As a basic wardrobe item, people would be lost without the T-shirt. But plain, standard T-shirts, while cheap to buy, are sometimes a little boring and not too flattering to the figure. Plain T-shirts can be quickly jazzed up with fabric paints or by sewing on a few beads or sequins. They can also be made more feminine with the addition of a little frill at the neckline and by giving the body more shape and definition.
Cut the hems off both sleeves and the bottom of the T-shirt.
Cut off the neckband, then make the front neck opening square to the depth you prefer.
Cut an extra 1 inch off the bottom of the T-shirt.
Measure the length of the straight edge along the bottom of the square neckline. Cut the 1-inch strip of T-shirt fabric to twice this length. Stitch small running stitches along the length of one side of the strip, then gather up the stitches so the ruffle is the same length as the bottom of the square neckline.
Machine- or hand-sew the ruffle to the bottom edge of the neckline. Keep the T-shirt the right way out, and sew the ruffle directly onto the front of the fabric, keeping the stitches as close to the edge as possible.
Cover the stitching that attaches the ruffle, and at the same time, neaten the edge by cutting the elastic a couple of inches shorter than the straight neckline edge. Then sew onto the top of the ruffle, stretching it to fit.
Try on the T-shirt and mark where to gather the front. Mark the T-shirt just below the bustline, but above the waist. Mark two dots on the material, 3 or 4 inches apart, with a fabric marker in the center of the front of the T-shirt.
Take off the T-shirt and cut 2 vertical slits, about half an inch long, where you made the dots.
Thread the previously cut-off bottom hem through the slits and tie in a knot at the front of the T-shirt. Trim the dangling ends of the knot as short as you like.
Deborah Jones started her freelance writing career in 1990. Her work has appeared in The Writer's Forum, "Reader's Digest" and numerous D.C. Thomson magazines. Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and a postgraduate certificate in education, both from the University of Derby.