Refashion: Upcycled T-shirt with Poufy Sleeves and Sash

Refashioned and upcycled blouse and T-shirt with poufy sleeves and sash

Once in a while, I visit the mall to stay on top of fashion trends.  I noticed lots of blouses that mixed wovens and knits.  I never sewed this combination of fabrics before and wanted to give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thrifted blouse and t-shirt for upcycle and refashion project. Cost a little over $5.

I found this red blouse and navy t-shirt (looks black on this photo but trust me, it is navy) at the thrift store.  I spent a little over $5 for both.

Close up of red print

I chose the red blouse because I loved the tulip print.  The navy t-shirt matched the navy the blouse perfectly.

Red Sleeves from blouse and bodice from t-shirt

I chopped the sleeves off both tops.  I kept the sleeves from the red blouse and the bodice from the t-shirt.

Armhole comparison

Notice how the armhole on the red sleeve is much bigger than the armhole on the navy bodice?  In order to make the poufy sleeve I had in mind, I needed large sleeves to create the gathers that would create volume.

Sleeves with running stitches to create gathers for poufy sleeves

I hand sewed running stitches that I pulled to create gathers in the sleeve.

Sleeves with gathers at the top of the shoulder

I mushed all the gathers to the top of the shoulder.  Now the sleeve hole and arm hole are the same size.

Sewn in sleeve

I turned the bodice inside out.  Then I stuck in the sleeve right side out and pinned it.  I serged in the sleeve in place.  Repeat on the other side.

Gathers and band at the bottom of the sleeve

For the bottom of the sleeves, I created gathers and finish it off with a band.  I chopped off the sleeves about 3 inches above the elbow.  Next, I ran a line of gathering stitches that I pulled and mushed all the gathers to the center of the sleeve.


I made the bands by cutting 2 strips of red fabric 11.5″ x 2″.

Sleeve bands pressed

I sewed the ends together and folded them lengthwise.

Band pinned to sleeve

I pinned the band to the bottom of the sleeve and serged.

Finished Sleeve

Repeat on the other side.

Pieced Sash

To create the sash, I cut and pieced 6″ strips from the front and back of the red blouse.

Serged ends of sash

I folded it lengthwise and serged the ends closed.

Sash Inside Out

Then I serged the sash lengthwise, leaving a 6″ gap.  I needed the gap to turn the sash inside out. I closed the gap with a slip stitch.

Finished upcycled and refashioned blouse

Yay, finished blouse!  This is the first time I used my brand new serger to create a garment, and I am in love with it.  It pieces and finishes at the same time.  That darn red blouse frayed like crazy, and the knife on the serger sliced off the stray threads perfectly.

Sleeve Close Up

The gathers in the sleeve plus the polyester of the red fabric gave the sleeves some nice volume.

Blow closeup

I was concerned the sash was a little too girly, but the shirt was kinda meh without it.

Please share your thoughts below with me.  I’m curious to see what you think of this.  What would you have done differently?

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There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Pamela at 6:45 am

    This t-shirt/blouse transformation is so lovely! Now, if I just had the long lean body to wear it! My shirts are extra large and there is no way I could put a cute belt around my already too wide figure. So I’m sitting here crying again!

    Hey. Idea. Did you ever consider doing a series for us BIG girls? I know there are lots of us out here who would bless you for it.

  2. Win at 3:56 pm

    For BIG girls I suggest, forget the sash and instead add a fake (because it’s not needed) neckline binding using the red fabric.
    Also I would use a big t-shirt that nicely skims over the body.
    The binding could be cut on the bias and sewn on like any bias binding is.
    Or cut a curved piece wider and use it to put a frill on one side of the neckline only. Asymmetric is still very trendy, I think and it will look subtle.

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