How Do You Make A T-Shirt Into A Tank Top Without Sewing

Want to turn that old t-shirt into something new and exciting? Make a cool tank top out of it in a few simple steps!

There must be quite a few t-shirts lying around in your wardrobe that you don’t wear anymore, or maybe you have never worn to begin with. So, instead of throwing them out or letting them stay stacked there, turn them into tank tops. 

Read on to know how to turn a t-shirt into a tank top without sewing.

How To Turn A T-shirt Into A Tank Top Without Sewing?

You can turn a t-shirt into a basic or racerback tank top. In both cases, you will have to cut the t-shirt in the shape of the tank top before gluing up the edges with fabric glue. You can choose not to use glue as well because the jersey material of the t-shirts does not fray.

Materials Required:

You will need the following tools to turn your t-shirt into a tank top:

  • An old tank top (if possible)
  • A t-shirt
  • Straight pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue

Now, you can make two types of tank tops from your t-shirts, i.e., either a basic tank top or a racerback tank top. Read on to know the steps for each type.

Make A Basic Tank Top From A T-shirt

Once you have all the tools ready, let’s start with these simple steps to turn your t-shirt into a basic tank top.

Step 1: Use An Old Tank Top As Your Template

Though you can still make a tank top without using any template, it helps to have an old tank top as a reference point. Since you will be using that as a model, ensure that its fit is right and it feels comfortable when you wear it. 

Step 2: Select A T-shirt That You’re Okay With Cutting

Select the t-shirt you want to cut and turn that inside out. If you are not looking for a fitted tank top, it’s okay if the t-shirt does not fit well. In case you are using a brand-new t-shirt, you will have to wash and dry it before using. Fabric shrinks a bit after it gets the first wash. So, you would want the tee to be the correct size before you start cutting it up. 

Step 3: Start Ironing Both The T-shirts

You need to iron both the tank top and the t-shirt to remove all wrinkles. Do this even when your shirts look all smooth and nice because smoothing the fabric with the iron will make it easier to handle.

Step 4: Put The Old Tank Top Over The T-shirt

Lay your t-shirt flat over a table, and put the tank top over that. Now, align the shoulders of both the shirts, while making sure that their front part is turned upward.

Step 5: Use Straight Pins To Secure The Shirts

Next up, you will have to put straight pins along the edge of the tank top to make sure that it does not move. Also, make sure to pierce the pin through every layer of both the shirts. It will help to make sure that the shirts do not move, and the cutting is even.

Step 6: Begin Cutting Up The T-shirt

Now, use the neckline and armholes of the tank top as your guide to cut your t-shirt. If you want the look of a finished hem around the neckline and armholes, leave about half an inch of seam allowance. Though t-shirts do not fray and don’t need this allowance (also you are not sewing it), leaving the seam allowance will make it look better.

In case you are not using your tank top as your guide, remember the collar and sleeves off the t-shirt. Also, remember to fold the t-shirt in half before you cut it, such that both the sides are even. 

Step 7: Trim the armholes and front neckline wider

Get the pins out from the old tank top and put it aside. But do not turn the t-shirt’s right side out until you are done with all the steps. At this point, you can cut the armholes wider if you want.

There are tank tops that are higher in the back and lower in the front. The same thing applies for the armholes. Additionally, do not trim off too much because you plan to keep that finished hem kind of look with half an inch of seam allowance.

Step 8: Folding The Edges And Ironing Them

You need to fold all the edges down, and get them pinned in one place. Next, you have to use an iron to press them flat. Now, fold all the edges by half an inch, and secure those folds using straight pins. Afterward, use your iron to press the folds flat. While folding, ensure that you’re folding the edges outside and not inside. 

You can choose not to do this step if you want the edges to look unhemmed and raw. As such, t-shirts do not fray because they are made of jersey material.

Step 9: Use Fabric Glue On The Folded Edges

Before you buy and put the fabric glue directly on the clothes, test on a few scraps to ensure that you have the right fabric glue for your purpose.

Next, use small amounts of glue on the seam to get the two pieces joined together. Using a small amount will make the glue dry fast without making the fabric too thick. In addition to that, remember never to put double the glue on top of one another. Also, do not move that fabric after its liquid stitch is on. 

Make A Racerback Tank Top From A T-shirt

Is a basic tank top way too simple for you? Then, what you need is a racerback tank top. So, after you are done with steps two and three from the previous section (minus the old tank top), follow the next ones given here.

Step 1: Cut And Keep Aside The Hem Of The T-shirt

Start cutting along the bottom hem of the t-shirt, and use the stitching as your guide. After you are done, you will get a nice and long fabric ring. Now, cut the ring apart from one of its side seams. You have a long fabric strand in hand at present. Keep it aside to use it later on the tank top.

Step 2: Start Trimming The Armholes’ Back In Proper Shape

You need to turn your t-shirt over such that you are facing its back. Then, keep trimming the back of those armholes until a couple of inches of fabric is left in between. 

You do not need to cut the armholes right in front of your t-shirt. Remember to cut the exact same amount from both sides of your shirt.

Step 3: Cut The Back Of The T-shirt In A Deep V-shape

Locate the center at the back of the t-shirt, and cut a deep V-shape. Also, make sure that the point of the V-shape stays between the two armholes. It will help you keep that fabric from getting bunched up while tying up. Additionally, remember not to cut the t-shirt from the front, and only cut the back. As such, racerbacks come with a plain collar at the front.

When you want a plain racerback, it is okay to skip this particular step, and wear the new racerback. If you want a fancier racerback, follow the given steps.

Step 4: Create The Rope Back Of The Racerback

Tie the end of the fabric strand below the V-shape. For that, you need to locate the bottom of that V-shape and measure a couple of inches. Now, take that fabric strand you had cut earlier, and get it tied around that particular point.  

This fabric strand needs to gather the fabric right between the two arm holes at the back of the t-shirt. Keep tying the fabric strand until the armholes become a rope.

Step 5: Give A High-low Look To The Bottom Of The Top

Trim the bottom of the tank top to bring a high-low look. Now, spread your t-shirt down sideways, such that you only get to see the armhole, the side seam, and half of the back and front. Next, turn the folded front part of the t-shirt.

Then, measure a couple of inches, and cut downward towards the t-shirt’s back. After you are done, the shirt will look short in the front, and long in the back. 

How To Buy The Right Kind Of Fabric Glue?

You will have to understand the features of the fabric glue before you buy it. For instance, you will need a permanent fabric glue for making tank tops out of t-shirts. Also, you need to figure out whether you are more comfortable with heat-set or cold-set glue.

Wrapping Up

And that’s all you need to know about making a tank top out of a t-shirt. Go ahead and get yourself a new tank top now from that old t-shirt you have lying around.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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