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Re-Purposing: Baseball Style Tee from Men’s Tshirts

I have a little 2 1/2 year old that loves a new mommy creation just as much as big sister.  And sometimes I find him trying on her dresses and headbands, just because mommy made them and I’m making a fuss over them.  He wants in on the action too.
Today is all about him.
And a new boy idea.
So, I made him a little baseball style tee, made from 2 old Tshirts. 

(This style is just as darling on girls too.  So go for it……girly it up!)
And the little nut was as happy as ever, to have something new that I created all for him. 

And if you look closely, that little submarine is appliqued right to the shirt…….from some of the Tshirt scraps.

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You know those boys, they need something comfy to go exploring in.
Tshirts are perfect for that.
Homemade ones are even better.
A great 2 color baseball-style Tee…….great for the little guys.
And because the shirt is made from 2 old Tshirts, there was no hemming involved.
Much simpler.
Would you like to create your own Baseball Style Tee? 


Find a couple of old Tshirts that you’re wanting to get rid of.
(Don’t have any?  Check out your local thrift store…)
Then grab a Tshirt that fits your little guy to use as a pattern.  Place pins up at the neck and down at the armpit seam……..and imagine 2 angled lines that will create the shape of your shirt.  This is how your shirt will be divided.  Make sure that each pin up at the neck line is the same distance away from the shoulder of the shirt.  (If you place a ruler down along these imaginary lines, you will get an idea of how the line will look.  Be careful when placing your neck pins……you don’t want to place them too close together or the sleeve section will come in too close and will crowd the center section of the shirt.)
(If you are using an old shirt that you don’t want anymore, you could actually cut up the shirt into these 3 sections to use as pattern pieces…..but I still want that little green shirt, so I had to work around it.)
Then I folded the shirt in half (with the back of the shirt on the outside) and placed it on a folded piece of paper……..fold of the shirt placed on the fold of the paper.  My pins are still there on the shirt and I am still imagining that imaginary line from the neck pin to the armpit pin.  Then I traced around the main section of the shirt……..minus the collar.  Be sure to add another 1/4 inch or so all the way around (except along the fold), as your seam allowance.  Whatever seam allowance you choose, be consistent and use that same dimension from now on.  (And I wanted my shirt a little longer too… I made the pattern piece a bit longer.)
Then cut out the shape and open it up.  Now you have your main shirt pattern piece.
Now, do the same thing with the sleeve.  Keep that imaginary line in mind and trace around the sleeve shape…….minus the collar.  And again, the fold along the top of the sleeve should be lined up along the fold of the paper.  (Don’t forget to add a seam allowance around all of the edges except along the top folded edge.)
Once you cut it out and open it up, your sleeve shape should look similar to the one below, and the pieces should be the same length along the inner arm, where you will be sewing them together.  Adjust your pattern pieces if necessary.
Then, with the pattern piece opened up, cut out two pieces of your main shape, matching up the bottom of the pattern piece with the bottom hem of the old Tshirt.  Now you don’t have to hem then bottom.
Then cut out 2 of the sleeve shape, matching up the bottom of the pattern shape with the hem of the other old Tshirt.
Now place one of your sleeves along one of the main shirt pieces, matching up the inner arm seam with right sides of fabric together.  Sew into place, using the seam allowance that you provided yourself with in the previous steps.
Do the same with the other sleeve.  Now both sleeves should be attached and look like the image below.  (I used a serger but you can create this shirt with a zig-zag stitch.  Remember, if the knit is bunching up a bit under your needle, increase your stitch length and try again.  Sew slowly.  And try other stitch options, like explained here.)
Now, attach the back main piece to the other edge of the sleeves, making sure that you are sewing right sides together.  After all of the pieces are sewn together, it should look like this on the wrong side of the fabric.
Now, because I traced around the green Tshirt from above, using the back side of the Tshirt, both sides of the neck line are up high.  So I just trimmed down the neck line just a bit……..simply because Tshirts necklines generally go down just a bit for comfort.  You could have created a whole different pattern piece for this earlier on……..or just trim it down at this point like I did.
(Also, at this point, make sure that the opening isn’t too small.  Remember you will be adding about 1/2 inch or so of a ribbed neckline……and you don’t want the opening to be too small to go over a head.  And if it’s too big… may look a little strange and you may have to start again.)
Then cut the neckline ribbing off one of the old Tshirts, as close to the lower seam as possible.  (Or pick it out if you need more fabric.)
Because this neckline ribbing was from a men’s Tshirt, I had to make it a little smaller for my shirt.  Measure it around your neckline opening and adjust if necessary.  (Or cut out a strip of ribbing if you have some and fold it in half lengthwise.)
Then pin it to the neck opening of the shirt, pinning the two raw edges together with right sides together.
Then, sew all the way around those 2 raw edges, using a zig-zag stitch or a serged seam.
Now turn the shirt right side out, fold the inside seam down towards the bottom of the shirt and then *topstitch right below that outer seam that attaches the collar to the shirt……making sure to include that inner seam allowance that’s on the inside of the shirt.  This will keep your collar upright and in place.  Use a larger stitch length to allow for more stretch.  If you notice that your stitch is too tight and not allowing for any stretch, you can always put a cute zig-zag around the collar.
(*Top stitch is just a fancy word for sewing on top of the fabric, giving the clothing a nice finished look.)
Then steam your collar flat with your iron………I promise this will help shrink down the ribbing a good amount  if it has stretched and if your seam pulled at all while sewing.
Now, it’s time to add some interest to the front of the shirt.  (You can skip this if you want to.)
I placed some iron on adhesive to the wrong side of some of the blue fabric scraps. Then I printed out a submarine shape from the computer (image taken from my Silhouette program).  I cut out the submarine shapes and used them as pattern pieces to cut out the same shapes from my blue knit fabric with the adhesive on the back.
Then I placed the shapes on the front my shirt (with the adhesive side facing down) and then ironed them right to the shirt.
Then I stitched around each piece, securing them a bit extra to the shirt.
Then, I turned the shirt inside out, lined up the side edges of the shirt and sewed along both sides of the shirt.  I started at the end of one of the sleeves and sewed all the way down to the bottom of the shirt with one seam.  Then repeated on the other side.
Then I turned the shirt right side out, ironed and steamed all of my seams (trust me……this helps a ton) and then admired my little baseball style tee.
Cute as ever.

