Last weekend, I swung by Generation Records and skimmed their heaping collection of band shirts. Although the majority of the shirts they carry are for hardcore and metal bands, I managed to find a Beach House shirt from within the racks. The only problem with it? It is (or should I say, was) a big baggy black t-shirt. Wearing a big baggy black t-shirt in boiling 100-degree New York City summer weather is a sure-fire way to reduce yourself to a puddle of sweat. I bought the shirt anyways, knowing that Youtube is an oasis of DIY videos, especially for cutting up shirts like my newly acquired Beach House one. Using Youtube user kissndMAKEUP’s video as a guide, I successfully turned my shirt into a comfy, more weather-appropriate racerback tank that’s one-of-a-kind–no sewing required! Here’s how I did it:
First things first–cut the sleeves off. I ventured about an inch lower than where the actual seam of the sleeve ended. Use the first sleeve you cut off as a template for the other sleeve to make sure the two are cut evenly. Don’t throw them out just yet! You’ll need them later on.
Next, cut off the collar. Make sure the back is cut as low as the front is. This will make the next step a little bit easier.
Flip the shirt over and cut the back (and only the back!) into the shape of a “V.” I found it helpful to dab a puny blob of lightly colored nail polish where I wanted the point of the “V” to be so that it wasn’t crooked. Cut it as high or as low as your heart desires, depending on how much of your back you want exposed. Be careful not to cut too low, initially, because sadly, there’s no undo button for that. I was adventurous with mine and cut it about an inch, give or take, lower than the arm holes.
Cut the end of the sleeve off where the seam is so you’re left with a thick strip of fabric. Gently pull the fabric strip to stretch it out.
Take the fabric strip you just cut off the sleeve, lace it underneath the “V” cut, double knot it tightly, and cut the excess off. Make sure it’s not tied too low, so that a little keyhole will be formed in the back. Once you’ve done this, you might want to trim the neckline wider so that the straps are a little thinner.
As a finishing touch, I made a little slit in the front of the t-shirt’s neckline. Though it might seem weird, this little detail makes the t-shirt lay nicely when you have it on. And you’re done! Pair it with a bright colored bandeau or tank, or wear it to the beach over your bathing suit. Cutting up t-shirts is never not a nerve-wracking experience, but the payoff is oh so worth it.