T-Shirt Mod Time: The Thrifty, High-Low Hem

The high-low hem trend looks as if it is here to stay– and why not? It’s fabulous. A high-low hem is basically the mullet of design– but in a great way– with a shorter hem in front and a longer one in back.  Whether it is on skirts, dresses, or tops, this look is a winner– at least for me. Some of my favorite wardrobe pieces right now have a high-low hem. Which is why, when I saw an amazing shirt at my awesome local thrift store, I knew a project was on the horizon.

As I’ve mentioned before, my neighborhood has some amazing thrift stores. Not only are thrift stores great for those on a budget, but many of the stores are also charitable organizations. Maybe that would help Coralie with her “community charity work” goal, perhaps? A good thrift store in the right neighborhood is a thing of beauty. Not only do thrift stores provide you with the opportunity to find vintage, one-kind-pieces, but they are also eco-friendly alternatives against the mass-produced fashion trend. I own mass-produced pieces, get me not wrong… but  every little bit helps. Plus, you know how I like to re-use things.

shirtfulleditfinalI found this awesome shirt at my favorite, local thrift store. It is two blocks from my place and across the street from a Trader Joe’s- which means I’m there frequently. The shirt was one of those coulda been a tunic/coulda been a dress type-deals with a trapeze dress length hem. Not only was the shirt my exact size, with fabric in immaculate condition, AND have an awesome hand- beaded bib… but it was also made from a creamy feeling spandex/modal cotton blend (which fabric nerds know means extra creamy). The best part of it all? It was $7.

I did notice, however that there were two problems with the shirt. Some of the hand beading had started to come loose (due to improper washing) and a small stain on the front bottom.


See? Teeny-tiny red dot. It looks like someone dropped or smeared a spot of bleach. And do you see the beading on the right? I’ve said it before, but it always amazes me what people will donate because either they don’t know how to take care of their things or don’t have the time to care. But, who knows? Just means more awesomeness for me! These were both easy fixes… and for $7? Sign me up. I had seen several Pinterest tutorials on how to convert maxi skirts to a high-low hem and as the bleach stain was so low on the shirt, it occurred to me that I could simply use the same technique but on the shirt. Though, for the record, I could have also spot dyed the area black… but, I opted for the easier, cleaner, quicker, more personable t-shirt mod option. The more you know!

Same golden rules for all jersey t-shirt mods apply:

  • Embrace the jersey cotton-ness. There is give, there is stretch, and there is about a 1/4″ amount of rolling at cut hems.
  • Always cut smaller first. You can always cut more… you can never cut less.
  • Don’t cut your favorite t-shirts first. A test shirt might be needed.
  • Always Be Aligning. When folding your shirt for cutting make sure your symmetrical points match up for regularity (shoulder seam to opposite shoulder scene, etc.).
  • Try it on and modify. Repeat as needed.

First things first! To figure out how short you want the “high” part of your shirt or skirt, try it on. Since I wanted to keep as much length as possible, but cut off the stain, I let the stain dictate the length. But, in theory, you can cut as high as you like (iffen you wanted a mid-drift baring top, or summing). Mark where you want the high point of your cut to begin (front and center) and then fold the top, as always.

For this particular t-shirt mod, you want to fold your shirt in half with the side seams aligning in the center. Can you see how I’ve done it with the beaded bib in half and the sleeves?


Cut at high point and slope however you like it! I chose to keep it straight across the front with a stark slope towards the side hem line. After I made the first pass, I tried it on. I liked the front length but found the slope to be too sharp. The third picture shows the shape of my second pass with the scissors softening the shape on the hemline.

As far as fixing the beading, I went in and reinforced problematic beads tying down errant lines and beads. Needle and thread, baby!

And that’s it! I’ve worn this top probably 5-6 times this summer. I love it and think it will also transition nicely into a fall/winter piece. I am a bad blogger, though. I wore it on Saturday and took no pictures, so I have no AFTER pic. But it works! So, show all those extra long tees high-low you can go! Get it?! *groan* Good luck!

Have you checked out our other t-shirt mods? Are you a fan of that thrift store lyfe? What do you think? As always, let us know if you give this project a shot!







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