DIY Workout Tank Top

Hi Friends!

A couple weeks ago, I did a fun DIY project to turn a seldom worn t-shirt into a workout tank-top. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out! After putting pictures on FB and Instagram, lots of you asked how I did it, so I recruited hubby’s extra set of hands to make a little tutorial for you.

This easy tutorial shows you how to turn an old t shirt into a cute DIY Workout Tank Top!

Here’s the first one I made:

This easy tutorial shows you how to turn an old t shirt into a cute DIY Workout Tank Top!

For this one, I grabbed a Jayhawk shirt that hubby rarely wears (Ohio State fan), and we took pictures along the way so I could show you the process. We even managed to make some enhancements this time around to help the back from unraveling in the washer/dryer :)  So, here’s what you do:

DIY Workout Tank Top

This easy tutorial shows you how to turn an old t shirt into a cute DIY Workout Tank Top!

1. Procure your t-shirt and lay it flat on the floor
2. Cut out the collar, using the front outline as your guide, but cutting through both sides of the shirt (you may have to cut out more later to get your desired depth)
3. Cut off one sleeve. Start by cutting straight down for several inches and then curve out. Don’t start curving right away.
4. Flip the cut off sleeve over and place it on top of the remaining sleeve. Cut along that line when you cut off the second sleeve so they are symmetrical.
5. Cut off the bottom of the shirt just above the hem.
6. Cut off the stitching and discard so you have just a loop of t shirt material, no extra threads.
7. Take the loop and snip it so it’s no longer a loop and then STRETCH it out.

DIY workout tank top 6

8. Flip the shirt over, cut a deep “v” and discard that fabric.
9.  Snip two tiny holes, one on each side of the point of the “v” (this was hubby’s idea to keep the string secure in the laundry)
10. Take the string that you stretched out and thread it through the holes. Pull almost all the way through and leave just a couple inches on one side.
11 & 12. Tie a double knot.

DIY workout tank top 8

13. Cut two tiny holes about 4-5 inches from the top of the shirt (just like the holes you snipped at the bottom of the “v”) but make them towards the outer edge of the shirt.
14. Start at the bottom where you knotted the string, gather the back together, wrap once, and then loop the string through itself and pull tight. Continue  looping and pulling tight until work your way up to the holes at the top.
15. When you get to the top, even with the two holes you cut, thread through both the holes again and tie a secure knot.
16. Leave about 2 inches and after you tie the knot (in case the knot ever comes undone and you need to re-tie) and cut off the extra. Thread the rest of the string down through the loops to secure it.

*Note: The first time I did this, I didn’t cut little holes and thread through. I just tied the string at the bottom, wrapped around and around and around and then knotted it again at the top. That worked fine, but it started to come unraveled when I washed it…this method should hold up alot better.

This easy tutorial shows you how to turn an old t shirt into a cute DIY Workout Tank Top!

Now it’s time to fine tune. Try it on and make note of the width of the straps and the neckline. Then take it off and cut some more if you want the neckline to be lower or you want the straps to be thinner! You can also cut more off the bottom if you want it to be shorter!

This easy tutorial shows you how to turn an old t shirt into a cute DIY Workout Tank Top!

I left the neckline a little higher on this one than I did on the peanut envy one! It’s totally up to you.

Also, beware of the dogs. They will be very interested in helping with this project. DIY workout tank top

In retaliation, you can use the sleeves to make them look like little Russian Babushkas! Clearly they loved it.


So there you have it! Give it a try and send me a pic if you make one!


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. I really wish I was crafty. If I bring a shirt to Blend, will you do the cutting? I’m scared. LOL!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Work It Out: Baby Got Back

  2. I am doing this asap its so cute!!
    Sara @ fitcupcaker recently posted..Push Up Challenge Week 3 & Fit Test

  3. Super cute! I’ve got a ton of shirts that I need to do this to.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Why I Love Running

  4. Super cute! And I have so many shirts that I could totally practice on…I actually love cutting up shirts for DIY :)
    maria @ lift love life recently posted..Sportline Review & GIVEAWAY!

  5. too cute! i love the tank top! may have to recruit a friend to help me try it!

  6. Totally going to try this! Here’s to hoping #2 comes out better than the first! :)
    Linz@ Itz Linz recently posted..Tips To Wake Up Early and Workout!

    I love!!!
    Miz recently posted..OAKtown six weeks later…

  8. YAY!!! I ammm so happy you got a chance to post this!!!!! What a simple tutorial. I always cut t-shirts but stop at step 4.. so this is GREAT that I can actually do a bit more than tuck under the sides of my sports bra! 😉 yeah yeah yeahhhh
    Kacie Phillips recently posted..Will Your Way to Success: 5 Tips for Bloggerpreneurs, Entrepreneurs, and Everyone In Between

  9. Amber @ ExSoyCise says:

    What a great tutorial! I have a bunch of shirts that I don’t wear anymore that I could use for this! Pinning to make later!!

