips all the way down the back. I make mine longer at the top and wider at the bottom for my body shape, but tailor it to your own form. By the end, there will be little knots all the way down your back, like so:

ALWAYS tie the top and bottom strips first, then work your way inward. It keeps things from bunching up too much on one end.

Step 9: Try your shirt on and tie the straps where it’s most comfortable. Note if they need to be trimmed thinner. Take a close look at where the neckline hits and make a mark in chalk or pencil…or better yet use a pin to indicate where you want the ‘V’ to hit. You can also make a scoop neck if your cutting skills are superior to mine. Take the halter off and fold it so that the crease runs down the middle of the front of the shirt again. Start cutting where that mark/pin is and keep your hands steady.

This step may take a few tries to get perfect…which is why I remind you to always cut less than you think you need to…you can always cut more, but you can’t put the fabric back. And it’ll get to where you want it to go eventually.

Step 10: Marvel in your skillz. It should look something like this or better:

I’m pretty proud of myself…as you can see in my ending photo. But I’m not so sure that ACU would approve of my alterations to their shirt. Ah, well.



We seek to learn, and when academics do not present the answers, we look inside our own beautiful imaginations for the key.

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