6 Ways to Cut Up T-Shirt Sleeves

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How to Upcycle Tees | DIY Clothing No-Sew Transformation

Today I’m going to show you how to cut up your t-shirt sleeves in 6 different ways. If you have a baggy oversized tee you can upcycle it with these easy DIY fashion hacks. No sewing required. Grab your scissors and let's get crafting!

1.   The first step is to cut the neck out of your shirt.

2.   The next step is to start at the neck and cut about one inch apart slits down your shirt. I usually cut them in about two inches apart. You also want to cut the seam off the bottom of your shirt. 


3.   Next, you'll want to stretch your cut strips until they curl into strings.

cutting the sleeve
4.   Now we've completed the basics for all the sleeve techniques, let's start to modify the sleeves. 

1st Way of Altering the Sleeve - Slashed Sleeve

Slashed Sleeve

The first way to modify the sleeve is by using the cuts we just made, and then cutting vertically along the middle of those cuts to remove the shoulder seam. Then, tie them together into square knots where the seam was. That will bring the sleeve in more and make it look a lot tighter on your arm, for a fitted sleeve instead of baggy one. 

2nd Way of Altering the Sleeve - Laddering

1st ladder sleeve2nd ladder sleeve
             First Ladder                                 Second Ladder

The second way of altering the sleeve is by adding a weave or a ladder to it. Watch the video above for a quick demo, or read my blog post on How to Weave a Shirt. Basically, you grab the strand underneath and pull it through over the top of the next strand. Then, you continue to do that the whole way down the sleeve. To tie this off, we'll use the scrap from the seam we cut off the sleeve. Now we have the first ladder down the sleeve and it looks like this. I'm just going to do a second ladder. Repeat what we just did a second time. Now, you can really see just how much that brings the sleeve in. You could put two or three weaves on top of each other to keep bringing in that sleeve even more if you need it. 1st and 2nd techniques

3rd Way of Altering the Sleeve - Ruched Shoulder

The third way you can style up your sleeve after cutting and then weaving it is by tying it up with a string. Use the scrap from when we cut off the bottom seam of the shirt. Run the string underneath all of the 1st way slashes. Then tie it in a square knot at the front of the sleeve to gather up all the slashes together. It makes a nice ruched shoulder that looks really cute.
sleeve gathered frontsleeve gathered top
              3rd Way - Ruched                            4th Way - Tank Top

4th Way of Altering the Sleeve - Tank Top

I'm going to repeat the 3rd technique of gathering up the slashes of the sleeve with a rope. Once you have the rope ran all the way through, tie up the sleeve on top of the shoulder in a tight knot. Do this to both sleeves for a tank top style.

5th Way of Altering the Sleeve - Super Fringe

For the fifth technique, we will cut the other arm of our shirt. into strips along the seam. Cut 1 inch thick strips all the way down the shoulder seam. The same way as the other arm, but this time cut the slashes in further (at least half way into the sleeve) so that you will have longer strips. Don't forget to pull the strips until they curl into strings!

super fringe sleeve cuts

For this style, I like to tie up the sleeves with the shirt on me so that I can see just how far I need to tie them in. I stretch the strings really long, and tie them in tight to give me a lot of fringe! I really love the asymmetrical look of having different designs on each sleeve. 

fringe sleeve

6th Way of Altering the Sleeve - Batwing

With the shirt on you, measure how much to take off the width of the sleeve so that it fits tightly on your arm. I'm taking three and a half inches off. Mark it on the sleeve with your chalk. Place the ruler where you marked at, and then angle it to the armpit of the shirt. Cut along the ruler.
batwing sleeve

Now we're going to cut 1 inch wide slits along the angled cut we just made. Pull all the strings so that they curl and then tie them together in square knots. 

batwing sleeve finished
This is what the batwing style looks like once it's done. See the difference between the regular sleeve and the batwing sleeve. It's a nice way to bring in your shirt sleeve without having to sew! I hope you enjoyed today's tutorial on six fun ways to alter your sleeves.  

For more cool projects, download my free DIY T-Shirt Hacks Ebook!

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