No-sew project: Super-easy custom rainbow t-shirt with turn-up cuffs

If you want to customise your clothing for summer, look no further than this no-sew rainbow t-shirt project. I've shared the extra-easy step-by-step photos to help you add a pop of personality to your existing top and bring it up to date for spring and summer.

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This custom t-shirt project couldn’t be easier to DIY yourself. All you need is a bit of time and your favourite iron-on patch to turn an old tee into a new-for-summer top that’s unique to you.

I love the turned-up cuff look but I always find that just rolling up my t-shirt sleeves isn’t enough to keep them in place all day. So I’ve decided to make the turn-ups a permanent addition to my tee and it’s easy to achieve with iron-on fusible fabric tape.

Here’s how to upcycle your clothing to give it a fresh look, with no sewing required!

You will need

  • Iron-on embroidery patch of your choice. I’ve chosen a rainbow iron-on patch that I bought for around £1.50 from Etsy but you could go for a flower, star, fruit or any other design you can find.
  • Iron-on fusible fabric tape. I’ve used Wundaweb to turn up hems ever since I started customising my clothes as a youngster so I used the same tape to turn up the cuffs on my t-shirt.
  • Iron and ironing board
  • T-shirt – mine is ‘The Straight’ basic tee from Marks & Spencer.
  • Old flannel/tea towel

Step 1

Firstly, you’ll need to iron your t-shirt so that it’s completely flat. Choose the position for your patch, or lay out multiple patches if you prefer.

This is a great way to hide stubborn stains or pulls on older clothing – simply cover any marks with a variety of patches to give your old top a new lease of life.

Step 2

Use a damp flannel or tea towel to cover the patch. The moisture in the fabric releases steam when you apply the heat of the iron, which helps the adhesive to fuse to the fabric.

Step 3

Follow the instructions that came with your embroidery patches to apply the heat from the iron and adhere the patch to the t-shirt. Some patches may have paper backing that needs to be removed first and the amount of heat and duration of pressing will vary.

Just take care while ironing as the iron and steam can get really hot and could cause burns if you’re not careful.

Step 4

To turn up the cuffs, first, turn them back once and iron them into position without using the fusible fabric tape. This will give you a neat turn-up and make it easier to slip the fusible webbing behind the turn-up.

Step 5

Follow the instructions on the fusible fabric tape to apply the heat from the iron. Again, you’ll probably need to apply a damp cloth over the turn-up before ironing for the duration recommended on the packet and do be careful when using high temperatures that can cause burns.

Step 6

Turn the cuffs back one more time and repeat the last two steps; ironing the turn-up without the webbing first, adding the fusible tape and then applying the correct heat and steam to melt the webbing and keep the turn-up permanently in place.

It’s such an easy project that involves no sewing at all and allows you to customise your clothing so that you’ve got a summer t-shirt that no one else will have. You can use any design of patch you like and could even add multiple patches or sequinned designs to add a big splash of colour to a basic tee.

Let me know if you have a go at making your own personalised t-shirt this summer and I’d love to see your photos so please tag me in your project pics on Instagram @cassiefairy.

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The pink links in this blog post indicate an affiliate link, sponsored link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience. 

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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