T-shirt Refashion With Lace – Eco Fashion Sewing

T-shirt Refashion With Lace

by Mariana Kirova

This tutorial follows 5 steps on how to refashion your favourite T-shirt with lace embellishment in no time.

The front lace appliqué and sleeves extensions are done by using lace ribbons, different widths, within the same or other complimentary colour/s.

The suggested refashion is a very good method for covering big mark/spots at the chest area on any type of woman’s blouse with clean and simple design.

You can add lace or other material depending on the available resources or the preferences.

T-shirt Refashion With Lace



My client had a very specific casual everyday style, which restricted my options for this makeover. What happened was that I had similar colour lace ribbons and flowers from another project. In this case was important as my client had to travel the same day and couldn’t wait until I find matching materials.

Keeping within the same colour palette convinced her to agree and that is how made the refashion possible, despite lace was generally unusual material for my client’s taste.

I find convenient to keep materials, trims and fabric leftovers from my favourite colour/s palette. When I have idea for a project, I can easily find bits and pieces with different textures, yet within the same colour/s. I can begin immediately and catch the wave of inspiration when is there. Sometimes that is a good tactic to do and finish a project rather than leave it for later.

That’s how the initial phase went well. I had all the materials, thus when I pinned and showed roughly what the final look is going to be, my client approved and I began the work. Visualizing things can help a lot sometimes;)

Otherwise, this pretty colour T-shirt would have had rather pity life as an underwear tee for cooler months just because of the unpleasant spot. With the refashion, however, by extending the T-shirt’s life as a beautiful feminine top, it has a bit more years to delight its owner.

Tools & Materials:
  • Corresponding colour lace flowers;
  • Fusible interlining for knitted fabrics;
  • Air erasable pen;
  • Corresponding colour thread;
  • Needle for knit fabric (or ball point needle) size 80/12;
  • Basic sewing tools & sewing machine.

T-shirt Refashion With Lace

Additionally, you can use straight stitch with middle stitch length. A stretch stitch on domestic machine also is fine. I recommend you to use knit fusible interlining/facing, because it has good stretch in contrast to woven and non-woven ones. For this T-shirt transformation, as well as for any type of stretch fabric project that includes interlining, is critical to retain the stretch. By using knit fusible the top in the chest area didn’t change much at the end, which is the best that can be achieved.


Step 1:  Arrange the flowers and mark the outline


Arrange the flowers and mark the middle of each flower on the right side and the outline of the appliqué on the wrong side of the T-shirt.

Marking the middle of each flower on the right side will help with step 3 when sewing the flowers. Outlines on the wrong side will guide you what shape to cut the fusible interfacing.

Take a picture of the final appliqué arrangement on your smart phone. Later on you’ll put it back together very easy.


Step 2: Cut and press the fusible




Place the fusible inside the garment – with the adhesive side against the wrong side. Cut accordingly to the marked appliqué outlines. To secure your work, you can transfer the markings from the T-shirt on to the fusible material and cut afterwards.

Pre-set the iron temperature according to the manufacturers instructions (which you can find on the care label inside the garment). Be careful not to burn your work. Hence, first check the iron temperature on similar piece of fabric, just in case if something goes wrong.

Press firmly and hold for about 15 mins, so the adhesive part of the fusing melts and stick to the wrong side of the T-shirt. If possible, do the pressing at once. Check on the outside and if you see ‘bubbles’ of unglued spots, press again until the adhesive is applied fully.

The picture of the fusible gives good idea what the material looks like. Seems rather transparent nevertheless it is a good quality knit fusible with important ability to stretch. This is what you have to use with knit fabrics – if the fabric you’d fuse stretches, the fusing should stretch too. Additionally, if your top is lighter colour use only white fusible, not black. Read more about the types of fusible interlining/facing in this tutorial.

Step 3: Sew the flowers


Sew the flowers. After applying the fusible interlining, pin the lace embellishment back on the T-shirt and sew it one by one. Sew circle around the centre of each flower and short straight line on some of the petals. Do not sew a closed circular stitch around the flowers edges. You want to retain the elasticity of the knit fabric, but also to achieve a better 3D look of the applique, right?

Take your time before sewing and think of your next step. Unstitching knit materials usually ends in holes in the fabric. Therefore, if you are unsure and don’t feel confident, you’d better find a similar knit fabric scrap and try sewing some lace pieces to see how it works.

Sampling with similar fabric pieces often is great way to have a go and figure out what’s the best. No matter if you try a seam or part of a technique that you want to apply.


Step 4: Apply lace extension to the sleeves


The lace width may vary. You can use wide lace ribbon or rectangles cut from a leftover lace fabric piece. Needless to say, you can skip this step and finalize your work. However, my client did not reject sleeve extension idea yet found it interesting.

If you also choose to continue, first measure the sleeve hem circumference and add a little bit more.

Then stitch the lace on top of the sleeve hem by leaving 2cm at the beginning and end of the seam. Also: match along the sleeve seam with the lace seam to look like one seam.


Next, close the lace extension and top stitch from the right side by folding the seam allowance towards back of the T-shirt. Then finalize and stitch the seam which joins the sleeve to the extension.

That method of not finishing the joined seam and leaving it for after closing the sleeve extensions, will enable you to align both at the end.

Do not stretch or gather the sleeve when sew, otherwise the final look will be distorted – stretched or gathered. Lay the sleeve flat and relaxed, place the lace on top and stitch on top of the sleeve hem seam.

I used normal straight stitch, yet you may choose the stretch stitch of your domestic machine, if you already know it will give you better result.


Troubleshooting: How my fusible needed fixing


There’s always some adjustments to be done at the final stage.

When I was cutting the fusible, I made it bigger than the lace appliqué shape, then I pressed and applied to the T-shirt. Just after sewing the flowers I noticed how visible from the right side was the contour of the adhesive. Realizing what actually happened, I had only one thing to do – to make it work.

To fix it I adjusted the shape of the fusible. I pulled carefully the edges and cut them out.

Now nothing was seen from the right side and the added material was hidden behind the appliqué. What a relieve, don’t you think? After pressing the outline edges again the bad was fixed;) Lesson learned.

Nevertheless, don’t expect your work to be perfect.  Just think of the main steps and how you can achieve what you want.  Make samples, try seams and materials whenever you feel uncomfortable to go further. And keep in mind, your sewing “six sense” can be a good buddy-adviser, so don’t ignore it;)

It will be interesting to hear your comments. Have you ever strengthened a knit fabric project by adding adhesive material? What happened?



Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others making their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.

  • This is a great way to cover up a stain, Mariana.

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