  10. So cute girl! I love this idea!

  11. Thank you!! I have so many old race t-shirts that I can do this to. Pinned it, too!

    Carly @ Life In Training recently posted..Recipe – Spaghetti Squash "Pasta" Bake

  12. I have so many tshirts! What a great way to use them for something useful.

    BTW, your dogs are adorable!
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..On the Road: Vegan Dining in Temecula and Encinitas

  13. This is really cute! I was following for the first few steps, but once it got past 10 steps I knew I wasn’t crafty enough to handle it. Love it on you though :)
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..Uninspired.

  14. Super cute idea! I have a ton of old race shirts. Love the babushkas! Are you Ukrainian or Russian?
    Tracy @ The Runners Palate recently posted..Back on the Track

  15. That’s an awesome top and tutorial. Thanks for sharing. Now to search for tshirts!
    xiomara @ Parkesdale recently posted..Strawberries for Valentine’s Day

  16. So excited to try this, Ive neevr had the balls to do it without a step to stepo tutorial hahah

  17. SO CUTE. Now to pillage one of Chris’ old shirts …
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Essential Running Gear (Giveaway)

  18. Love this tutorial, thanks for sharing! Also love the bonus dog babushka pattern :) Multi-purpose, huh?
    Arika recently posted..Developing a Healthy Morning Routine

  19. Can’t WAIT to try this!!! I have a TON of shirts that could be converted to CrossFit gear :)
    Melissa Love recently posted..Fun Weekend & Fitness Update!

  20. i pretty much only workout in dry fit stuff, but i could totally see myself doing this for a tank top to lounge around in at home! love it!! so cute… :)
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef recently posted..60 Minute Sandwich Buns

  21. Those shirts look really cute! And your dogs look very happy to be getting in on the action. 😉 Do you think that the same idea would work with race (technical) shirts? I feel like more an more I’m getting more of those that I don’t wear instead of cotton shirts.
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted..Busy weekend

  22. Definitely going to try this! So cute! Thanks Lindsay!!!
    Cathy recently posted..I’m Lazy

  23. That is SUPER cute!!

    Another super cute thing? Those pups!! Ahh, lil bubbies! So adorable!
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh recently posted..Peer pressure averted…barely

  24. Stylish and a tasty cook. #Winner

  25. I’ve been cutting up my shirts since I was a kid. Now, I’ve learned an awesome technique in doing so!!! Thanks :)
    Kierston recently posted..The Ontario Championships: The Prep has Begun…

  26. SUCH A GREAT IDEA!!!!! LOVE! I am totally going to go through my over stuffed workout draw and make one of these! Probably tomorrow :)
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..The Happy Heart Project

  27. I just set aside a few old tees to turn into workout tanks, but didn’t really know where to start. Thanks for posting this how-to!
    Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog recently posted..Fancy Me a Grocery List

  28. I honestly can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about these DIY workout tanks! I have SO many extra shirts laying around that I feel compelled to toss, because I don’t really wear them, yet I hate throwing things out. PERFECT SOLUTION! :)

  29. The crafter in me is loving this! Think i’ll try it. Lord knows i have PLENTY of tshirts!
    Katie @momslrb recently posted..Weekend Recap and Ramblings

  30. Ok I’m ready to try it again! I tried this once a couple years ago and your fine-tuning will totally help with all of the stumbles I came across! Can’t wait to cut up one of my fiance’s tee’s 😉
    Melissa @ Treats With a Twist recently posted..Chocolate Love Brownies

  31. This is such a cool idea! I have a ton of t-shirts i never wear from freshman year of college when they gave them out all the time. I LOVE the pictures with the dogs ‘helping’ you!

  32. Hey there,

    What a fantastic, creative idea!
    Such an awesome way to re-camp an old t-shirt that needs a bit of lovin :)
    Definitely rounding up some old t shirts to get a new wardrobe happening!

    also, I’m a massive fan of your blog; I love reading it, the recipes are so incredibly yummy.
    one of my fave blogs,
    keep up the amazing work!

    Kloe :)
    Kloe @ Running Shoes & Chocolate Mousse recently posted..Silver Linings Playbook & Round 2 of Nike She Runs.