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Katie says:

    Tkank you so much for inspiration :)

  2. Malu says:

    Quick question, what kind of paper do you use to trace your patern?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to let you know I used his tute last night to turn my husband’s shirt (a special logo tee) into a kids’ small for my 6yo. It was easy to follow and gave me great results. I bookmarked it long ago, and I’m so glad!

  4. Kelly says:

    I have been making these for my boys and a little friend of theirs! I am making superhero themed ones for my three year old as I find old t-shirts in the right colors (thus far we have a captain america and a spiderman.) I made the most recent once with long sleeves, using the same method, since it’s fall now! He asks to wear them every day, which makes me feel like the coolest mom in the world! But, I was wondering, do you have any tips on how to get the collar to lay flat? I have ironed and steamed the heck out of them, but they still have “bacon neck” if I pull the ribbing too tight, or they roll into the tshirt if I let it feed naturally or only stretch it a little. They look fine, after all they are play shirts…but being the perfectionist I am, I’d love some advice if you have some. Yours all look so nice. :)

  5. Kelly says:

    I just made two of these yesterday for my boys! I’m addicted. :) I made mine with a Captain America star and my 3 year old LOVES it!! They were so quick and easy to make (even for this not-so-professional seamstress), and your tutorial was thorough and well-written. Thank you for posting all kinds of wonderful ideas for boys! It seems like so many books and blogs have TONS of girl ideas, so to have so many things for boys in one place is like a little gem on the web!

  6. Lisa L says:

    FOr those without sergers – I found using I could just use a straight stitch and stretch the fabric a bit as i went. A bigger zig zag stich just looked too funny on the seams. Thanks for such a cute shirt idea!

  7. Erica {B is for Boy} says:

    Yay! I've been looking for a great tutorial for one of these shirts! Thank you!

  8. April says:

    great tutorial! I used it to make a mama shirt :)

    and then added some freezer paper stenciling

    Thanks again!!!!

  9. Angie says:

    Such a great tutorial. You make the process seem so simple and less intimidating. I started this weekend to make a matching set for my little guys…boy #4 is on his way in a few weeks!

  10. Alise Jennings says:

    I became a facebook fan of GroopDealz.

  11. Alise Jennings says:

    I signed up for GroopDealz which I am so excited about. Never knew anything like this existed.

  12. Alise Jennings says:

    If I had a $100 dollar gift card to Target I would buy some picture frames and shelves to decorate my new house as well as my baby girl's room.

  13. angie says:

    This is fabulous! I love to find tutes for little BOY things. Your blog is great!

