Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIY Anthropology Tee.

Hey, I'm up and running again after a bit of some computer problems. : )

I just finished up a top that I am just crazy for.  

The inspiration for this top came from this lovely number at

I adore that it is a super simple tee in the front with a very feminine surprise in the back.  Very well designed.

 I just love it, but with the low reviews (reviewers say it was waaay too big) coupled with the price, I just couldn't bring myself to purchase. 

So I made my own out of an old t shirt and some chiffon fabric. 

Anthropology's version cost $88. 
Mine cost me $5 plus an evening with the old sewing machine. (Fabric from Hancock Fabric)
Not too bad, yeah? : )

This shirt is so comfy, and spices up my day to day wardrobe perfectly.  
Paired with some skinnies and some flats, I'm good to go. 


So I went from this...

to this in just a few short hours. : )  


The dolman style sleeves makes this super quick and pain free.  
Ready to make your own?   I'll show you how..

Just click below to expand the entire tutorial and to see this top dressed up. 

DIY Anthropology Tee

Here's what you will need:
  • Big tee shirt (Men's XL or larger) with minimal design on it.  
  • ~ 1 Yard of printed chiffon fabric
  • A jersey shirt of yours that fits on the looser side (You will use this to make your pattern)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Fabric Marker
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine, Thread

First, you will want to cut down the middle of the front of your t shirt (length wise) to make one big piece of fabric.  

Here's mine cut open, and laying flat as possible. 

Time to mark and cut out our shirt. Place the shirt that fits you on the big tee shirt like the picture below. 
 I put the top of my fitted shirt on the bottom of the big tee to maximize my fabric. 

Using your fabric marker, draw around the fitted shirt, adding 1 inch seam allowances.  Note, I wanted my finished shirt to have a rounded bottom, so I lengthened and rounded the bottom of my tee. (See the picture below.)

After you finished marking your shirt, cut it out. It should look something like this:

 Yes, my sleeves are a bit long here, but I will trim them down later. : )

Using what you just cut out as a guide, cut out your chiffon fabric. 

Now, we'll cut out the neckline of your shirt.

Fold your front fabric in half lengthwise.  Do the same for your fitted shirt.  Use your fitted shirt as a guide and mark the neckline on your fabric.  

Cut the neckline out.

For the back of your soon to be shirt, just slightly round the back neckline of your shirt like so:

Now on to sewing! 

Since we are using chiffon fabric, we will need to do a french seam.  Yes, I said a french seam.  Don't Panic! If you can sew a seam, you can sew a french seam.Chiffon frays. Alot. French seams will make sure you have lovely seams without all the messy fraying.  When making a french seam, you are simply encasing a seam within a seam. It's really quite easy.  I'll show you how. : ) 

With WRONG sides together,  pin your shoulder seams and the side seams (which extends to the underarm seams as well) together. (See Photo below)

With WRONG sides together, Sew 1/2 inch seam on the shoulder seams and the side seams that you just pinned. (Remember, the side seam extends to the underarm seam as well). 

Trim your seam allowances to be 1/4 of an inch or a tad less.

Flip your shirt so that right sides are together.  (Shirt will be inside out). Press all seams. 

Now with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER,  sew all your seams again (shoulder and side seams), using a 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch seam allowance.  You want to make sure you are encasing all the raw edges of your fabric.  

Hooray! You just made a lovely French Seam. You're almost done! Time to finish the neckline.

To give the neckline a nice finish, you will add a bias strip around the neckline.
So we'll make a bias strip that is long enough to cover your neckline (plus 4 inches for seam allowances).  Measure how many inches your neckline on your shirt is around.  (Mine was 20 inches).   Add four inches to your neckline length.  This is how long you want your bias strip to be (mine was 24 inches).
The bias strip should be 2 inches wide.

Make sure to measure and cut your bias strip on the bias (I usually just cut it a 45 degree angle from the edge) Using a ruler, draw a rectangle that is that is the length you just figured out by two inches wide.  Mine was 24 inches by 2 inches.

Fold your bias strip in half, length wise and press. When folded, You should have a long bias strip that is 1 inch wide.

Make sure your shirt is still turned inside out.
Leaving 2 inches of bias strip at the beginning unpinned, pin the bias strip to your shirt with the raw edge of your bias strip touching the raw edge of your neckline.

You should have two extra inches of bias strip on both the beginning and ending of your strip.  You will want to sew the ends of your bias strip together so that you will have one continuous strip to go around your neckline. You can do it the right way, or the lazy, quick, and absolutely incorrect way (which is how I did it for this top).   ; )
Here is a tutorial on how to make your bias strip a continous loop the right way (scroll down to where she explains Connecting to form a continuous loop.)

I did it the lazy and incorrect way.. Here's how..
After I pinned my bias strip on, I measure where the two ends should meet, and I mark that on both ends.  
Next, put right sides of the bias tape together, and sew the ends of the bias strip together in a straight line.  I know this isn't the "right way" but it works just fine. : )  If you need more instructions, let me know! (I forgot to get a pic of this step. Whoops!) 

Sew or serge your bias strip to the neckline using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  

Turn your shirt right side out.  Fold your bias strip over to the front of the neckline. Pin in place. 

Still with your shirt right side out, sew your bias strip onto your neckline; sew as close to the edge of your bias strip as you can. 

Done with the neckline! Let's finish up.

You just need to hem your sleeve opening and the bottom of your shirt. : )
Trim your sleeves to your desired length.  With your shirt inside out, Fold the raw edge of your sleeve opening down 1/4 of an inch. Press.
 Fold over another 1/2 inch and press. Pin the hem in place.

Do the same for your bottom  of your shirt.
Fold fabric 1/4 inch down. Press.
Fold another 1/2 inch down. Press.  Pin the hem in place.

Sew both the sleeve hem and the bottom of your shirt hem down. 

You're done. : )

Dressed up or dressed down, it's my new favorite tee.



  1. This is so cool! Thank you for such a great tutorial. I'm definitely giving this shirt revamp a try.

  2. What a great way todesign your own shirt! I think I'm going to have to get my wife onto this page and see if she can whip one up herself! Many thanks....

  3. Thanks for the inspiration! We featured you on our blog today if you would like to check it out at

    Thanks again!!

  4. thanks for sharing.


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