There's no doubt that t-shirts are a wardrobe staple for most of us. There's also no doubt that after a while, all those crew necks start getting boring. So, what do you do when your t-shirt collection starts losing its appeal? Hit the shops? Start flexing your spending muscle like there's no tomorrow? You could. Or you could just grab your scissors instead...
T-shirts are great, right? They're comfortable, they're causal when they want to be, chic when they need to be, and they can be worn with pretty much anything in your closet.
But after a while, there's no denying they can get a little... boring. A little... dull. When that happens, it's tempting to rip them up, turn them into dusters, and go on the mother of all spending sprees. But is it really necessary? Is it possible to inject some new life into an old t-shirt with a few well-placed cuts of the scissors?
It is, and best of all, it's probably a lot easier to do than you imagine.
How to Modify a T-shirt Neckline
Providing you own a t-shirt, a pair of scissors, and enough courage to slash through cotton, updating your wardrobe is a breeze. With a few simple adjustments to the neckline, you can create v-necks, color necks, scoop necks, off-the-shoulder necks... basically, any kind of neck you care to imagine.
If you want to add some new flair to your old t-shirts, here's what you need to know.
T-shirt Neckline Cutting Ideas
T-shirts are one of the most versatile garments around. Wear them with jeans, skirts, pants, shorts, over dresses, and under dresses. Layer them, crop them, tuck them in, untuck them... the list goes on. And that's not even to mention the variety of necklines available. V-neck, scoop, Bardot, off the shoulder, collar, crew... if a neckline has been invented, you can bet it's available on a t-shirt.
But what if the particular t-shirt you're dealing with doesn't have the kind of neckline you like? Can you modify it? You can, and more often than not, with very little effort.
When it comes to altering a t-shirt neckline, you have three basic techniques available to you:
- 1. Sewing - If you're handy with a needle and a yarn (or maybe just know your way around a sewing machine), sewing is a great way to make neat, tidy changes to the neckline of a t-shirt. If you're looking to add additional decorations or incorporate new pieces of material, this will be the best choice.
- 2. No Sew - Don't have a sewing needle to hand (or maybe just lack the desire to use one)? Don't worry. Altering a t-shirt neckline is a job that can be tackled with nothing more than a pair of scissors (some people have even been known to use a pizza cutter). The result may not be as neat as you'd get with sewing, but it'll still be attractive enough to pass muster.
- 3. Combination - The combination approach is exactly what it sounds like - a combination of the cutting technique you'd use in the no-sew method and the stitching technique you'd use in the sewing method.
Once you've decided whether you want to sew, cut, or do a little bit of both, it's time for the fun to start. We'll take a more in-depth look at some of the cutting techniques you can use shortly, but if you want to get going straight away, here are a few take-away ideas to get you started:
- Turn a crew neck into a v-neck. Simply measure around 8 inches down from the high point shoulder to mark the point of the V then start cutting.
- Transform a skin-tight t-shirt into an off-the-shoulder top by measuring around the front and back pieces before lopping the neckline off with a sharp pair of scissors.
- Get fancy with your cutting techniques and turn your t-shirt into a halter top. Be sure to fold the t-shirt in half vertically so you can measure out equal cutlines on both sides along the center front and back.
- Create a simple scoop neck by using a plate as a template and cutting a brand new neckline.
- Add some glam to your closet by creating a choker v-neck.
- Transform a boring t-shirt into a glamorous cold shoulder shirt with the addition of some simple cutouts at the shoulder.
- Change a crew neck into a universally flattering U neck by cutting out a neckline that's as wide at the base of the neck as it is at the neckline.
- Add some feminine appeal to your wardrobe by removing the original neckline of your t-shirt and adding a Bardot neckline instead.
- Bring the fun with a stylish 80's neckline - tassels and transfers optional!
- A boat neckline can be achieved simply and easily with a few strokes of the scissors. Cut just under the original collar from one shoulder to the other to achieve this pretty effect.
How to Cut a Scoop Neck
Crew neck t-shirts might be versatile and practical, but the collar can sometimes get irritating. If you want to do away with the irritation and breathe some new life in your t-shirt, why not turn it into a scoop neck with this easy method?
- Step 1 - Fold the t-shirt vertically, lay it on a flat surface and smooth the fabric out to remove any wrinkles.
- Step 2 - Measure around 1 inch below the bottom of the collar. If you want a bigger scoop, allow another inch. Once you decide where you want the new neckline to fall, mark it with a pin or a fabric pen.
- Step 3 - Start cutting in a curved line following the shape of the original neckline. Keep both layers of the shirt together as you cut to ensure an even neckline all the way around. Try to keep each cut as long as possible to prevent any jagged edges.
How to Cut a Choker V-neck
A choker v-neck looks great and is simple to achieve. All you'll need is a close-fitting t-shirt, a pair of scissors, and a fabric pen.
- Step 1 - Lay the t-shirt on a flat surface and smooth away any wrinkles.
- Step 2 - Use your fabric pen to draw a v-shape in the front layer of the shirt. Make a cutout, give the t-shirt a little stretch, and you're done!
How to Cut Neckline of T-shirt Simple
If you're looking for a simple, no-fuss way of upcycling your old t-shirt, cutting out the neckline will instantly transform it with a brand new look. For this next method, you'll need a plate, a pair of rotary cutters, and an iron. The rotary cutters will ensure a crisp, clean finish, but feel free to use scissors if you haven't got one to hand.
