top of page
  • Writer's pictureLonda

Black, White & Silver Elvis Up-Cycle T Top

Updated: Nov 2, 2022

I should probably put on some Elvis music while I'm stitching these days.... This is my 2nd 'creation' making use of 'Elvis' T-shirts as purchased in nearby Memphis. I'm 'on a roll' and even returned to Memphis this Labor Day Weekend to add to my Elvis T-Shirt Stash. AND, with the help of our 17-year-old grandson, found a Nike Outlet Store. I dropped a healthy $111 on great quality 'fabric' to mix with the T's there. This is absolutely delightfully-fun sewing for me. ONTO this #2 Elvis Up-Cycle Top....



This was a size small T-shirt with the silver paillettes creating the Elvis image. This amazes me - how different-sized silver glued on dots can create such a likeness of a human being!!! As I recall, this solid black short-sleeved T-shirt was only available in a Small - and on sale for $18 from $30, but that was OK, as I didn't want the image to be REAL big anyway...

After my 'dive' into my Black's what I came up with...

I especially liked the top left remnant of a metallic silver-threaded black net-type fabric left over from a jacket I'd made, and the black and white striped jersey. It seemed to me that the dots of the polka dot jersey was just 'too much' with the dots of Elvis' face.

Draping the 'winners' onto my dress form, I came up with what you see to the left. The hook n eye tape is quite heavy, so that wasn't a for SURE trim, but the black with sparkles, the lacy fabric with metallic silver, the sheer black stretchy knit and the black/white striped jersey all seemed to blend well together.

That much being determined, it was time to decide HOW to make use of ELVIS.

Ultimately, I decided to 'rough cut' him out, leaving about an inch all around. Sooner or later, one just must CUT!

With a teeny zigzag of 1 wide and 3 long, I 'zigged' into the 'Elvis' piece and 'zagged' into the top 'front' fabric.

You can see the sparkly fabric 'yoke' I cut in the picture below, and also the additional width I cut into the back to allow for a 'swingy' back. I also made a portion of the Front of the black sparkly fabric.

Below, note that I'm hand-basting the 1" wide strip of stripe jersey along that lowermost yoke line. After stitching with a narrow zig zag as above using monofilalment thread, I then steamed it to encourage the 'roll'. You can see the end result in the photo at the right, below. I did the same treatment at the shoulder seams.

For more on this 'rolled knit trim' technique, I re-posted an OLD Blog Post to a NEW Blog post earlier today. Find it HERE. I learned all of the nitty gritty of that while writing an article for Sew News Magazine back in 2018....

Here's a close-up of my use of the Graceland label from the inside of the T on the outside center back.

For the neckline, I used a doubled 4" strip of the black soft 'netting', tapering to nothing at the shoulders and then 'tucking' it into a small band of the same netting at the center back and center front.

Applying the stripe jersey trim at the neckline in the same manner as above didn't work out quite right - the curve of it just didn't allow the uppermost edge to 'roll' in, so I ended up cutting the upper edge shorter in width by a healthy 1/4".

At the hemline edge, I used the same 'netting', and after stitching raw edges together to the bottom of the T, I let that seam allowance press down (as it wanted to), pressed, and topstitched before adding the striped trim.

When placing the trim at the hemline, I stitched towards what would be the 'under' layer so that when the upper edge flips down into place, it easily covers that inside 'edge'. I actually then kinda 'tacked' the seamline edge using monofilament thread. I love the Wonder Thread from YLI for this purpose. It seems I'm constantly switching upper thread from invisible to regular poly, but it IS worth it!


I will say that I debated as to if I should repeat the netting/stripe trim at the bottom of the sleeves as well - but decided to follow my own preaching of:

"If in doubt, leave it OUT!" I'm glad I obeyed. The sleeve fabric is fancy enough and if I'd added this treatment at the hem edges it would have only created an even more strong horizontal line at the hipline.

In this side view, you can see that the top is shorter in the front, angling softly to longer at the swingy back.

I worked the trim in the front, then the back, leaving long tails at each side, which I double-knotted and let the ends hang - creating a vertical line then at the hip to counter the horizontal effect.

I was reminded AGAIN how VERY IMPORTANT it is to PRE-WASH fabrics! As I worked on this top, black dye 'crocked' off on my hands and nails - YUCK! Therefore, I soaked the finished garment in the sink with a good addition of RETAYNE to set the dye. This will definitely be a hand wash, line dry garment - due to the paillettes creating 'Elvis' on the front.

This garment is now available for sale HERE.

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page