T-Shirt weather has been slow in coming this Spring and now it appears we're skipping straight ahead to tank tops. As much as I loathe my bare arms, I turn into this bitchy/delicate flower in the heat. I unpacked our summer bin yesterday to turn it into our winter/sweater bin and to search out long lost summer clothes. I found a bunch of t-shirts that I've been having a hard time letting go of. So, armed with my new found confidence in knits, I set about seeing what I could do to alter the ones I wanted to keep but either looked like they had come from the pit stain factory (me) or were a tad too little/big (mostly little, sadly).
I put the shirt on and stood in front of the mirror with a felt pen (I used a water soluble one) and drew a line from my shoulder to the underarm seam (following my bra strap) and then another for the neck. If you can let go of the sleeves, you're also letting go of any, er, restricting bits. Then you can do one of two things: If you make the shoulders wide, you can turn down the edges twice and carefully top-stitched the whole shebang, taking care not to stretch as you sew. OR, you might cut out strips of ribbing about two-thirds the circumference of the sleeve (you'll stretch the ribbing out as you sew) and attach to the raw edges (check the seams of your favourite ribbed t-shirt for a visual how-to).
This is my favourite way to tackle such a modification partly because it was so easy to transfer what I learned from sewing patterns out of this book to doing my own thing (and because it's cuter). It's what I love about following patterns (however painful) initially, because regardless of the outcome, I end up learning so much.
edited to say:
People have asked about sourcing knit ribbing, and how you go about buying it. I think they used to make cuff ribbing in strips a bit like really fat bias tape, in sweet colours and stripes. Has anyone else seen this? I think this is usually only done commercially now, and the only ribbing I've managed to find comes are solid colours, woven into tubes and bought by the inch or yard off the bolt. If you were skinny enough, you could just buy a couple of yards and pull it up over your booty to make a tube dress. Also, if you were crazy enough. I bought some lightweight ribbing locally at the Depot and a whole lot more heavier 100% cotton, cream coloured (extremely dye-able) ribbing at Rose City Textiles. Sewzannes.com has it online.