Two Fun and Easy DIY T-Shirt Projects

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
10 Materials
1 Hour

Today, I’m trying the popular Instagram and TikTok trends of tie-dying and ruching t-shirts. I did these projects simultaneously, and they were both fun to do and super easy. Check out the tie-dying process and my results.

Tools and materials:

  • 2 t-shirts
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bleach
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Fabric chalk
  • Pins
  • Safety pin
  • Sewing machine
Cut the sleeve hems

Lettuce Edge T-shirt

Cut the shirt

Before beginning the tie-dying process, I cut the hems off the sleeves.

Cut the bottom off the shirt

I also cut the shirt to the desired length. Later I will finish the edges to create the lettuce hem look. 

Run the shirt under water

Wet the shirt

I ran the shirt under water in the sink until it was thoroughly soaked through, and then I wrung it out well. 

Twist the shirt

Twist the shirt 

I pinched up a bit of the shirt and began twisting it.

Twist into a circle

I kept twisting until the entire shirt had been twisted around that one point. 

Place rubber bands

Place rubber bands around the twisted shirt

I used three rubber bands to hold the twists of the shirt in place. I placed the rubber bands so they divided the twisted shirt into six sections of relatively equal size.

Apply bleach

Apply bleach

I used a squirt bottle full of bleach to liberally apply the bleach on every other section of the twisted shirt.  

Let it rest for a few minutes

Allow to rest

Next I let the shirt sit for about ten minutes to give the bleach time to work on the fabric.

Rinse out the bleach

Rinse the shirt

I then removed the rubber bands, and rinsed the shirt thoroughly, making sure every part of the shirt was placed under the running water, and wringing it out well. 

Wring the shirt well

Hang to dry

Hang the shirt to dry

Once it was rinsed, I hung the shirt to dry in the sun.

Twist the shirt in a few places

Ruched T-Shirt

Twist the second shirt

Next, I moved on to the ruched shirt. I made a few small twists in the shirt to create a different tie-dye pattern than the first shirt.

Apply bleach

Apply bleach, rinse, and hang

For this shirt, I applied bleach over the whole shirt. After I let it rest for a few minutes, I rinsed the shirt thoroughly and hung it out to dry.

DIY t-shirt trend

Mark the shirt

Mark the points for the ruching

I turned my shirt inside out. Then, I decided where I wanted the lines of ruching to be and marked the top of each point on my shirt with fabric chalk. To make sure they were evenly spaced, I first found the midpoint of the shirt and then measured an equal amount from either side of the midpoint. 

Measure the space for the ruching channels


I measured the space from the hem of the shirt until the point I just marked, which for me was 10 inches.

Measure and mark fabric strips

Measure and mark fabric for ruching channels

Using the offcuts from the first shirt, I measured and marked two strips of fabric that were 10 inches long and 2 inches wide.

Pin the fabric to the shirt

Cut the strips and pin them in place

Then I cut out the strips of fabric and pinned them in place on the wrong side of the front of my shirt, lining the top edges of the fabric strips up with the marks I had previously made on the shirt.

Mark where to sew

Mark where to sew

I drew a line down the center of each fabric strip as a guide for where to sew it down.

Sew down the fabric strips

Sew down the strips of fabric

I sewed one line of stitching down the middle of each strip of fabric, as well down each long edge, creating two channels under each strip of fabric.

Cut four strips of fabric

Cut strips for the ties

From the remaining offcuts, I cut four strips of fabric, each one inch wide.

Insert the t-shirt string into the channels

Insert the ties into the channels

I stretched each strip of fabric so it was long and thin, and then inserted each of the four strings into one of the channels in the strips of fabric I had sewn onto the shirt. To insert the strings into the channels, I attached a safety pin to one end of the string and worked the safety pin through the channel until it emerged on the other end. 

Sew down the ends

Sew the ends of the strings down

Once the strings were all inserted into their proper places, I made sure a small amount of string was visible at the top of each channel. Then, I sewed along the top edge of the fabric strips to hold the strings in place. 

DIY cinched t-shirt

Pull the strings

To create a ruching effect, I pulled the strings down and pushed the fabric of the shirt up. I tied the strings at the hem of the shirt to hold the ruching in place. 

Sew the edges with a zigzag stitch

Finish the lettuce-edge shirt

To finish the lettuce-edge shirt, I set my sewing machine to a zigzag stitch, on the tightest tension and the shortest stitch length. Then, I zigzag stitched the bottom hem and around the sleeves.

Finished lettuce hem

Trending DIY t-shirt

DIY ruched t-shirt

DIY lettuce hem t-shirt

This was a really fun project! Let me know in the comments which of these shirts you like best.

Suggested materials:
  • 2 t-shirts
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bleach
See all materials

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