DIY Distressed Band T-Shirts
I’ve accumulated quite a collection of band t-shirts purchased at concerts I’ve attended over the past decade. The difference now is that I’m not the same size I was 10 years ago, but still want to rock some of these shirts. Since moving in the fall, I’ve just now unpacked a bin of old band merch that took me down memory lane.
I’ve distressed a couple of t-shirts in the past that I was really happy with their result, so I thought I’d share my process and technique.
* Old band t-shirt
* Sewing Pins
* Measuring Tape
* Fabric Scissors
When I bought this shirt at Rock Allegiance 2016 they only had unisex size small left, so I bought it thinking it would fit. Wrong. I felt like a 10-pound sausage in a 5-pound casing. I loved the design though so I decided to give it some room in the neckline and back portion of the t-shirt.
Canadian band Protest The Hero announced a 10-year anniversary tour for their album Fortress that I purchased tickets to. I plan on wearing the shirt I found that I bought when I was 18 years old and attended my first show of theirs.
For me the best results in getting a perfect neckline that doesn’t go off your shoulders is to fold the t-shirt in half so the middle of the front of the neck is in line with the middle of the back portion of the neck. You’ll know it’s correct if the tag is pinched in-between one side of your fingers.
I then measure 1.5 inches down from the “tag” side and then start cutting upwards gradually until I reach the front of the fold.
After the neckline is cut I lay the shirt face down. I then take the measuring tape and measure from armpit to armpit and figure out my middle point. I stick a pin in it to hold its spot and move the measuring tape vertically. I then add more pins to mark the middle of the shirt. Lift the shirt up and fold it in half along the pin lines.
For the back portion I chose to cut in between every 1.5 inch mark so it wasn’t extremely stringy. I also made short slits near the top of the shirt and gradually got longer as it went to the bottom. With expanding the neckline I had more room on top and I didn’t want the shirt to be extremely baggy. I wanted it to progress from a small to large aesthetic.
I always cut the slits just slightly shorter than the desired look I’m trying to achieve. Once it’s cut I slightly tug at the t-shirt to stretch the slits giving it a more natural look. If you don’t it just looks like your t-shirt was sliced up by Edward Scissorhands.
This video gives a more in depth step by step tutorial of how I created the final product:
I found a unisex size small (who was I kidding with all these size smalls?!?!) from the Rockstar Uproar Festival I attended in 2011. Since this one had a huge back design the previous method would not work. I did the neckline the same and the same technique of measuring the slits (this time I chose to make them 2 inches apart), but this time I did them on the sides of the t-shirt and I made all the slits an even length. I also put pins where the design in the back started so I didn't accidentally cut into it.
The Slipknot t-shirt I just recently purchased on clearance for $10 in a size large. I wanted to make it look more feminine so all I did was cut the neckline out. I cut it a little bit bigger than the previous ones so it went off the shoulders a bit, and not up to my chin like it originally was.
Here is a video I filmed while distressing the Uproar and Slipknot t-shirt for a more detailed tutorial:
I would love to see how you distress your old band tees!