The design of the t-shirt seems so simple that it is immutable. Where else does one go with a fabric whose sole distinctive feature is the sleeves hanging off the shoulders? A little creativity has birthed a few fashion mainstays. There is the tank top, which removes the sleeves and creates a new iconic look. There is also the long-sleeve, which takes the opposite tack and extends the sleeves to cover the arms.
More recently, there is the off-the-shoulder t-shirt, which tethers the sleeves by the underarm half and removes the fabric covering the shoulders. This form, like the others mentioned above, is surprisingly versatile, with designers approaching it from many different angles with success. For the past several years, these shirts have been a staple of summer outfits.
Perhaps the best part about the off-the-shoulder look is that anyone can make their own DIY shirt in that style. Here is a list of tips for creating your own and making it fashionable.
Choose Which Shoulders You Will Cut
Even within this one type of t-shirt, there are several different looks from which you can choose. You could cut the top from just one of the sleeves, creating what is called the “cold shoulder.” This technique leaves the shirt with an asymmetrical appearance, which can be edgy, bold, sexy, and unique. It can also be flexible, evoking the elegance of gowns with the same design element or a quirky and punk refusal to fit in.
You do not need to stop there with your DIY shirt, either. When most people think of off-the-shoulder tees, they think of the double off-shoulder variant. This take is exactly what it sounds like, revealing both shoulders and the wearer’s frame for the world to see. The addition of straps can keep the shirt from slipping too far down, but a little tightness can also help. In the case of DIY projects, this look can be casual enough for hang-outs and parties, yet surprising and interesting enough to stand out from the crowd.
Measure the Shirt’s Frame — and Your Own
Before you take the scissors to the cloth, you should know precisely where and how much you will cut. First, you must fold the shirt in half, with the front side visible. After aligning the two halves of the neckline, use a marker to pinpoint their meeting point. This speck will indicate the destination of your shears.
The first measurement you will make is on yourself. Start at the base where one shoulder meets your neck, then stretch the tape to below the opposite shoulder — the one you want to expose. It should be placed about an inch after the end of the curve, towards but not exactly on the forearm. Speaking of inches, you may want to round down that measurement an inch or so. Otherwise, the hole may look too large.
Finally, you will unfold and take your measuring tape to the fabric. Without using a marker, you will create a line between the spot on the neckline and the shoulder. That distance should be half of the measurement you got for yourself. You would make 5 inches on the shirt for 10 inches on your person, 6 for 12, and so on. Once you find the right spot on the shoulder, stamp it with the marker.
Cut the Hole
It is now time to make the hole. In the beginning, you must poke a small gash through the mark on the shoulder. Only penetrate the front side of the shirt — do not pierce the back. Stick the scissors through there and cut to the mark on the neckline. You may want to give it an elegant curve, rather than making a straight line. With the collar and surrounding area now loose on that half, flap it on top of the area on the other side of the shirt. Use that as a reference to repeat the same cut, then snip the loose fabric.
The neckline should now be significantly larger. You can keep it like that and just stretch it over one shoulder, which will lift one side of the shirt and droop the other. If you want the shirt to stay even, you can still achieve the cold shoulder look by cutting asymmetrically on the other half of the neckline. You would have to do that on both sides for the double off-shoulder style. Getting everything right can be tricky, so feel free to make practice runs with a few t-shirts you would not mind shredding or disposing of.
We should note that if a double off-shoulder shirt’s hole is too big, and depending on the wearer’s body type, the shirt may be at risk of slipping off. Tightening the body near the underarms can help. The addition of straps may be simpler, though it would not leave the shoulders totally bare. A little care, preparation, and experience can result in a shirt with exposed shoulders that does not need any extra work to stay up.
Accessorize and Customize Beyond the Shoulders
Removing the fabric over the shoulders is the sole requirement for creating an off-the-shoulder t-shirt. With that said, the process does not need to end once that section of clothing comes off. One alteration begetting another and another and as many further alterations as you wish. Part of the reason behind the continued popularity of this fashion trend is that designers can do so much with the template.
For example, cutting and exposing the shoulders can be viewed as extreme, which means that any further cuts would not seem so strange. You could take the scissors to other parts of the cloth. Nick wedges off the bottom hem, create gashes along the sides and even deepen or form a new shape for the neckline. With a balance of professional restraint and anarchic creativity, there is a great deal of potential.
Alternatively, after taking something away from the shirt, you could add something to it. The new design can be embroidered, printed, heat-pressed, or some other method. Other embellishments that could add more personality to the cloth include appliques, rhinestones, sequins, and more. The best part about a DIY shirt project is that you can do anything you want with it.
Use High-Quality Clothes for DIY Shirt Projects
DIY shirt projects of all kinds have a much better chance of turning out well if you use high-quality clothes. Here at Just Sweatshirts, we offer excellently knitted and constructed sweatshirts, t-shirts, and other casual tops. When you use our products, you can guarantee style, comfort, and durability, even after you cut them up a bit. Browse our selection and see what we have in stock.