Cat Shirt Refashion

Back with my first refashion of the series. There’s something so good about these tee shirts, but also so bad, am I right? Well, I saw a gray eagle version transformed into something wearable, cool even, at a little boutique downtown…for $78!!! I’m not cheap if something is well made and will get lots of mileage, but for a tee shirt refashion when I know how to thrift like a pro and sew? Nope. Picked up this gem a week later for $1 in all of it’s thick cotton glory. I’m a cat person for life (as is my husband) so YES!


It was boxy, had a terrible drape, and was totally unflattering, but it’s a great color with a nice subtle tie dye effect and unique playful image. This cat deserves at least 2 lives (haha, nerd alert!)

Cat Shirt Before

Initial Design:

The original plan was to tailor the tee down to a nice fit and flare racerback tank and finish the edges with lace. I chose this crochet lace from my stash but thought maybe it was too cute paired with the cat so I dyed it dark gray to tone it down. Then I top stitched it onto the raw edge which stretched the neck out and made it unwearable. Not only that, the inside wasn’t finished to my liking so I tore it out was back to the drawing board. (I never snapped a photo of the gray, but you can get the idea here)

Cat Shirt First Design


I ended up encasing the raw edges with some gray jersey I had in my stash. Scrap from the removed sleeves was used to add a little extra flare to the side seams. Darts and side seams are all finished with my serger so on the inside it looks pretty darn close to RTW, except the top stitching on the encasing didn’t land perfectly on the inside ditch all the way around. Something that would have made this perfectionist quite happy, but overall it’s very nicely finished and should hold up to lots of wash and wear.

Cat Shirt After

I’ve already worn this a half a dozen times and received compliments every single time. I got called a nerd once (endearingly by a friend), but that only made me love it more! In terms of slow fashion, something that excites me about this shirt is to see it go from thick heavy cotton to that authentic perfectly worn look over time. A look only achieved through dedicated wear of a beloved item. I can see this someday with beautiful hand stitched mending and patches, filmy and comfy as pajamas…but these things will come with time. Right now I love it just as is.

I plan to get myself in front of the camera to share how I’m mixing and matching my new pieces, but this week I only got as far as realizing that we do in fact own a tri-pod before switching my focus to teeny tiny dressmaking. That said, there’s a good chance some sweet little dolls will make their appearance before I do 🙂


4 thoughts on “Cat Shirt Refashion

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