In any case, I have a ton of awesome ideas for you to make an old shirt new! That’s right—you should skip that trip to the thrift store and pull those shirts back out of the donation bin. Instead, take them to your craft room. I’ve got so many T-shirt cutout projects and other ideas for cute, flirty T-shirt transforms for you that you won’t know where to start.
Yeah, you might get some weird tan lines, but who cares? You are going to love these looks! Best of all, most of these projects are no-sew. So even if you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, you can enjoy these fabulous summer fashions!
1. Add a cute ribbon.
If you are looking for a simple, cute, easy modification for a T-shirt, here is a great idea. Simply cut the back out of a shirt, and then attach a bow which you can tie. You can go with any color or pattern fabric you want for the bow, so this is a good way to add some color and fun to an otherwise plain shirt.
2. Cut out most of the back of your T-shirt and tie what’s left.
Everything but some thin strips has been cut out of the back of this T-shirt, with the strips then tied together along the length of the shirt. It’s a simple idea and looks relatively easy to do, but it comes out looking ridiculously cool! Even the tan lines from this shirt would be fabulous in an odd way!
3. Make a skull cutout.
Here is another simple but brilliant cutout concept for a T-shirt. Just cut out holes in the shape of a skull. It’s eye-catching and a very fun look!
4. Make a line of bows along the back of your T-shirt.
If you’re a girly girl when it comes to fashion and you love bows, then you will just adore this idea! You do need to do some sewing for this one since you need to make the bows out of other fabric and attach them all along the back. The finished look is absolutely adorable, and don’t you just love the floral fabric?
5. Make a geometric design.
If you want to create an orderly geometric design with your T-shirt cutout, it is surprisingly easy to do—what you need is simply to create a stencil which you can use. If you click through to the source link, you can view a brief tutorial. Remember, you can easily adapt this idea to suit your tastes; you can design a stencil with any pattern you want!
6. Cut out a tree of life shape.
The tree of life has become something of a fashion trend, usually seen in wire wrap jewelry. But as it turns out, it also looks completely awesome as a cutout on the back of a T-shirt.
7. Make a butterfly twist tee.
Here is a different look which is both fun and flirty and elegant and sophisticated at the same time. Click the source link below to view a tutorial. You do need to get out your sewing machine to do this one.
8. Create a cool high-contrast look by layering.
With this tutorial there are actually two ideas I want to draw your attention to. The first is the very cool design created on the back of the shirt of course—and if you click through to the source link, you can see how it is done. The second thing however is just the way the two shirts have been layered to create a bold contrast. I also love the coordination with the bag and the jewelry.
9. Make a cute crop top.
This link teaches you how to make a quick and easy crop top out of a basic T-shirt. The end result is super flirty and cute!
10. Add some extra straps to the back of a tank top.
Most of these ideas and tutorials focus on removing bits of T-shirts in order to create a fun look for summer. Here is the opposite—a design which relies on adding something to an existing tank top.
11. Jazz up the collar of a boring T-shirt.
You know how some shirts don’t really give you much room to wear jewelry? If you try to wear a choker or a necklace that sits close to the throat, the collar will get in the way, but with a longer necklace, the collar will still cause the necklace to sit oddly. Here’s a solution—modify the collar of the shirt so that the bling is part of the shirt!
12. Make a ladder down the front of a T-shirt.
This style is super trendy right now and you will see a lot of these shirts for sale—but this is something you could also make yourself! Just cut a v-shape down the front of a T-shirt and then add some fabric straps across the middle to create a ladder pattern. This is a simple but flattering design.
13. Cropped T-shirt with cutout arms.
This T-shirt modification requires sewing, but just check out how totally rocking the end result is! This would be well worth the effort!
14. Embellish a tee with stitching.
Most of the projects in this list feature cutting and/or sewing, but here is something completely different! With this project, you do not need to do any cutting at all; you just do some stitching. But the idea here isn’t to make your stitches disappear—it is to make them stand out!
15. Make a beautiful cutout around the neckline of your shirt.
This is a pretty easy pattern for making a pattern around the neckline of a shirt, not so different from the idea shared previously. As you can see, it can transform even the dullest T-shirt into something gorgeous.
16. Make a Brandy Melville-inspired top.
This video tutorial teaches you how you can make an adorable crop top inspired by Brandy Melville. There are so many ways you could personalize this look!
