Thanks to an awesome friend, I became obsessed with altering t-shirts. My girl Shirley would find the coolest projects and execute them so much better than the original idea. I finally got brave and did a few with her helpful eye over my shoulder... more to come on those! But now that I've moved far away I've been studying t-shirt books... more on those as well later as well. After all that reading I got brave and went out on my own! Meanwhile, I acquired piles of tees at various places; overstock sales, thrift shops, rummages, and my own closet! So I reviewed those notes I marked on styles I liked but in the end there's a few tees that I just wasn't sure how to go about. Trying to forget what I had already seen I just looked at the tees and waited for them to speak to me... and they did... DARTS! I love darts, with the reshaping I've been doing many times I am unhappy with the fit and add several darts. This time I decided to make them exposed for dimension and a little shaping never hurts...
The horizontal stripe is the focus of the graphic on these shirts so I thought breaking them up with darts would be a cute touch! I started with removing the sleeves, which I often do (those t-shirt sleeves are usually not flattering!) and made both into muscle tees. One shirt had a small hole in the front near the hem and the other had a really uneven hem with stitches tearing out. So both hems went!... the uneven one I gave a high/low effect, making the front shorter, curving up in front and curving down in back. The other with the hole, I chopped straight across at the hole.
The darts I pinned from the bottom of the graphic to just below the neck trim seam. When sewing I worked my way outside in, helping me to remember how much I took in to keep some consistency from left to right. I started all sewing from neck down and used a regular lockstitch (I started with stretch stitch but it gave me more issues since I was only sewing about 1/8" wide tucks!). I used a 3.5 length and only backstitched for about 1-2 stitches to avoid a hole. Also, I used ball point needles to prevent stitch holes. I just eyeballed the position and didn't measure, I learned long ago the t-shirts are not consistent from side to side so put the ruler down!
Once I got comfortable with darting away through a horizontal graphic I went crazy on the back as well! The dart is about 1/8" wide at the center, and tapers to 0" at neck and bottom of dart. Similar to how you learn to make waist darts in sewing 101. Similar to a pintuck, but not a consistent width so I call them exposed darts! It would be cute to do in contrast thread as well but you need to be very confident as any misaligned stitch will be visible in contrast.
The finished products are quite the improvement! The tee on the right was pretty boxy since it had that hole and I had to shorten quite a bit so I added a box pleat under each arm to give a swingy effect that is cute with the more cropped body.