  14. Ashley says:

    Shannon – Sure, that's a great idea. I will try and post that sometime soon. That way you can see how the knit looks after a while.

    Thanks, I'm sure others wonder the same thing, if they have never attached the raw edged knit to their projects.


  15. Shannon says:

    Hey – I just have a question of curiousity for you. I noticed a lot of times you made designs on shirts (like the little sub) with raw edges. Have you ever or could you post picures of how well your adorable creations wear once they've been washed? Do you get many frayed edges and stuff after a while?

  16. Kristin says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Not only is the t-shirt great it is also very inspiring to follow your work.. so now you have at least one follower from Denmark!

  17. Kimie says:

    I have boys a year apart, so we have to make 2 of everything! I love this, cause out of two shirts, I can make them 2 baseball tees, each just a little different but still matching. Off to the dollar store for tees I go!

  18. the Corbin Clan says:

    I showed this to my son (4) and he went nuts telling me how much he wanted a submarine shirt! So I found 2 shirts and got to work. He was a little dissappointed at first that I used the yellow as the sleeves and the submarine and black for the main shirt (reversed your colors) but he absolutely loves it now! Thanks for the boys ideads! My son doesn't get nearly as much handmade stuff as my girls do and your ideas help a lot!

  19. Resweater says:

    This is awesome! I just posted on my blog my wool version of it, along with linking to your tutorial (let me know if you want me to add/change anything).

    Thank you for all the inspiration!

    Kris :)

    ~ Reuse, Recycle, Resweater! ~
    Blog ~
    Shop ~

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yah! Thank you so much! I have kind of been feeling bad because I'm always making things for my 2 girls and my 3 year old son is always making requests of me! I'm so excited to try this!

  21. Leia says:

    I'm going to try this once I'm done with the birthday gift I'm making.

  22. craft whatever says:

    Oh my goodness! I cannot wait to make this! Adding it to my Craft Bucket List, actually! adorable. adorable, and so boy!

  23. AmandaJean says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I made my little guy a shirt tonight during the Super Bowl and it turned out so cute! My daughter is raiding my closet to see what I can make her one out of next.

  24. Robie Dodson says:

    this is brilliant – thanks so much!

  25. Sara says:

    SO cute. I especially like the little submarine. great idea!

  26. says:

    what a great tute!

  27. Lisa says:

    Such a great idea. I just love your blog!! Thanks for all the great ideas.

  28. kellywanhainen says:

    Your little guy is SO CUTE. I can't get over him with his hands in his pockets!

  29. Valerie says:

    I have 2 little girls who LOVE to sleep in their dads old t-shirts. I am so stoked to have such a simple way to make them fit them better AND be cute. I'm going to lengthen the pattern as much as the tshirt will let me and make nightshirts–yeee ha! I'll be a hero!!! thanks!!

  30. marisa says:

    thank you for this!! I have a box of my husband's shirts waiting for a project!

  31. Ashley says:

    Kate…..great question and I added that info to the tutorial. But increase your stitch length and that will allow for more stretch. But if it's still too tight, you can use a cute zig-zag for detail…..or skip it all together and just steam/iron the collar in place really well.

  32. Wani says:

    This is such a great boys shirt! So cute!

  33. Kate says:

    What a great idea! One of my goals this year is to learn to sew with knits, this looks like a good project to try! One question- how does it work to topstitch the neckline – is it still stretchy enough to go over a head? Trying to figure out how knits work and I thought you weren't supposed to do straightstitching since it doesn't stretch…any thoughts on when it's ok to break that rule would've much appreciated!

  34. Maria D. @ DownrightDomesticity says:

    I just have to say, your little guy is SO CUTE! You can see the excitement on his face!

    And I am all about not having to hem. I'll have to save this project for when my baby is a little bigger!

  35. Katie says:

    This is great! Thank you!

  36. Lizzy's Nina says:


  37. Sparrow's says:

    I love this!!! Thank you so much! I think my boys may just get a few new shirts.

  38. sharon says:

    People have been giving me tshirts for months now, can hardly wait to get sewing!!!!

  39. aimee @ lily pad designs nz says:

    Wow, this is such a co-incidence, I posted a tutorial this week downunder here in NZ on how to make a women's style t-shirt. Added your link to my post to share around to others, great tutorial!!! x

  40. lotts to do says:

    I had just grabbed a couple of shirts this morning to make my 4 year old a shirt like this. But i'm using a mans graphic tee, & won't be able to use the hem. But thanks to you, I now have the idea to use the hem on the sleeves. Thanks a million.

