How To Do A Basic T-Shirt Mod For Summer

Three steps for basic T-shirt surgery.
Publish date:
July 13, 2014
t-shirt, cut up t-shirts, weekend, t-shirt surgery, How-To

You buy a super cute T-shirt from one of those $11 daily deal T-shirt sites and the neckline is about to choke you out -- and you also wind up sporting a uni-boob. So how do you save an awesome T-shirt from being abandoned in the back of your closet? Just follow these three steps:

You need:

  • An awesome t-shirt
  • A great pair of scissors

You want those scissors sharp and not covered in gunk. Don't grab the dull kitchen scissors -- they won't give you clean lines when cutting fabric. You'll only end up with frustration and a destroyed T-shirt. I got my scissors from a local fabric store. They aren't fancy -- I bought the 2-pack for about $10.

You'll also need:

  • A flat surface free from obstruction

Kitchen table, bed, desk, whatever. Tell your minions you do not require further assistance at this time and keep them out of your workspace area if you can. Maybe put up a baby gate or get the other half to watch them.

Step one:

Turn your T-shirt inside out.

Your cat will probably lay down on it.

Step two:

Start at the neckline and cut two 2-inch slits, breaking the collar of the T-shirt.

Note: The deeper the slits, the more open the top will be. I have cut a few T-shirts straight to the shoulder, creating a Flashdance/’80s effect. You end up having one shoulder more exposed than the other. You will need a tank top underneath -- otherwise someone is going to see your bra strap. Unless you don't care! If that's you, then have at it and wear it showing your bra.

Next, cut a straight line across the back of the T-shirt from point A to point B.

Flip the T-shirt over to the front side and repeat this process. On the front of the shirt, be careful to avoid cutting into the groovy cool graphic that was the whole reason you bought it.

Step Three:

Contemplate the sleeves.

I have never had skinny arms. For some reason, no matter the size of the shirt I get, I can never find a shirt with comfortable sleeves. So, let's change that.

Start with the seam of the sleeve hem. Make an incision on the length of sleeve hem (about 1/2-inch).

This is VERY IMPORTANT: Do not cut off the sleeve hem in a circular fashion.

Wait. What?

You do not want to cut the arm collar off in one fell swoop.

It will jack up the top part of the sleeve.

Now, cut from point A to point B along the seam line.

Repeat on opposite sleeve hem.


You can cut little slits on the bottom of the tee to open it up.

You can also make a "butterfly" sleeve by cutting the underside of the sleeve at an angle.

And if written instructions aren't your thing, check out this YouTube video that I made to explain:

What sort of T-shirt surgeries are you performing this summer? Are you up for some of the more challenging mods, like the ones in this post?