DIY; Summer Tree Tank / Halter top

The longed-for summer months are for most an intellectual break for their poor grey matter, an excuse to relax and read a couple of books, maybe even flesh out their resume with internships and summer jobs. But for some, it's also a perfect time to detox our closets from all the junk we've accumulated over the school years. What to do with those jeans, sweaters, and T-shirts you haven't worn since sophomore year of high school? If you're like us then you feel bad just throwing or giving clothes away that you not only spent good money on, but cost their fair share of fossil fuels to be created and shipped to wherever you bought them from. Well put your environmentalist anxiety at ease - here are some easy ideas for recycling your old tees.

Did that rhyme?

In the hot July weather the last thing you want to wear is an ill-fitting, neck-choking T-shirt that has been occupying your bottom drawer for years now. For a looser T-shirt, the creative possibilities are endless! We found the tree-tank idea through a buzzfeed link (no need to exhaust yourself on Google translate, the pictures serve as explanation enough), and the result was a charming tank top that can serve as a beach cover up or a festive top fit for a blistering hot music festival. So grab a friend and spend the day remaking your forlorn, back-of-the-closet tees. Here's what we did:


First cut the sleeves off your tee following the inside of the seam and narrowing slightly towards the neck at the top. The cut around the neck seam and give yourself however deep of a neckline you prefer (depth may vary with intended purpose - no judgement here, you naughty thing).


To create the cut-out you're going to have to get a little artsy. From the picture, the tree follows a rounded curve, so we used an upside down fruit bowl to serve as the stencil. Use a pencil to trace the circle of the bowl, and then either copy the picture or come up with your own outline for the branches and trunk of the tree. It's alright, even preferred, that the line is faint (see the picture above) so that nothing shows after you cut around it. Which is -


- the next step. And walla! The tank may look a little stiff at first, but give it a wash or two and the edges will curl into a much more appealing cut.

Now all that's left is to show it off at all the cool festivals you'll be attending. We tested ours out at Bonnaroo last month; the results were definitely satisfactory.


But if you'd like a little more of a challenge than simply cutting up a T-shirt, try remodeling it into a halter top. We found a super easy Youtube tutorial, requiring only a the T shirt of your choice and a sewing machine.

Thanks to Megan Nicolay's simple instructions, an underused concert tee was swiftly converted into a halter perfect for lazy summer days.


Again, start by cutting off the sleeves. Then, cut off the bottom hem of your T-shirt (this will serve as the tie for the neck of the halter later). Next you'll cut straight across the tee underneath the neckline through both layers, followed by the removal of the back layer of the shirt from underneath one sleeve to the other. Lastly, all you need to do is fold the top inch of the front of the halter over and sew, creating a hem through which you will thread that thin strip of fabric you cut from the bottom of the tee earlier.

Enjoy your new summer-ready tops knowing that they didn't cost you, or your environmental conscience, a thing!