17. Add pearls to the neck and sleeves of a T-shirt.
This is a lot like the idea shared previously, except that it involves stitching pearls into the gaps you are cutting at the neck and sleeves of your T-shirt. This is a great way to add some instant classiness to any tee!
18. Create a no-sew modified T-shirt that ties—but isn’t a crop top.
Want to modify a T-shirt without making it into a crop top or something else super skimpy that is only suitable for the blazing hot days of summer? Here is a no-sew pattern where you just cut part of the bottom out of a long shirt so that you can tie it around your waist. Incidentally, if you want it to be a crop top, it can—just cut higher.
19. Cute a heart pattern into a T-shirt.
I love this tutorial for several reasons. First of all, the end result looks awesome. Secondly, this tutorial explains why it is easy to make cutout T-shirts. If you are new to this, you may think you need to cut sizable gaps to make a pattern like this, but you don’t—you just have to cut parallel lines, and the material rolls when you pull on the stripes, leaving the gaps naturally.
The other thing I appreciate about this tutorial is that it points out that you can wear a tee like this over top of a contrasting tank top. This is a good move if you don’t want to wear it over a bra, but aren’t built to run around braless.
20. Make a cute cutout dress for summer.
Have a longer T-shirt that you want to modify? Why not turn it into a fun summery dress? This design is cute and flirty and also keeps you cool on hot days. Check out the video tutorial to find out how to make your own step-by-step.
21. Convert a baggy T-shirt into a fitted tee without sewing.
Okay, so this one is pure genius. Have a baggy T-shirt you want to convert into a fitted tee—maybe even a men’s shirt which doesn’t fit you at all? Turn it inside out, cut parallel fringes along the side (click on the link below to see the tutorial and you’ll see what I mean), tie the ends together, and turn it back the right way. Problem solved … mind blown!
22. Turn your T-shirt into a cute halter top.
You wouldn’t think turning a T-shirt into a halter top would be all that easy, but you’d be wrong. This tutorial only has a few quick steps to it, and the result looks gorgeous!
23. Make a cute, simple dress out of a long tee.
You can easily tell that this dress is a modified T-shirt, but that doesn’t make it any less adorable—it just makes it more so! This looks like a fun, fast, easy project to turn an oversized tee into something stunningly chic!
24. Show off your fandom.
This is a modification of a Batman logo T-shirt with the logo cut out and lace stitched in. You do not necessarily need a T-shirt which already has a logo in it to do this though; you could just use a stencil to cut out the shape you want. It’s nerdy, feminine, and adorable!
25. Cut out the shape of a cross.
I like the geometric design here—it’s a lot different fro just cutting a set of parallel lines! Even though it looks like a lot of work, the video is actually a pretty quick watch, so this is easier to make than it appears to be. There is a downloadable template on the site which you can print out (click the source link), as well as a couple of other printable templates you can use the same way for different designs.
26. Make a simple vented tee.
Who says you need to do something complicated just to add some summery pizzazz to an old shirt? This shirt just has a simple slit added in the back. It enhances the look, and also provides a vent so you can feel the breeze.
27. Make a T-shirt into an off-the-shoulder top.
Love that sultry off-the-shoulder look? You can do that with a T-shirt in a matter of minutes. Check the source link to find out more!
28. Make a wrap crop top.
Not only is this crop top easy to make, but what’s super awesome is that you can wear it three different ways! You can see that this one was made out of a long blouse, but you could probably modify a long T-shirt in a similar fashion. Check out the rest of Nicole’s blog for more awesome DIY fashion ideas.
29. Make multiple modifications to a single garment for a striking effect.
Here is a quick tutorial posted on Pinterest with multiple modifications to a plain T-shirt. Combined, they have a dazzling effect. The collar is particularly innovative.
30. Add lace panels to your sleeves.
Getting away from cutouts again, this is a great way to add a little something extra to a shirt with medium-length sleeves. Just remove part of each sleeve and stitch in a lace panel.
31. Make a simple DIY shirt weave with looping.
This shirt was modified using the same looping technique which is featured in a number of the other designs I have shared thus far. Follow the link below for a quick tutorial with images to walk you through it. Once you get this technique down, you will find that there is so much you can do with it!