  33. Love this!! I definitely need to try it!

  34. I have done this before! So easy & comfy!
    Haley @ fullnfit recently posted..Honey Soy Glazed Tilapia

  35. I’ve tried making a DIY workout tank top before and it didn’t turn out so well. Thanks for showing how to make one step by step. I’m going to attempt making it again. =)
    Helen recently posted..2nd Week Back and Recent Eats

  36. Goldengirls59 says:

    Looks like a good idea to recycle those old ugly sleeved t-shirts! Definitely want to try. I think I’ll use the leftover sleeve for a neckband for my dogs!

  37. I’ve had a similar tutorial pinned on pinterest for ages, need to do it!
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted..German Chocolate Donuts & Donut Bites {MMAZ #23}

  38. SO cute! I can’t believe you took an plain old T-shirt and made something adorable out of it, so clever, and I knew your animals would love it, surprised that Marcus did not burrow into the shirt.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Kyle’s Krusade Results

  39. Super cute and your dogs crack me up! :)
    Kristen@Change of Pace recently posted..Tuesday Things: Unfinished Post

  40. This is awesome! I’ve seem it on Pinterest, but never really looked far into doing it – so I appreciate you sharing! This is going to be a weekend project for me for sure! :)

  41. This is great! I love DIY projects like this. definitely pinning! :)
    Charlotte recently posted..On Dreaming Big: EuroTrip 2014

  42. I am with Laura from Sprint 2 the Table. I can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler! 😉 I need somebody to do this for me! :) Very cool though!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & a Healthy Heart!

  43. I don’t know if my cat or dog would allow me to do this with out interrupting on multiple occasions. I recently packed up an entire garbage bag of t-shirts to throw out so I am low on shirts to cut up! Perhaps over summer time I’ll revisit this post when I am cursing the sun!
    Megan recently posted..Exhaustion

  44. LOVE this. So doing it as soon as I go to my parents house and take my old swim shirts back. Love working out in tanks but hate fitted ones .. so this is perfect!
    Karla @ myhighonlife recently posted..Perfect Weekend Getaway

  45. Love this! I need to try this out, now just have to find some old shirts to cut up 😉
    purelymichelle recently posted..swimming in chocolate

  46. This is FANTASTIC. I want to get to work right this second. I have a few t-shirts in mind already. Thank you!
    Jenna recently posted..Training for the Cleveland Half: Flexibility

  47. Very cool idea & love the doggy Babushkas! 😛

  48. Tried this today and it was pretty much an epic fail. I think I need more practice. Not only was I trying it on a kid’s t-shirt (too small to cinch the back), but I’m also a leftie so a lot of my scissor cuts were jagged :(

    Will definitely attempt again with a different shirt. Thanks so much for the detailed instructions!
    Ashley K recently posted..After Dinner Coffee-Cube Cocktail

  49. I just did this and it worked out so well. Thank you so much!

  50. This is such a cute idea, thanks for posting it! I have already made 2 and plan on making more for my friends and I for a color run we’re signed up for!

  51. Hi there! I must know where you got that Peanut Envy shirt! I love it! Thanks so much :)

  52. I found this trying to figure out how to modify some of my now too large t-shirts into something more comfortable for running outdoors in this heat/humidity. Now my Histoire de L’art shirt is ready to go for summer and I can wear it again! I will definitely have to do this to a few more shirts. Thanks for the tutorial!

  53. I did this to an oversized tee. Looks great! I have a sewing machine, should I stitch the edges/hems so they don’t unravel?

  54. Please make a YouTube video that we can follow along with!

  55. I’ve been looking for a new way to make workout shirts cuter than just cutting of the sleeves. Definitely using this style for team shirts for upcoming mud/color runs! Thanks for sharing!!

  56. This is totally awesome! Thanks.

    Bonus: I was cracking up at the dog pictures and commentary! Made my day!


  1. […] DIY Workout Tank Top ( […]

  2. […] I saw a tutorial on Lindsay’s blog for how to make a workout tank top and now I want to do it! Although I might google a few other […]

  3. […] DIY: Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean posted a super in-depth tutorial on how to make your own workout tank. This is extremely relevant to my life at the moment because our school’s gym JUST decided we […]

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  4. […] and dove right in. Lindsay shares her tips on preparing healthy meals for the work week, how to make a boring t-shirt into a gym tank, workouts and lots more. She also started an awesome program to help bloggers meet other bloggers, […]

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  5. […] over the holidays, I’ve made some of her recipes and I’m currently attempting her DIY workout tank (it’s not […]

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  6. […] any of my instructions/pictures were unclear, you can check out Blogilates and Lean Green Bean because I combined their tank top methods to create my own. A girl’s gotta do what a […]

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  8. […] just said I’m not a DIY kind of gal, but I will be DIY enough to make one of these DIY Workout Tanks Lindsay posted this past week. So […]

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