Greetings pygmy marmosets! Egad! I just googled all ya’ll to make sure I spelled your name correctly and you sure are cute! I didn’t know you were the size of my thumb! I’ll take 12 of you. Can you help with the housecleaning and such?

So my recent dedication to daily posts is making me feel a bit like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel. I usually DO get some sewing done every day, but on days like today it’s pretty boring stuff! Are you dying of curiosity? Well here it is. Take one ill-conceived sewing adventure and try to make it into something workable. AKA: giant turtleneck to well-fitting t-shirt.


Even though it pains me to think of the disappointment on your wee monkey faces, I have to confess that I have the attention span of, well, a marmoset, and even though this transformation took about 15 minutes, I kept forgetting that I meant to take pictures. At least I got a before and after, right? And a few along the way.

I made this turtleneck earlier this year. It’s Kwik Sew 3003 and you can’t really see, but it’s a completely cute teeny polka dot print cotton interlock that we had at the shop.


I loved the dots and I loved the color and when I made the fabric into a shirt it was about a hundred degrees below zero, so I thought a turtleneck was the perfect thing to make. Even though turtlenecks in any color but black, white or grey are a bit too church basement potluck (circa 1987) for me. The giant arms and shoulders of the Kwik Sew pattern only added to the look. I don’t know if I even wore the turtleneck once. But since I loved the color I couldn’t toss it. We’re out of it at the shop and I realized when I finished the Tahitian Treat skirt that the fabric was a perfect match. So today I decided to do something about it!

I turned the turtleneck inside out (the inside is white) and laid it on the cutting table. I laid a t-shirt whose fit I like over the turtleneck and traced the well-fitting t-shirt.

I smoothed and pinned to keep the layers stable, then I cut off the arm leaving a bit extra for the seam allowance. Once the arm was off I serged along the side seam and then finished the sleeve hem with the serger. Full disclosure… I had everything in position and my foot on the gas to serge the sleeve completely shut. Nice. I did the same for the other side, but I was lazier and didn’t pin, just smoothed out and held in place.

Now to the part where I stopped taking pictures. The neckline caused me a bit of worry because I seem to have a weeny upper chest and well endowed lower chest that combine to create giant gaping necklines. To transfer the neckline shape from the T-shirt I was using as my guide I marked spots on the shoulder seam, the center front and halfway between. I made the markings by folding back the T-shirt a bit and marking with chalk. I eyeballed a decent looking curve and drew half the neckline (in pink.) To keep it symmetrical, I put a piece of paper (OK, it was a paper towel) over the turtleneck and traced along the pink line, the shoulder seam and the turtuleneck neckline. I cut out my tracing, then flipped it over (at the center front) and traced out the green line.

I cut along the lines I traced in the front (in pink below), then refolded the shirt, matching the shoulder seams and folding along the center front and center back. I cut the back neckline by just eyeballing it and then finished the neckline by serging and pressing. Surprisingly, it’s not gaping and I’ll probably leave the serged edge as the finish. It’s pretty casual, but I’m concerned any further hemming will start to make the neckline floppy.

And that, my tiny little monkeys, is how I made a el-frumpo turtleneck into a more-wearable-t.


I’ve gone the last 15 years with a near-pathological aversion to tucking in my shirts. It still strikes me as a bit of a bundley way to dress, although not so bad with skirts, but get a monkey-eyefull of the pictures below! It seems to me the picture on the right is about 300 times more flattering than the untucked picture on the left. I think it’s a mix of the skirt waistband accentuating my more narrow ribcage with the tucked shirt, along with the golden proportion rule – there’s something about the lines of the shirt cutting my body in half in the untucked version that really doesn’t work for me.


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