Update An Old Shirt In 3 Easy Ways

Updating and upgrading your old shirts and blouses

Before you throw out an old shirt, think about if you could update it to give it a new lease of life; both reducing wastage and personalising your garment; win win! This is an excellent project for beginners and sewists who only have limited time to spend on their sewing machine but want to get a big usable result with minimal fuss, preparation, and materials.

Here are 3 quick and simple ways to update a shirt:

  1. Upgrade your shirt buttons

  2. Add rows of stitches to the collar, pockets or cuffs

  3. Change or add pockets with contrasting/complimentary fabric

Watch my free tutorial below to get you started:

Project notes

You will need: sewing machine and/or hand sewing needles, thread, buttons/beads/fabric scraps, general sewing kit.

Upgrading buttons: Measure the existing buttons and find some new ones of the same circumference. Remove the old buttons with a seam ripper and attach the new ones with a hand sewing needle.

Adding rows of stitches: Use either a sewing machine (much quicker!) or hand sewing needle to add rows of different coloured stitches to the collar, pockets and cuffs. Sew rows approx 3mm apart and aim to keep them the same distance apart (use a disappearing fabric pencil to draw guidelines if needed).

Pockets: Either add pockets from scratch or change them, using a contrasting or complimentary fabric. Draw your pocket shape out, ensuring you add extra for seam and hem allowance. Hem the top of the pocket, fold (and press if applicable) under the seam allowance, pin in place and sew to attach.

Emma CruickshankComment