Monday, October 17, 2011

Cheating my way through a winter wardrobe

Thank you to all of you who left your sweet comments on my Babushka Doll Shirt on Monday! I wanted to get you in on a little secret of mine that I applied to that shirt. You might not have noticed, but it's a sneaky trick that I use to winterize Haley and Connor's summer wardrobes.

Did you happen to notice in my previous post that the shirt began as a short-sleeve top and ended up as a long sleeve shirt?

That's because I cheat my way through my kids' winter wardrobe. If I already have a shirt on hand that I want to use for winter but it's short-sleeved, I just add sleeves to it using one of my husband's undershirts. Cheap? Maybe. I prefer "clever." :) Plus, I really like the look of the different colored sleeves.

Since that secret is out now, I might as well share the details with you so you can save some money and cheat your way through your child's winter wardrobe too!

  • Short-sleeve shirt that fits your child
  • White men's undershirt (or any other knit shirt you may want to use)
  • Disappearing ink marker
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies

First, find a long-sleeve shirt that fits your child well. Lay one of the sleeves on top of your knit shirt flush with one of the edges and the bottom of your shirt (this is so you don't need to hem your sleeve). Use your disappearing ink marker to trace around your sleeve, making sure to make a j-like curve at the top where the sleeve meets the shirt. Repeat on the other side edge of your shirt to make 2 sleeves.

After cutting each of your sleeves out, they should look like this when they're open:

Fold them in half long ways with the right sides together, and pin along the long side. Sew down the long side from the edge of your sleeve to the top (make sure you don't sew either of the shorts sides closed!)

Turn your sleeve inside out, and you have a completed sleeve! (sorry, I didn't take a picture of the finished sleeve, but I'm sure you all know what a sleeve looks like :) The long side you just sewed is the bottom of your sleeve.

To attach the long sleeves you just made, turn your shirt inside out and stuff the existing sleeves of your shirt inside. Locate the original seam where the existing sleeves are sewed onto the shirt. This is where you will be attaching your long sleeves you just made.

With your long sleeve right side out, insert the sleeve inside of your shirt's armhole, matching up the raw edges of your sleeve with the edge of the armhole.

Pin your sleeve to the armhole and sew all around the armhole to attach your sleeve.

When you pull your sewn on sleeve inside out, it should look like this:

Turn your whole shirt right side out, and now your short sleeve shirt has been winterized! You can do the same thing with little boy's shirts. It's a little addictive. Especially if you stock up on cheap, end-of-the-season sale shirts from summer.

The only downside is your husband will start to wonder where all his undershirts went. Just tell him you're saving money on your kids' winter wardrobe :)


  1. I'd definitely go with 'CLEVER'!!! No one would ever know the long sleeves were added later. Great idea and very clearly explained.

  2. Definitely clever! I chopped and rouched long sleeves for summer wear. :) Great idea and very cute.

  3. Great tute!! I love this look, but have never done it myself... although I think my hubby might notice his shirts missing - lol.
    Following from MYM! Looking forward to more ideas!! :)
    Mrs. No-No Knows

  4. Great tutorial. I just did the same thing to one of my son's shirts, but failed to write up a tut. The shirt looks great!

    I'd love if you linked up your top, along with any others, to my top-toberfest shirt and tee party.

  5. You are my kind of crafter!! This is really cute and brilliant! Would love it if you would link this up to our Rockin’ link party this coming Friday, Come and show off what you got. Hope to see you there….

    Remember…YOU ROCK!!

  6. Oh my gosh you are one smart woman! I would never have known you added those sleeves. Excellent way to stretch out the use of those clothes you've got already. I will have to remember this for when I have my own kids someday. Thanks!

  7. bloomin' genius!! Thank you - it's a great way to make t-shirts last that bit longer!!

  8. Cute idea! This is especially great when you kno they won't fit into the shirt by next year and you want to get more use out of it. Also, a great idea if you have a child with really long arms (like mine) He's getting too long for his shirts, but the next size is huge. Thanks!

  9. How smart is this?! I will be doing this to my kids clothes this year! Thanks for sharing!
    Stephanie @

  10. I've awarded you with the Versatile Blog Award. Go to my site to check it out and enjoy your award (;

  11. they outgrow clothes so quick this is a great way to update their wardrobe.
    Would luv for my readers to follow this, inviting you to link at

  12. Fabulous idea! I have bought my daughter quite a few shirts like this, with this great idea she can wear her fav summer shirts year round! Never thought of it until seeing this, but I guess I could cut the long sleeve part out as well!

  13. Love it! Please post this, and anything else you may have,in my link party at



  14. Great idea. I have been meaning to do something like this, I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

  15. Genius! I actually BUY shirts for Indy that have a faux long sleeve shirt under them. It never occurred to me to make over his summer clothes! What a way to save money! Must "pin" this!

    Stopped by from Amanda's.

    BTW, I'm doing a week of giveaways on my blog. Stop by and enter!

  16. Such a great idea! My son just loves some of his t-shirts and doesn't want to put them away for fall/winter...this is a great way to keep using them {and not have to buy a whole new wardrobe!}. Thanks for sharing! And would you pretty please share it here too?


Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! I try to respond to each of them through email so please make sure you leave an email address or have your profile set up to include your email address if you want me to respond :)


Related Posts with Thumbnails