- Step 1 - Iron the t-shirt to flatten out the seams.
- Step 2 - Lay the t-shirt flat, front side facing out. Position your plate on the front of the shirt. The bottom edge of the plate will be where the new neckline will sit. Align the plate in the center to ensure an even scoop.
- Step 3 - Use your hand or a weight to hold the plate down. Run the rotary cutter along the edge of the plate using a firm, steady hand. As the rotary cutters will slice through the fabric cleanly, the edge will naturally roll into a hem of its own - no sewing required!
Cut T-shirt Neckline off Shoulder
Love the t-shirt but not the neckline? There's an easy fix - turn it into a cute little off-the-shoulder top.
If the t-shirt is of the tight, ribbed variety, the method is simple. Start by laying the t-shirt on a table, taking care to ensure the front and back are both as smooth and flat as possible. From there, use a measuring tape to measure 1 1/2 inches down from the right shoulder seam.
Repeat the process from the left shoulder seam. Connect the points with a smooth chalk line. Cut along the lines to create an easy, no-sew off-the-shoulder top. The ribbed nature of the shirt will keep things snug around the shoulders and stop any embarrassing slips when you come to wear it.
If your t-shirt is less tight and ribbed than it is big and baggy, you'll need to move on to our next method.
Other than a steady hand and an ounce of resourcefulness, you're going to need a t-shirt, a washable fabric pen or some tailor's chalk, a pair of sharp scissors, and a measuring tape. And, of course, a method...
How to Cut a v Neck T-shirt Into off the Shoulder
Ready to turn that boring crew neck into an off-the-shoulder top? Here's how to do it.
- Step 1 - Fold the t-shirt in half vertically. Make sure the shoulders and seams align as much as possible. Mark the fold at the center of the collar with a fabric pen or chalk.
- Step 2 - Use a measuring tape to measure from the base of your neck to an inch or two below your shoulder on the opposite side. If the number is uneven, round it down to the nearest even number then divide it in two. Make a note of the number.
- Step 3 - Lay the t-shirt flat. Line up the measuring tape so the tip of the tape is at the shoulder and the measurement you noted in step 2 is aligned with the mark you made on the neck in step 1. The side of the measuring tape should be touching the bottom hem of the current neckline.
- Step 4 - Use the scissors to make a small incision in the shoulder just outside the mark. Make sure to only cut through the front of the t-shirt.
- Step 5 - Cut a circular line from the snip you made in step 4 to the mark at the center of the neck. Cut along the shoulder side to remove that portion of the collar.
- Step 6 - Use the folded flap that you've just made as a template to cut out the other side of the collar.
- Step 7 - Lay the shirt flat and position the flap to one side. Cut the back of the neck in a straight line to finish.
How to Cut a T-shirt Into a v Neck
Adding a v-neck to a round neck t-shirt is one of the easiest alterations you can make, not to mention one of the most effective.
- Step 1 - Use a pair of sharp garment scissors to remove the collar directly underneath the seam.
- Step 2 - Work out just how deep you want the v-neck to run. If you've already got a favorite v-neck t-shirt, you can use it as a template. If not, try the t-shirt on in front of a mirror and use a washable fabric pen or a pin to mark the point of the V.
- Step 3 - Fold the t-shirt to be altered in half vertically. Take care to ensure the seams and shoulders are aligned. If you're using another t-shirt as a template, fold it in the same way, place it over the other t-shirt, and line them both up. Place a mark on the crew neck t-shirt that aligns to the V on the v-neck t-shirt.
- Step 4 - Shape the v-neck using a pair of scissors. Cut in a straight line from the V point to the high shoulder points of the t-shirt. Keep the cut as smooth and even as possible.
- Step 5 - Try the t-shirt on. If the neckline looks good, you're done. If needed, tidy up any jagged edges.
TIP: If you accidentally take the V a little too deep for comfort, don't panic. You might not be able to undo the cut, but you can still save the t-shirt with a few minor modifications, such as adding a button or two to reduce the gape or sewing a piece of ribbon to both sides of the neck that can then be tied into a bow to bring the V together.
Cut T-shirt Neckline 80s
Whether you rock the 1980's look 24/7 or just have a big '80's themed party coming up, inject some late 20th-century glam into your outfit by creating a customized '80s t-shirt. Start by grabbing a baggy t-shirt. The louder and brighter the color, the better (the '80s weren't exactly subtle, after all). Next, take your scissors and get cutting with the following method.
- Step 1 - Make a small snip around 1 to 2 inches from each shoulder seam. Use a tailor's chalk or washable pen to connect the snips with a curved line.
- Step 2 - Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut along the line. If you want to make things easier on yourself, cut through both sides of the fabric at the same time.
And that's it! If you want to dial the 80's style up a few more notches, you might want to...
- Cut the sleeves off following the seam of the shirt body to create a tank top.
- Cut the hem off the t-shirt to create a cropped look.
- Add a fringe to the hem by cutting tassels measuring a 1/2 inch wide and several inches long into the bottom of the t-shirt. Add some beads to the fringe to make it extra special.
- Add an iron-on transfer or even create your own design using fabric paints.