DIY Lace Up T-Shirt

This whole DIY idea came to me at 4:00am this week, while I was forcing myself not to fall back asleep because I had a horrific dream and didn't want it to continue. Anybody else have those nights? The. Worst. So I found myself surfing the internet on my phone and I came across a regular t-shirt but it had a laced-up center. Whaaaaat?! Two of my favorite things. I must have it! I kept searching and searching to find the source, of course, just my luck, a PLAIN lace-up tee was $108. Yes, I'm not even kidding you. Do people really drop that kind of money for a t-shirt? Uh, not in my world, I like to eat and pay my rent on time thank you very much.

The more I looked at it and the more screenshots I took... I was determined, "I can totally fucking do that and not spend $108." I woke up the next morning, thrifted two tees from Salvation Army, picked up what I needed at the craft store and went to town. Well no, I went home but you know what I mean. 


I made 2 lace up tees and spent a total of $31.00. Yup. That happened. 

Now, here's what you need:

  • Any tee/sweater/whatever of your choice.
  • A pack of silver or gold metal eyelets. 
  • Matte black trim. (I got 2 yards.) 
  • Matte black string of your choice. (make sure it's small enough to fit through the eyelets!)
  • A hammer.
  • Scissors.
  • Black thread & a needle. (I chose to sew these by hand because I don't own a sewing machine, but this can easily be done either way.)

Step 1: Lay out your shirt. I put a flat surface inside of it, (Example: I used a random flat rate shipping box I had lying around.) Please note: I was not aware this was a band, I found it in the children's section of the Salvation Army for $2.15... so... sorry guys, whoever the hell you are.

Step 2: Mark how low you want the cut-out to be and make sure it's straight. Use anything as a straight line, even season 5 of The Walking Dead.

Step 3: Cut it out as best as you can. Nobody is perfect, we ain't here to judge. 

Step 4: Hand sew (or use a machine) the black trim around the edge of the shirt right where you cut it. Make sure both laters are on top of each other. It doesn't have to be pretty, you can't even see it, mine is super messy. I chose to leave the collar, whether or not you want to cut it out or leave it is entirely up to you. 

Step 5: Place the metal eyelets where you want them. You can do however many you want, I just knew I didn't have much string so I went with less than the reference picture above. Besides, you don't really need THAT many, they went a little string crazy if you ask me.

Side note: I bought 1 set of eyelets and 1 "starter kit" of the same eyelets. It came with a tool to help pound them in better. I highly suggest getting it. Though, these things were a royal pain in my ass to put on, I can't even imagine how difficult it wouldn't been without these little helpers. (you can see them on the righthand side of each photo above.)

Step 6: Cut tiny holes/slits where you want to place the eyelets and pound those suckers in. Trial and error is key here, folks. You want to make sure it goes all the way through both materials until you can see all the way through it. Also, when you pound them in with the hammer, make sure your tool is straight or else they will get pounded in all crooked and the hole will be half it's intended size. (see below to know what the hell I'm talking about.)

After awhile you do get into a rhythm with it and it gets much easier. My second shirt took me half the time than my first did but that doesn't mean I didn't yell "oh my god! WHY!" every time I messed one up and had to take it out. But we must persevere because the end result is so badass.

If it makes you feel better, here's how many I fucked up while doing both tees. 

Step 7: Lace 'em up! It's just like lacing your shoes. Nothing fancy or difficult about it. When you get to the top, you can either have them hanging out the front or you can make them go inside and tie a knot at the end. (which is what I chose to do.) but hey, you do you girl.

Aaaaaand you're done! It's literally that easy. 

Congratulations, you just saved $71.00 and you'll have the pleasure of telling people "oh, I made it myself" when they ask where you bought it. Mwahaha. Or I guess, you could link them here. That's probably the most neighborly thing to do. ;) 

I'd rather get my hands dirty and chip a few nails and feel proud of myself than not have enough money to put gas in my car for the sake of one t-shirt. I mean, we've all got bills to pay here. Pizza doesn't just order itself OKAY.

Felt good to get crafty again with you guys, let's do it again sometime soon. 

xo Girrlscout