Upcycling clothing: How can I upcycle/revamp a vest top (tank top)?

Those who follow my simple/DIY living blog The Really Good Life as well as Recycle This will know that I’m doing a clothes rationing exercise in 2011. For those that don’t know, I’ve limited myself to buying a maximum of 12 items of clothing – be it brand new or second-hand – across the year. I didn’t think an outright “buy no clothes in 2011″ ban would be realistic due to the gaps in my current wardrobe (no smart clothes, few jumpers that fit) or because of wear and tear throughout the year — but as it happens, since I implemented my quota and got incredibly conscious about using up my allowance, I’ve not bought anything at all so far.

I do keep getting flashes of “something new would be nice”. Since the start of the challenge, I’ve regularly done exercises to “shop from my wardrobe” — sorting through my existing shirts or tops to remind myself what I’ve got, what fits, what needs repairing and mentally linking items together into outfits. But by the end of winter, I was still getting a bit bored of the few jumpers/hoodies I own (especially as the hoodies are very same-y) and now, after a warmer than expected Spring, I’m already getting a little tired of my t-shirts.

Then at the weekend, I spotted a how-to which started my mind cogs working. In that tutorial they used doilies to make cute short sleeves/shoulder accents for vest tops (aka sleeveless shirt, tank top, singlet, or camisole – the outerwear, t-shirt like version rather than underwear). I’m not sure I’m a doily type of girl but I have a number of cute (or even just plain but nice coloured) vest tops that would be made considerably more wearable with the addition of some sleeves, new straps or a little more support/coverage around the cleavage area. (I usually wear the vest tops underneath other tops or shirts to disguise these defects but when it’s warm, I don’t want to wear multiple layers.)

So I started looking around for some other vest top revamp ideas. I found some more ideas for adding mini sleeves onto vest tops; I could combine two vests – making sleeves, a length extension and a boob-cover up from one all sewn onto the other. There are also the usual ideas for hiding stains or embellishing plain tops too, to add more excitement to the festivities.

Before I go snip happy with my pinking shears, I’d love to hear more ideas though – have you revamped any vest tops into something more covering or just something fresh and new? Have you seen any how-tos or inspirational ideas?

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7 Responses to “Upcycling clothing: How can I upcycle/revamp a vest top (tank top)?”


  1. Su says:

    I caught a favourite t shirt on a hawthorn a tore a small hole in it. It now has a very unbotanical vine embroidered up it with appliqued flowers on, one of which is strategically placed over said hole.

  2. Anonymous says:

    this person makes cute tank top dresses. I love the Betty Boop fabric.
    http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=379736.0
    http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=379498.0

  3. Alice says:

    I finally got around to trying some bleach splatter dying today. The results are here http://alice-in-blogland.blogspot.com/2011/05/feeling-creative.html

  4. Medeea says:

    I think the easiest and nicest way to wear them would be with some lacy blouse on top. Or something that is more see through.

    Or wear a belted shirt on top. Goes nicely with a skirt.
    Or some knitted blouse in a contrasting colour.

  5. Traci Myers says:

    I have made a mini skirt with a tank top before. Yours look like jersey, t-shirt fabric, so you probably wouldn’t even need to hem. Cut it off at the length you need, stitch up the side so it’s a nice fit and you’re done! Check out my upcycled clothing blogs!http://frayedandfabulous.com/

  6. kfh says:

    sew closed the bottom – or trim & hem further up if you don’t want such a deep one – and you have a handy shopping bag.

  7. beeatrice94 says:

    I have a friend from canada with good canadian credit but she wants to buy a US car and can’t get a US loan.



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