RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

I don’t know about you, but by the time the end of April comes around I get really really sick of my wardrobe. Perhaps this feeling is due to the beautiful weather or just a craving for something as fresh and crisp as the Spring breeze. In years past, this feeling would result in a nice little Spring shopping spree on my part, but since I will not be buying any new clothing for the entire year I needed to find a different solution. That solution, my friends, is a dandy little re-fashion!

My personal style is very comfortable and plain. I wear a lot of neutrals and greys, jeans and leggings, and love to accessorize with scarves and special details. This shirt is the perfect fit for that! It is a very standard long-sleeve with a touch of something special in the back. For some reason, I have recently been obsessed with adding special details to the backs of shirts. I think it is so under-rated and special. It’s like a good mullet–all orderly in the front but a party in the back. Classy.

The inspiration and idea for this re-fashion came from Donatella from inspiration & realisation. She has a beautiful blog about her sewing and fashion adventures. She finds a lot of great inspirations from some of the biggest (and most expensive) designers and then re-creates their pieces in her own way. This shirt was inspired by a t-shirt design by Red Valentino. Sure, it may not have the designer label but it is oodles and oodles of dollars cheaper and can be completely recycled (depending on where you get your supplies). I’ll admit that I re-fashioned this shirt three-or-so months ago so I will do my best to reiterate the steps. If anything is unclear, feel free to reference Donatella’s post for further clarification or ask below.

As mentioned above, my version of this shirt was made of completely recycled materials. The grey long-sleeved shirt came straight from my closet and the black meshy back panel came from a thrifted shirt. You could also use fabric scraps from projects past. If you decide to head to the thrift store to find some workable pieces, look for large pieces of fabric that are suited to your needs. You may perhaps consider using different colours or types of materials.

  • a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt that fits you
  • meshy fabric (large enough to create both a large back panel and a bow)
  • scissors
  • tape measurer
  • pen
  • pins
  • thread (that matches your t-shirt colour)
  • sewing machine
Let me first note that this will require the use of a sewing machine. My mother’s sewing machine and I do not get along (at all) so I opted to have my Mama help me with the actual sewing part. If you are unexperienced with a sewing machine, just note that this may be a bit of a challenge. But do your best and persevere because I’m sure it will turn out great!
ONE: Gather your materials. TWO: Lay out your t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt so that the back is facing up. Using a tape measurer or ruler, find the centre of the back. From the centre point, measure 4-6 inches down from the top (depending on the size of your shirt) and place a mark. Cut a straight line up the back, ensuring to leave the 4-6 inches at the top un-touched. THREE: Using your pins, pin the edges under creating a symmetrical triangle. FOUR: Turn the shirt inside out and cut out a triangle of the black meshy fabric that is slightly larger than the triangle of the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Pin the black meshy fabric in place. FIVE: Turn your shirt the right way out again. Using your sewing machine, sew the black fabric into place on the t-shirt or long-sleeve shirt. Once it is sewn on, cut out any additional scraps from the inside. Creating the Bow: I can’t really give you step-by-step instructions for creating the bow. I personally used the sleeve of my black meshy shirt. I randomly scrunched the centre, sewed, wrapped fabric here and there and somehow came out with this bow. I then safety pinned the bow onto the back of the shirt and tried on the shirt to ensure that it was placed in an appropriate position. When I was satisfied, I hand sewed the bow onto the back of the shirt and voila!
There you have it! As I said before, this shirt can be customized in a variety of ways. Perhaps you could make the back panel out of a floral fabric or a bright colour. It can be dressed up (with a pair of skinny jeans and black boots) or could be worn very casually (with some leggings and cargo boots). It really is a fun and practical piece to create and have!
Always remember that there are ways to update your style and be economically and environmentally friendly. Thanks for stopping by!
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7 thoughts on “RE-FASHION: Bow Backed Shirt

  1. Lauren says:

    this is soooooooooooooooooo cute! wish I was about 20 years younger so i could pull off this cute look

  2. Donatella says:

    Hi! I found your blog in my stats! Thank you for sharing your version of this shirt, love how it came out! Will post on my Fb page! xox, d.

  3. Hi, I saw this on Donatella’s inspiration & realisation FB page and posted two of the finished photos of it and a link back to you on truebluemeandyou. I loved Donatella’s top when she posted it and love how yours has long sleeves for winter. Also, I’m always a huge fan of blogs that give credit to others :) Following you on Bloglovin now.

  4. […] DIY Red Valentino Bow Back Tee Shirt Tutorial from A Smile Each Day here. She uses mesh for the back. I found this DIY on inspiration & realisation’s FB page here. *Also, this tutorial was originally done by Donatella on her inspiration & realisation site and one of her most viewed tutorials ever and I posted it here. […]

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