This one time I wanted a cool new shirt for a 5K {Racerback Tutorial}

Last September I ran in Charm City’s Back to Football NFL 5K. There was a TON of hype surrounding the event, what with the Ravens WINNING THE SUPERBOWL and all. I wanted to wear something related to my team, but all the at least 100 Ravens tees that I own have sleeves and I wasn’t trying to run in sleeves. Early September = hot. So then I got the bright idea to modify one of my shirts into a racerback. The results were awesome!

ravensrunI got lots of compliments on it at the race and people wanted to know where I bought it. It was cool to be able to say that I made it. Then of course my Ravens went on to reek like hot garbage for the majority of last season and didn’t even make the playoffs, but I’m not fair weather for my hometown teams. I have proof! Look! An Orioles shirt!

ughfaceThat face isn’t because I’m embarrassed to be an O’s fan, although let’s face it…it was painful to watch them play for 17 years straight. I am making that face because this shirt does nothing for me. I have no idea how it even ended up in my closet in the first place. It’s awkwardly sized and frumpy in all the wrong places. Clearly it would be the perfect example for today’s post.

Make Your Own Cool Racerback Tee

What you need:

  • Scissors.
  • A needle, thread, and some very basic sewing skills.
  • The ability to braid.  I’m sure there’s a YouTube video out there if you really don’t know how.

Step 1: Get thyself a shirt. One that is too baggy on you is best because the modifications you make will give the shirt a more sleek, fitted look. It’s amazing how many of these I had in my closet just taking up valuable space. As a result, since last September I have 10 new racerbacks without spending a dime.


Step 2: Cut off the arms. It should look a little like this. Guys, you might want to stop here because things are about to get a lot less manly. Unless you want to rock a braided racerback. I won’t judge if you do.


You can also cut the shirt into a v-neck if you feel so inclined, which I did not.

Step 3: Cut away the back part of the shirt from the collar. You will be left with a flap of tee shirt that will extend down to the bottom part of where you removed the arms.

Step 4: Cut this flap into 3 equal parts.


Step 5: BRAID IT!

Step 6: Using the needle and thread, sew the end of the braid to the middle of the shirt collar. You don’t have to be a sewing aficionado. Just make sure it’s attached securely. I don’t want to hear about any wardrobe malfunctions.


Step 7: You’re done! Now put on your old-new shirt and take cheesy bathroom selfies.


Please excuse the up-close-and-personal with my ear.

Have you ever upcycled old clothes? What’s your favorite sports team?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I’M ON VACATION! And if you haven’t already don’t forget to enter my RoadID giveaway! The deadline is next Wednesday.

~ Salt


31 thoughts on “This one time I wanted a cool new shirt for a 5K {Racerback Tutorial}

  1. piratebobcat says:

    Cool trick! My wife hates my t-shirt modifications. I basically take old shirts I like and don’t want to trash and cut off the sleeves and collars and use them to do yardwork in. Not the best look I admit.
    I’m originally from Ohio. My teams are the Browns and Indians. So I legally have to hate you for being a Ravens fan. 😉

  2. txa1265 says:

    Awesome! I have to confess to just wearing tech shirts, of which I have too many 🙂

    Every year we do a pre-school closet clean and donate everything not needed … or trash it. I do keep some ‘yardwork clothes’, but not too much.

    Born in Boston means Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins and Patriots. As a teen I even worked at Foxboro Stadium (which was called ‘Schaeffer Stadium back then) … back when the Patriots were constant bottom-dwellers. We did get to take the boys to see the Red Sox on their run to the World Series before we moved out here 🙂

    Interestingly, where we are is fairly equidistant from Pittsburgh (5hrs), Buffalo (3hrs) and NYC (4hrs) … so there are fans of everyone. Plus loads of Corning folks are transplants so you get plenty of fans from pretty much everywhere.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I wear tech shirts more than anything else too. They are so comfortable!
      I feel like Baltimore is mostly Ravens obviously, but there are a TON of Steelers fans here. I’m even friends with some of them. 🙂 As far as your teams, I really do like the Bruins!

  3. Megan Money-Wagner says:

    I have had a few failed upcycle projects. This one seems easy enough that I wouldn’t fail.

    As for sports teams. I grew-up a, and will forever be a, Chicago Cubs fan. My grandfather’s ashes are at Wrigley on the field (shah don’t tell anyone; it was done sneakily) and his fandom is where I inherited it.

    I married into being a NY Giants fan and Pittsburgh Penguins fan. But since I’m from southwest Michigan, I’m pretty much a Chicago fan. Ryan hates it when I claim I’m a Bears fan. Ha.

    • runsaltrun says:

      It’s SO easy! