Note to the reader: I had this sitting around in my queue and decided to post it because it's kinda fun. The shirt actually was not improved by my "restyling" so I didn't take a photo at the time, and now I don't even know where it is. Please don't actually follow this tutorial.
Last night I restyled an old shirt into a fabulous creation. Now once upon a time, in the early days of my clothing sewing, I used to see clothes restyles around the internet and I was like "omg, that is so AMAZING! I wish that I had the skills to do that." Gonna let you in on a little secret folks. It is DEAD EASY. First of all, you are starting with something that you don't give 2 #2's about. Big deal if you mess that up, right? No. Restyling knits is for those days when you have lots of swears built up in your system and you don't want to do something fiddly. I'm determined to prove to you guys how easy this is, so I'm gonna walk you through a restyle. Soon, you will all be believers.
Step 1: Put on the subject. This is so that you can examine it for flaws.
Step 2: Go to the fridge and eat a spoonful of bumbleberry jam (another kind is ok). This is because jam is good.
Step 3: OPTIONAL: Turn on the tablet so that you can take a picture of the shirt's flaws in order to put them in an internet tutorial.
Step 4: OPTIONAL: Discover that the tablet is out of batteries. Plug it in and go empty the dishwasher.
Step 5: OPTIONAL: Come back and take pictures of yourself showing the shirt's flaws.
Sleeves that do not extend to the wrist make my face look like this.
Step 6: Create your game plan. In this case, we are going to make this shirt short sleeved.
Step 7: Execute!
Shortening sleeves on a knit (Use your own judgment in deciding when to implement this unsophisticated method. Ugly brown/grey shirts are a good choice.)
Step 1: Draw a line on each sleeve at the length you want.
Step 2: Halfway through, decide that the light in the bedroom is not bright enough for this. Wonder why you always try things first in the bedroom mirror when the light in there sucks. Move to the bathroom. Try to make the sleeve lengths even.
Step 3: Take off the shirt and cut the sleeves off at the lines you drew.
Step 3.5: Put the shirt back on and double check in the (bathroom) mirror that the sleeves are mostly even.
Step 4: Cut 1" off of the ends of the cut off sleeves, at the wrist. Or the "partway-up-your-forearm" if your surgical patient resembles mine.
Step 5: Put on your original shirt (the one you were wearing before you started this) because it is cold in the house.
Step 6: Change your sewing machine needle to one of the following:
Jersey Ball Point 70/10
Jersey Ball Point 80/12
If you have a needle that says the right words but is the wrong size, load 'er up anyway. Whatever. The shirt is brown/grey. If you have NO needles that say Jersey, Jersey Ball Point, or Stretch on the package, go to the store and get one (OR throw the shirt across the room and get yourself some wine).
Step 7: Set your sewing machine to zig-zag stitch. Make sure you have a foot on the machine that has a wide opening to accommodate the zig-zag. Sewing into his own foot makes your machine just as unhappy as it would make you. Sometimes sewing machines can die from it. RIP, Brother XL2600I. *sniff*
Step 8: With your shirt right-side out, your 1" cuff piece wrong side out, and your cut edges together, pin the cuff onto the outside of the cut sleeve, stretching as you go. Start by pinning opposite points, then split the distance between each pin until you have pins spaced ~1-2" apart.
Step 9: Change your sewing machine thread to something that sorta matches because earlier you forgot that thread existed and didn't change it. Use nice thread because remember those swears are still in you and if anything goes wrong with the thread they will probably start trying to come out.
Step 10: If possible, adjust how hard your presser foot pushes down. You might have a dial and an indicator float that goes from 0-3. If you do, try setting it to 1. If not, good luck with guess & check. With knits it is better if your presser foot doesn't go all crazy on them, because they are thicker and stretchy and won't always want to move through the machine.
Step 11: Sew the cuff to the sleeve, then repeat with the other side. Stretch as you sew so that the sleeve part is flat.
CAUTION: At this point, do not look at your shirt and freak out thinking "omg I have ruined my favorite ugly brown/grey shirt and I am never going to be able to do this!" That is, unless you REALLY hate the shirt and you are planning to show it to your husband while crying about how your sewing project went wrong and telling him that you need to go shopping for a new shirt. If you are not planning to do that, don't freak out. It is normal for your shirt to look like it was sewn by a dog. That's because it is a knit.
Step 12: Try it on. Marvel.
Reader note continued: The best I can recall is that I did not get the sleeves the same length in step 2 so I needed to take off one side and redo it. Then... I didn't. Because that shirt was ugly anyway.