  41. bethanndodd says:

    I love baseball style tees! What a great way to upcycle too. My boys will love it when I make them their own (no girls for me!) Thanks so much and hope you have a splendid weekend!

  42. the Corbin Clan says:

    You are so awesome! Your ideas never cease to amaze me. I just wish I had more time to try the things you make. This shirt is super cute and I wish I would have thought about doing this before I dumped all our old tshirts off at the thrift store!

  43. Erin says:

    Thank you for the clear instructions and all the accompanying photos. One of these days I will actually MAKE one of the great things I see here.

  44. {autie} says:

    my FAVORITE! I jump on anything baseball that I see…and now I can make my own! you're pure genious! thanks for that tut, I can't wait to try it!

  45. Mrs D says:

    This is an amazing and very detailed tutorial. thank you so much.

  46. Krystle... says:

    Thank you for posting this! I've been wondering how to make this style shirt for a while and didn't want to buy a pattern. I'm so glad I check in with you every day :)

  47. Mama Bear says:

    My three year old nephew does the same thing with my daughter's mommy made things. He's always asking for dresses and tutus because I made them.

    Thanks for the tutorial. You're ideas are never ending. :)

  48. Anonymous says:

    He is ADORABLE and so is the shirt!

  49. Cookie says:

    Oh wow! Another neat project added on my to-do list! This is sooooo cute! Thanks for sharing and be blessed always!

  50. Pam says:

    What a great idea! I'm new to your blog and am really enjoying it. Your little guy looks so happy to have a new shirt made by mommy. I have 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson. My grandson is the youngest, 2 1/2. I found that I was always sewing, embroidering and appliqueing for my granddaughters but little for my grandson until last summer. I bought a lot of plain t-shirts for him and added appliques to them. He absolutely loved them! So I've continued doing the same over winter. He now specifies every morning which of the shirts Nona made him that he will wear. I made him a simple Peter Pan outfit last week to wear to a Tinkerbell birthday party that he was attending. When he arrived at the party he declared in a loud voice "I'm Peter Pan, Nona made it!"

  51. mayG says:

    OMG!! i am in absolute AWE!
    how do you do it!

  52. Mama M says:

    I cannot believe you posted this today! I have been searching for a shirt like this for my boys first birthday forever (not even thinking I could make it!)


    Keep the boys stuff coming!

  53. Just Barb says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE boy sewing tutorials, and this one is PERFECT for my little rock star….and your son is just the cutest thing!! Thanks so much!

  54. Tinklknit says:

    What a great idea – and thanks for the instructions.

    So: never through away old clothings ;-)))

  55. Marjori says:

    Your little guy is just so darned CUTE I can't stand it!

    That doesn't sound right, but it is a good thing. lol

    Wish mine was still that little & fun! Now he's a pre-teen (ack!).


  56. Jessica says:

    Oh I love this. Can't wait to try it. I have lots of my husband's old shirts that I need to replace, but the ribbing at the neck is worn, did you say one can buy ribbing? Or is there another trick to make the neck finished looking?

  57. Taylor {Sew Much Love} says:

    You're a lifesaver! I was just this week trying to figure out what the pattern looked like for a baseball tee for my little girl! Thanks!

  58. Lydia Story says:

    Wow! You are incredible! You are so talented at repurposing and sewing in general!

  59. Kourtney says:

    Great shirt… I so need to make one of these for my little guy. Only a few more months and it will be warm enough for him to wear it!

  60. Rachel says:

    Very cute! I love new ideas for my son. I think he would really enjoy this, with a dinosaur on the front.

  61. Stuff by Ash says:

    Such a cute shirt! Love that you made your own baseball shirt, what a clever idea. Your never cease to amaze me! Can you teach my 2 1/2 little girl to be as photogenic as your son?

  62. Kimberly from "bugaboo" says:

    So cute! Oh my gosh!

  63. Janice Twitchell says:

    This is awesome! I'm going to raid my hubby's closet right now so I can make some new shirts for my little guy!

  64. Danielle and Eric says:

    I'm so excited you posted this. I actually bought some men's long sleeved baseball shirts on clearance at Old Navy for $2 and was going to try to scale them down for my little guy this weekend. I did your 90 minute shirt (which felt like it took 90 hours…lol)but was wondering how I was going to do the regular neck line. You are awesome! I love your blog and I love following your tutorials and creating things for my family and friends! Thank you so much!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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