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Super Cute T-shirt Surgery Tutorial

Apr 29, 2010 by

A few months ago a reader wrote in and asked me to write a t-shirt surgery tutorial.

If you haven’t head of t-shirt surgery it’s basically when you take a plain old t-shirt and you make it into something cooler and more fashionable. There is a community for it here where you can see some fantastic examples.

So anyway when I got the request I didn’t think it was something I would do because I don’t wear t-shirts often… but it stayed in my mind for ages and I kept thinking about it more and more until I had an idea :D When we were in Singapore for the Nuffnang Awards, Nuffnang Australia was lovely enough to give us all shirts. Mine had the slogan “I’m famous (in the blogosphere)” hahaha! I thought it was awesome but they only had large sizes so since then I’ve used it to sleep in… but no more!

Making this…

T-Shirt Surgery

From this….

T-Shirt Surgery

Into this….

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  • http://www.superkawaiimama.com.au Super Kawaii Mama

    Great! I have to admit I don’t wear mine either, but had been thinking of T-shirt surgury as a salavge option. I’ll be interested to see how well it stands up to washing, whether the bow bits might need roll hemming or are okay as is. Looking forward to seeing it with the flowers too. :)

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      It was such a cute idea but for girls like us who don’t wear t-shirts not so much ^_^ Depending on the type of shirt fabric the bows shouldn’t need to be hemmed at all, I think that’s what makes t-shirt surgery so great, very little effort! That said I don’t think I would do this again… because I don’t have any other shirts XD As soon as I get to the next house I will definitely be replacing all of the hand stitching with the machine though!

      • http://www.superkawaiimama.com.au Super Kawaii Mama

        That’s great. Perhaps we need to set up a t-shirt exchange so those of us that never wear them can exchange them with those who never wear blouses! I still have a number of t-shirts hanging around looking for a new home, several still with tags on. :)

        • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

          Haha that sounds like a good idea! Bring on the blouses :D

  • http://www.sherlyn-c.blogspot.com kiwi

    I think your t-shirt surgery project is AWESOME. I’m so going to try it after my exams are over. T_T

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :D Thank you Kiwi! Oh do let me know if you try it!

  • http://petiteberri.blogspot.com Petite-Berri

    That is such a cute idea!! I really love the bows. If I could only find a shirt that only had a saying at the top…. Hmm, what would you do if your shirt had a logo in the middle? I was thinking of maybe doing a bow above and below the logo, but I wonder how that would look, aha!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Yeah I would probably just put the bow above the logo and have it form part of the bust line ^_^ I’m sure it would be adorable!

  • http://bonjour-glow.blogspot.com Glo-w

    Lovely^^ espacially the bows. but i dun wear T-shirts either ;p

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha it seems like everyone is half and half on tshirts!

  • Kari

    Ooo pretty ^.^ The bows down the front is really creative! I think you’ve inspired me to dig into my pile of t-shirts I don’t wear anymore because I had a wardrobe changeover, but I still hang onto because they had cute pictures/slogans on them XD I’m sure they’ll be nowhere near as cool as your design though! The double layering is such a cute idea <3

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Heehee thank you ^_^ Ah wardrobe change overs can create chaos! I’m the same though, I still hold on to my old Green Day tshirt from back in the way haha!

  • http://www.nessbow.webs.com nessbow

    That is so gorgeous! So far my t-shirt surgery attempts have consisted of chopping off sleeves and widening necklines. This was very impressive!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Thanks Ness! I’ve never tried anything like this before but I now I can definitely see the benefit of changing the necklines now, it makes so much difference :D

  • http://thehungryasian.blogspot.com/ Kae

    That is so cute! I wish I knew how to sew lol.

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      It’s much easier than it looks! You should give it a try with something simple first then get more adventurous :D

  • http://www.ladyironchef.com ladyironchef – Singapore Food Blog

    wow this is cool stuff (even though i can’t use it! lol) must have taken you a lot of time to do and take photos of it! but yay to more tutorials :)

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha I can’t imagine you wearing something like this :P Thank you for your lovely comment, I think it takes another blogger to recognize how long things like this take to photograph and write ^_^ Definitely more tutorials on the way!