32. Make a simple but eye-catching open-back shirt.
There is nothing elaborate about this design, but complex isn’t always what you’re looking for with a fun summer shirt modification. Click through to the link to find out how to get this look!
33. Learn three easy ways to modify your T-shirts.
In this video, you can learn not one, but three, quick and easy ways to modify your T-shirts for summer glam!
34. Cut the shoulder out of a shirt.
Sometimes the simplest modification can add some flirty flair to an otherwise boring shirt. Take this idea, which simply requires you to cut the corner out of your shirt shoulder.
35. Cut out the shape of a butterfly.
Here is a lovely design for a cutout on the back of a T-shirt—create the shape of a butterfly! As the blog tutorial explains, you can use a washable marker to help you with the lines of a complex design like this one.
36. Turn your T-shirt into an easy bathing suit cover-up.
Getting ready to hit the beach? Make sure you check out this easy tutorial before you do so you can be as fashionable as possible while you’re strolling along the shore!
37. Cut a simple heart shape.
This is a simple design, but it’s very cute, and provides great ventilation to keep your back cool on those really hot days!
38. Macramé a T-shirt.
While this tee looks fancy, it is actually a pretty simple macramé design. Check out the blog where it was originally posted and you will see that there are only a few steps involved.
39. Cut out a checkered pattern for your T-shirt sleeve.
With this tutorial, you learn how to create a checkered pattern in the sleeve of your T-shirt. While you could do this with both sleeves, I personally love that she only did it with one and left the other off-the-shoulder. It makes for an edgier look.
40. Cut out both sides of your T-shirt’s neckline.
Here is another tutorial from the same talented DIYer who brought us the previous video with the checkered sleeve. With this one, you find out how to cut out both sides of the neckline of your shirt, leaving strips of fabric to connect the sleeves.
41. Make a T-shirt with a faux corset back.
If you like the look of a corset, you can replicate it with this T-shirt reconstruction project on YouTube. The end result looks spectacular!
42. Make an elaborate design out of the back of your tee.
The back of this T-shirt looks incredibly elaborate, but this tutorial is detailed enough that you can easily see how it is done. What a cool, breezy, sexy look for summer!
43. Here is another way you can make a skull cutout.
Those who enjoyed the skull cutout idea shared earlier will also love this one! Here you take an entirely different approach and achieve a very different effect, but it is one which is equally cool!
44. Cut fringes into a T-shirt and do some bleaching (or dying) for a really awesome effect.
Looking for a fast and easy project to update your look? Just cut fringes out of the bottom of a tee, and then dip-dye or bleach the fringes to show them off.
45. Shred your sleeves.
This tutorial teaches you how you can shred the sleeves of a T-shirt for a very unique look. I also love the way she dyed this shirt—the combination of the dye and the shredding really work well together.
46. Lace sleeves and a heart-shaped cutout.
This shirt has a few modifications made to it. The original sleeves have been removed and replaced by lace sleeves, and a heart shape has been cut out of the back. Lace has then been stitched into the heart to fill it in. It looks great!
47. Cut a spiderweb shape.
This idea comes from Pinterest, and entails cutting the shape of a spiderweb into the back of your T-shirt. This design looks like it would take a fair amount of planning and effort, but the finished result is very dramatic and worth every minute!
48. Make this totally awesome pattern on your sleeves.
So this one is not a T-shirt … but it is way too cool not to include here on this list. Plus, you can see that she used a technique that I have already shared to do the pattern on the sleeves, and it looks amazing!
49. Create a pattern like a ribcage.
The idea with this T-shirt modification is to cut a design which looks a bit like a spine and a ribcage. There are some more literal interpretations of this concept which I will share with you later in the list, but this one has a cool abstract look to it.
50. Fashion a lace-up blouse.
Here is a simple idea to modify a blouse so that it laces up in the front for a soft, romantic look. You could also take this idea and transfer it to a T-shirt.
51. Make a dream catcher design.
I have chased this image all over the web and still have not found the original source, but the dream catcher design is way too awesome not to share with you. Also notice the nice bright contrast with the orange.
51. Here is another interpretation of the ribcage concept.
Originally this modified sweatshirt was posted on Etsy. The member left, so the original source link is no longer available, but thankfully the image is still floating around. Very cool design, and would look great on a tee.
