Published on October 10th, 2012 | by Becky Striepe1
How-to: Add a bow collar to a plain t-shirt
Fancy up a thrift store t-shirt with an oversized bow!
One of the things I love about thrifting is not just finding that cool vintage dress but when I run across something that’s screaming to be something else. It only took about an hour and change to add this bow detail to my thrifted tee, and I love how it turned out! Here’s how you can make your own.
Add a Bow Collar to a T-Shirt
- Old t-shirt with a boatneck or narrow neckline
- 1 yard of eco-friendly fabric – I used a linen remnant from a custom order.
- fabric scissors
- sewing machine, thread, measuring tape
1. Cut out 4 identical pieces for your bow and iron them. You can do this two ways: either cut simple rectangles or have your bows taper out at the bottom. I went for a tapered bow. Each piece should be 40″ long and 2.5″ wide. If you’re cutting a bow that will be wider at the bottom, you just want the last 4-5″ to taper, and the width at the wide end should be around 4.5″.
2. Pair up your bow pieces, and sew the narrow end of each pair together, like this:
3. Open up your sewn-together pieces and cut the seams open. You should not have two long strips of fabric. Pin them right sides together, and sew all the way around, leaving about a 2″ gap so that you can where you sewed the narrow ends together. Flip your bow right side out, and iron again, then top stitch the opening closed, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
4. With your t-shirt right-side out, pin your ribbon around the neck of the shirt. The seam where you sewed the two skinny ends together is the center, so for an off-center bow, you want to pin this off to one side. For a centered bow, center this part on the back of the neck. You want the bottom of the bow to line up with the top edge of the t-shirt. Pin it like this:
5. Sew the bow to the neckline of the shirt so that it goes almost all the way around. You want to leave about a 3.5″ so that you can tie it up and so the neckline will still have a little bit of stretch – you need to get your head through there! When you’re done, flip up the collar that you just added and give it a press with your iron, tie and arrange your bow, and you’re ready to rock!
You can also just tie it in a knot, for a little bit of a different look. Yay for upcycled clothing that’s versatile, too!