Tag Archives: recon

Recon: No Sew Swim Shirt

My 14 year old daughter heads off for a week of orchestra camp on Saturday. During the week, they get the chance of swimming in the river near the college where the camp takes place. My lovely daughter is pale and freckled, the worse kind of complexion to spend a day in the sun.

Enter the No Sew Swim Shirt. This is the second version of this shirt I’ve made, the first having done it’s duty honorably for several summers now.  The sides are nice and open so the water will flow through your shirt and not weigh you down.  A must for any super-sun-sensitive gal.

There really is no sewing and you only need a couple of supplies and you’ll have your own No Sew Swim Shirt in about 10 minutes!

You’ll need:

  • 1 t-shirt, at least 2 sizes too big, in a light color to reflect the sun
  • a pair of scissors
  • a large ruler OR yardstick
  • cutting mat OR masking tape with 1″ intervals marked to about 20″

spread the t-shirt out, making sure the top and bottom are nicely aligned

cut off sleeve just inside the seam line, save for another project

repeat for second sleeve

slice up sides of t-shirt

smooth out the side of the t-shirt, using either the cutting mat and a ruler (shown) OR a yardstick and masking tape, measure 3″ from the cut edge along the shirt sides, cutting up those 3″ at 1″ interval

repeat on both sides, stopping before the sleeve area

snip off the bottom curve of the sleeve

remove bottom hem

starting at the top of one side, tie together front and back 3″ pieces

repeat for all 3″ pieces

repeat on the second side of the shirt

Done! Because this was a blank shirt, I added an iron-on dragon to jazz it up a bit.

side close up

Old No Sew Swim Tee, too small now and at the end of it’s sun-protecting days!

This one was stenciled using acrylic paint and my pirate stencil.

If you make a Sew Awesome Craft or any pattern, craft or recipe from sewhooked, I’d love to see a photo. Email me or add it to the sewhooked flickr group.

T-Shirt Reconstruction: Reverse Applique Window

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My son got this great orange t-shirt at the science fair he participated in last year. Unfortunately, it was way too small and *gasp* not black, which is his favorite t-shirt color. We talked it through and he agreed that if it was part of a black shirt, he’d definitely wear it.

I used one of my favorite “save a t-shirt” recon techniques, a reverse applique window. It’s easy peasy and takes only about 15 minutes to complete. The sewing machine and rotary cutter are totally optional here. This recon could easily be done with just plain old scissors and a needle and thread.

T-Shirt Reconstruction: Reverse Applique Window
by Jennifer Ofenstein

2 t-shirts
straight pins
rotary cutter (optional)
sewing machine with ball point needle OR needle & thread


Slit the shirt that will be in the “window” up each side and open out.

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Using a rotary cutter and ruler OR a ruler and chalk with scissors, cut a square out of the front of the window at least 1″ larger than the image on the shirt.


Turn the intact shirt inside out. Center the square with the image on it right side down on the inside front of the intact shirt. Pin clockwise – this makes it easier to remove the pins as you stitch.

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Stitch around, removing the pins as you go so as not to stitch over them. If using a sewing machine, choose a stretch stitch.


Turn the shirt right side out. You can faintly see the stitching line here.


Draw a chalk line 1/4 – 1/2″ inside of the stitching line. This will be your cutting line.

Near one of the corners, pinch the fabric of the intact shirt away from the applique piece on the inside. Make sure you just have one layer of shirt. Cut a small hole with the scissors. Trim carefully towards the chalk line.

Cut around the chalk line and remove the center piece.


Voila! Reverse applique t-shirt!

Happy crafting!