DIY Contrast-Sleeve Tee

Recycle old clothing to make stylish new pieces like this contrast-sleeve tee.

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courtesy of C&T Publishing Inc

In DIY Wardrobe Makeovers (C&T Publishing Inc, 2015) Suzannah Hamlin Stanley takes you through step-by-step instructions to design beautiful, stylish, and exciting clothing.  Learn how to redesign and remake old pieces to new favorites such as this contrast-sleeve tee shown below.


woman standing in front of a mural wearing a yellow shirt under a vest with striped sleeves

I like the trend of contrasting sleeves, but I’d much rather remake tees I already have than buy new ones. This project is an easy way to transform a basic, boring, short-sleeved crewneck tee into something way more fun. Try this with two loose tees, two light-weight tees, or two stretch tees for different looks and silhouettes. What a clever way to salvage a tee with a great texture or color when part of it gets stained or damaged!

a black and white striped shirt folded in half next to a yellow shirt folded in half placed next to each other

You Will Need:

• Two tees, same size and fit
• Standard sewing supplies
• Walking foot (recommended)

folded yellow shirt and folded black and white striped shirt laying on top of one another

Get It Done

1. On both tees, carefully cut away the sleeves, leaving the serged seam allowances on the body side of the tee.

person using scissors to cut the sleeve off of a black and white shirt

person using scissors to cut the sleeve off of a yellow shirt

2. Matching the shoulder seams and underside seams of the sleeve and armhole, pin together the right sides, turning the tee inside out and keeping the sleeve right side out.

person holding yellow shirt and black and white sleeve with pins holding them together

3. At the machine, use a walking foot to prevent excess stretching, and stitch just inside the original serged seam on the main tee. (This is probably between 1/4 inches and 3/8 inches)

yellow pinned fabric going through a sewing machine

4. Press the seam allowances towards the sleeves.

steam iron on a yellow shirt with black and white sleeves

book cover with two women standing wearing a gray dress and a gray shirt and jeans

Reprinted with permission from DIY Wardrobe Makeovers by Suzannah Hamlin Stanley and published by C&T Publishing Inc, 2015.

  • Updated on Nov 7, 2021
  • Originally Published on Apr 6, 2016
Tagged with: crafts, diy, sewing, wardrobe