  • Lauren

    As much as I love your new shirt, your hat is really catching my eye, is it a jazzed up pork pie hat? Because it looks freeking adorable. I really need to search for a nice hat that suits me and pretty-it-up. It took me a long time just to find sunglasses that suit let alone a hat ;P Slip slop slap kids!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      I love the hat too! It’s actually a bastardized version of an old sun hat that I found for $2 at an op shop, don’t worry tutorial is definitely on the way :D I am a big slip slop slap fan too, the sun is not my friend!

      • Lauren

        Me too, It’s hard for me to tan, I just BURN! The Aussie sun can be so harsh ;_; I’ll have to keep my eyes out for a nice hat. I’m running low on ribbon from all the crafting I’m doing lol!

        • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

          Yes!! I hate the Aus sun, it’s very unforgiving :( I’m going to post the hat tutorial this week hopefully so you’ll know what sort to buy! Yay for crafting!

  • http://www.thefashionatetraveller.blogspot.com trashtastika

    I’m like you and don’t like t-shirts (except to run in) – and my Nuffnang one, I also only sleep in! What a fab idea..the bows and puffed sleeves and being shaped make it something I WOULD wear. Awesome, once again :)

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Sorry to bump the cherries post but I was too excited about this haha :P Hurrah for making things useful!

      • http://www.thefashionatetraveller.blogspot.com trashtastika

        It’s your blog, sweetie, so you do things in any order you like! I’ll be here reading, whenever :)

        • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

          Aww you are sweet! And I’m just finishing off the post now :D

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  • http://jin-lim.blogspot.com Jin

    Amazing! I hardly wear T-Shirts when I go out. But would totally wear it after the ‘surgery’ you’ve given it. You’re so creative!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :D Thanks Jin! I love the way it turned out because it’s still as comfortable as a normal t shirt but I don’t feel under dressed when I wear it out!

  • Sarah

    I might just have to but an Iron-Man t-shirt to chop up and sew ribbons to now…? Thanks for making t-shirts cute again! XD

    • Sarah

      *by “but”, I of course meant “buy” (TnT)

      • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

        XD I am having the same “tired fingers syndrome” tonight haha!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Haha I would love to see this on an Iron Man shirt!

  • Nachos

    That’s gorgeous (the whole outfit)! I especially love the shoes!!!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      :D Thank you very much, those are my favorite shoes!

  • http://www.bittenbefore.com/tokyolife yumeko

    u did fabulously
    those are really cute!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Thanks so much Yumeko!

  • http://dweam.com dweam

    You are too brilliant. You need to make one for me like this when I go over to Australia! <3

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Hell yeah I will! I’ll find the tackiest “Australian tourist” shirt I can find and cute it up :D

  • http://discountedlunch.blogspot.com Karla

    How you redid the neckline was absolutely brilliant! And the sleeves were a nice touch too.

    P.S. Your bangs look super cute!

    • http://www.bluecranedesign.net Violet

      Oh thank you so much Karla! I really love the neckline now, it’s much more flattering ^_^ Haha I’m having an argument with my bangs at the moment, they keep poking me in the eyes but I’m too lazy to cut them *_*

  • http://www.theprintbar.com Jared

    This is such a great idea for making unique custom t shirts! We usually just print another design over the top, after laying a layer of white ink down over the last print to create something new. Can’t wait to use some of these t shirt surgery techniques on our custom tee’s.

  • http://yokaiakito.blogspot.com/ YokaiAkito

    I love your tutorial! I’m an avid wearer of t-shirts, and I love to deconstruct them! Though, I feel sad for you “Emily the Strange” shirt! XP

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Haha I’m not an Emily fan so I didn’t mind so much XD

  • http://notpunblishedyet Reagan Y.

    soooooooooooooooooo cute your my idol now omg

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww you are too sweet!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      Aww you’re too sweet!

  • Bunny

    Ahh its so cute. I’ll definatly be doing this on some of my old tees when i get the time.You should definatly to some more of them. Like maybe something on over-sized shirts or some with long sleeves.

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      That sounds like a lot of fun to me!

  • http://artmathart.blogspot.com MNR

    So cute. Thanks for posting this. I feel I want to make a lolita shirt along these lines.

    Has it worn down over multiple washings?

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      No worries :) Yep, it’s worn well, I only wear it to certain events but it’s still going strong years later.

  • Sasha

    Ha! This is perfect! I’ve been looking for something to do with a bunch of old T-shirts that are too big for me now and I love girly cloths. T-shirts just aren’t girly, but this one is! Thank you, so much!

    • http://www.violetlebeaux.com Violet

      I’m really glad to help!