52. Get plenty of airflow with this design.
This is another design by the same Etsy artist who made the shirt above. This would be such a cool, breezy design for summer!
53. Use your friendship bracelet skills.
Enjoy braiding friendship bracelets? Here is an idea that you will love. Make one long braid and use it to tie the open side of a modified T-shirt. This look is really vibrant and fun!
54. Make a simple braid up the back of your shirt.
Here we have a great T-shirt modification which has a simple braid running along the back, leaving most of the back of the shirt wide open. There is a full tutorial at the source link.
55. Even the simplest cut-out can look amazing.
This T-shirt has largely been left alone, but the collar has been given some simple modifications, adding some unique flair.
56. Turn your T-shirt into a tank top the quick and easy way.
Wish you had more tank-tops in your closet? If you have some old tees you don’t mind modifying, maybe you can. This tutorial teaches you how you can turn a T-shirt into a tank top with just a few quick cuts.
57. Make a cool crisscross pattern on your sleeves.
Here is a design that I am absolutely in love with! This is a top available for sale, but it doesn’t look like a really hard idea to replicate—though you would have to do a very nice, neat job to get this look. It would probably be smart to draw the lines with a washable marker before you make the cuts.
58. Here is a cute, simple, flirty idea.
This T-shirt has a couple of cute modifications, making it the perfect flirty garment for summer. The best part however is that you can do it all without ever touching a needle and thread!
59. This simple pattern is absolutely stunning.
This looks like a very easy idea since it is essentially just several rows of small cuts. It emphasizes the collar and the shape of the shirt beautifully, and would be easy to modify to fit your artistic vision.
60. Make a fabulous T-shirt necklace.
What happens if you cut away so much of a T-shirt that only thin strips are left? Well, you get something like a necklace or a kind of loose, light scarf. Actually, it looks ridiculously cool! Wear it over top of another modified T-shirt, and enjoy making a fabulous fashion statement. The source link includes a tutorial.
61. Make an even more realistic backbone cut-out design.
This shirt for sale gives you another idea for how you could approach the spine/backbone shirt design concept. I love how detailed this one is!
62. Create no-sew T-shirt bows.
Like the look of bows on a T-shirt, but don’t want to stitch them on? It turns out you don’t have to! This extremely clever tutorial teaches you how you can get the same look without any sewing!
63. Here is another awesome idea for shredding a T-shirt.
With this shirt, a panel down the front has been shredded completely. A contrasting top is worn underneath, creating a bold contrast and emphasizing the design.
64. Adding studs to a T-shirt can make for a very polished look.
The studs are essential to this design, both because of the finished look they create and because they functionally are holding the strips together. This makes the pattern easy to cut since you are just making a series of vertical strips.
65. Emphasize your figure with a back-braided tee.
What I love about this design is that the cutting and tying is confined to the lower part of the shirt, starting around the waistline. This emphasizes the waist and the hips, bringing shape to a previously shapeless garment while still making for a loose, casual look on top.
66. Here is a similar tied-back tee tutorial.
You have probably noticed that I have included a number of tutorials from Wobisobi. This is because there are a ton of amazing T-shirt tutorials on the site. So after you have checked out these ones, I highly suggest heading to the blog and checking out some more. Anyway, this idea is similar to the one above, and once again does a wonderful job emphasizing the wearer’s curves.
67. Try this one-shoulder double-tied T-shirt modification for a fun no-sew project.
This clever no-sew project is fast and easy and comes out looking great. I especially love the way the shirt now drapes across the back. It looks very elegant!
68. Cut out a dramatic web design.
This is a simple spiderweb design, though the way it has stretched out, it looks more abstract and organic to me. In any case, it looks totally awesome worn over a bright, contrasting color. You could do this design across the front or back or even the sides of a tee.
Conclusion: These Cute T-Shirt Transforms Are the Key to Fun, Flirty Fashion This Summer
Now that you’ve seen all these awesome ideas for modifying boring old T-shirts into something awesome, I bet you’re not looking at your wardrobe the same way anymore, are you? Suddenly all those old tees you were thinking of donating or throwing away are crafting opportunities! So grab your scissors, your needle and thread, and your creativity, and try out a few of these tutorials! Soon you’ll be rocking the sweetest cutout T-shirts around!