T-Shirt Sleeve Refashion

2 Posted by - December 9, 2013 - Christmas & Holiday, DIY & Crafts, Women's Apparel

This pin test was originally posted on CraftFail.

There was a time when I was small and cute and could buy t-shirts from the boys’ section at Target whenever I felt like it. Those days are gone, but I recently found a t-shirt I could not resist, and so I bought it anyway, despite my better judgment…

griswold tshirt

My husband and I and another couple we’re friends with have a “tradition” (bad habit) of watching Christmas Vacation over and over, sometimes not anywhere near Christmas, so I could not resist picking up this t-shirt. Buuuuut, it was in the boys’ section, so I ended up with a Youth XL.

Now please refrain from commenting about how it fits on the rest of my torso, because that cannot be helped, but you can clearly see that my large arms are about to bust through the sleeves, and that is the most troubling part to me…

too small sleeves

But Pinterest can fix anything, so I searched and found a tutorial on how to doctor up the sleeves of a t-shirt.

Of course, she started with a long-sleeve t-shirt and I did not, so I had to improvise a little… Fine, a lot.

I began by cutting off the hem of each sleeve.

cut off hem

Then I cut a bitch, right up the center of the sleeve, lined up with the shoulder seam.

cut sleeve

I pulled at the newly raw hems to make them roll up, and I could have called it done right here, because this accomplished my mission of not cutting off the circulation in my ginormous Amazon arms.

But I wanted them to be pretty with the bows and shit like in the tutorial. So I made two little pieces of t-shirt yarn out of the cut off sleeve hems.

shirt hem thread

Then I tied them in bows.

tshirt thread bow

And then, with my amazing crafty prowess, I sewed a bow to each sleeve. I only drew a little blood and I only sewed through the wrong layer of fabric one or two times, and mostly I did ok at this, so don’t judge me. I feel pretty amazing that I made it work.

Ok, fine, sure, it looks nothing like the original tutorial. But I have a fancy new t-shirt sleeve design, thank you, and I like it. So there. Feast your eyes on my fat white arms, Internets. Ho Ho Ho.


T-Shirt Sleeve Refashion
Article Name
T-Shirt Sleeve Refashion
The Pintester reconstructs a t-shirt with too-small sleeves using Pinterest as a guide... sort of.


  • Kristin December 9, 2013 - 12:09 pm Reply

    Looks great!

  • Anna December 9, 2013 - 12:25 pm Reply

    That is super cute!

  • Honey Laura Clark December 9, 2013 - 12:34 pm Reply

    You’re not fat, so knock it off, you’re getting on my nerves with that shit.

    • Joanna Likness Pendleton December 9, 2013 - 1:46 pm Reply

      It is possible you do not have a well-developed appreciation for self-depracating humor, but you definitely have a handle on insulting compliments, so there’s that. I do agree that she looks fantastic though, if that’s what you were going for. 🙂

      • Havana James December 9, 2013 - 4:39 pm Reply

        I get what Honey is trying to say. I totally get what Joanna is saying (although Joanna probably is more used to it than Honey). Sonja is a beautiful woman with many talents and an awesome job. As long as we all agree I think we can appreciate her humor.

  • Joanna Likness Pendleton December 9, 2013 - 1:40 pm Reply

    I like it. 🙂

  • Anonymous for a Reason December 9, 2013 - 1:52 pm Reply

    If I could fit my torso into a child-sized t-shirt I would throw a fucking parade down Broadway and drink egg nog until I fell into a coma.

    • Rachel December 10, 2013 - 5:20 pm Reply

      And after all that egg nog, you would no longer fit into a child-sized shirt!

  • Llama spit December 9, 2013 - 4:39 pm Reply

    Dude! I like yours way better than the original! I tried the original once, looked horrible. I’m gonna do yours!

    • Llama spit December 9, 2013 - 4:43 pm Reply

      Oh, and boys xl? Yeah it’s meant for skinny little boy arms, not the bigger (but NOT FAT) women’s arms. I’d have to do the same thing, so don’t call your arms fat because that would mean my arms are fat too. So neither one of us has fat arms cuz my arms aren’t fat cuz I say so. Lol

  • Lora December 9, 2013 - 7:23 pm Reply

    I like yours. I don’t need a massive minnie mouse style bow to draw attention to my ham-sized arms.

  • LizzyMom December 10, 2013 - 6:40 am Reply

    Ooooh! Much better than the original pin!!!

    OMG, quelle disaster… What are we are going to do if you keep improving like this?? It’s the fails that make it work…

  • Catherine December 10, 2013 - 10:52 am Reply

    Super cute! The fact that you can fit (well) into a youth shirt is awesome!

  • ChickieD December 10, 2013 - 11:38 am Reply

    I think you need to trim off the hem of the t-shirt as well to make the bottom of the shirt match the look of the new sleeves. But then I fear you might be swaying dangerously close to “wifebeater” territory.

    • Kaelyn Paige Allen December 14, 2013 - 1:34 pm Reply

      I saw something on Pinterest where the person did a sleeve refashion and then left the bottom hem, but slit the very, very bottom part so it could stretch/ravel and look similar to the sleeves, while still keeping the shape with the bottom hem.

  • MGM444 December 10, 2013 - 12:35 pm Reply

    I have a pile of neat tshirts that are now too small or have always been too small that I bought from a thrift store or kids section because of the awesome design. There was something on pinterest were you could cut from the armpit down to the hem on the bottom of the shirt and sew a panel of contrasting fabric in there for more wiggle room. Sewing with stretchy knit is hard, though, and I’m afraid I’ll end up with a disapPINtment.

  • Tina December 13, 2013 - 4:41 pm Reply

    Just when I said I would never sign up for anything ELSE to come to my mailbox, I have to say, YOU MADE MY F-ING DAY! A foul-mouth, self-deprecating, no-nonsense woman, just like me! I’m banning everyone else but YOU from my inbox. You actually made me laugh and at this time of year, Nothing is funny. You Rock! Thank you!

    • Pintester December 13, 2013 - 4:46 pm Reply

      Thank YOU for signing up for my newsletter! Hope you enjoy it!

  • Fuschia December 16, 2013 - 3:44 pm Reply

    You do not have fat arms…..but they are pretty white. Love you anyway!! 🙂

  • Michelle Par December 16, 2013 - 4:17 pm Reply

    See, now, if the sleeves were too tight for my arms, the armhole in the torso of the shirt would be way too tight, too, so this wouldn’t fix it. Jealous that it works for you.

  • Debbie Stanton Lyman December 17, 2013 - 11:04 am Reply

    I am going to go cut up all the t-shirts in my closet right now. Awesome.

  • JonasandDelice Herum December 18, 2013 - 11:06 pm Reply

    You ROCK. Awesome.

  • MrsB December 19, 2013 - 1:15 pm Reply

    I went and did this with gutso to all my annoying sleeve tshirts. But then I got bored, (or drunk..details, details) and didn’t follow through. Now I have a closet full of sliced sleeve tshirts (and one dress) that I am artfully hiding from my hubby. whee!

  • Moonstrobe December 25, 2013 - 11:19 am Reply

    That is adorable! Love it.

  • Sandy October 29, 2016 - 4:40 pm Reply

    HAHA! This is hysterical. I myself failed at a few of those shirts. They make it look so easy sometimes.

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