No Sew Workout Tee

The warmer weather is finally here (took ya long enough, Minnesota) and for many of us that can conjure up images of shorts, bathing suits and ... yikes! Maybe the inevitable gym trip. Never fret! We can get your wardrobe workout ready so the rest of you is set to go. This is a super quick no-sew upcycle from a plain tee to a fierce workout top perfect for working up a sweat.

All you need to make your quick tee is:

  • An oversized tee (bigger is better in this case)
  • Rockin’ light-stitching design (I used the Wild Wolf)
  • Cutaway stabilizer (for light, open designs, a sheer mesh cutaway such as Sulky Soft 'n' Sheer or Floriani No Show Mesh is a great choice)
  • Scissors

No, seriously, that’s all you need. That and maybe 20 minutes, depending on how fast your machine can crank out an awesome design. This is a piece of cake! 

Start by removing the sleeves from your tee. In this case, it doesn’t matter if your tee is long sleeved or short sleeved. The sleeves are history!

Next, cut the collar off your tee. You may wish to scoop the front for a more open neck tee (good for keeping cool) or keep it just under the seam (good for more coverage). We’ll modify the back too but we’ll get to that in a bit...

With most of the excess bits of your tee removed, it’s time to add a fierce design! Hoop up your tee with some sheer mesh cutaway stabilizer, and stitch out your design. I picked this Wild Wolf design and decked him out in neon green to add that extra level of awesome.

Be sure when you hoop your tee you keep the back part of your tee out from underneath your embroidery area.

Here’s my pretty wolf-y all done stitching. Remove your tee from your hoop and cut away your excess stabilizer.

In order to get that chic racer back shape, we’ll need to remove some of the excess fabric on your tee. Cut the back collar of your shirt (the side without the embroidery) down into a deep V.

Then take your scissors to the bottom of your tee, cutting off the bottom hem. Once you’ve removed this, snip one end of the loop so you can one long strip of fabric.

In order to transform your tee into a chic racer back, take that strip you removed from the bottom and loop it through the two straps at the back. Wrap your fabric a few times around those two straps, and then tie a bow at the top with the excess. New sewing required!

That’s it! Your formerly oversized plain tee is now a light and airy racer back top. A pop of bold and colorful embroidery adds some character.

With the back offering a flattering drape and a flirty bow that was a cinch to make. Now you’re ready to work up a sweat in those hot summer months!

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Wild Wolf_image
Wild Wolf $2.99 - $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.87"w x 6.57"h | 4.84"w x 5.47"h | 3.43"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery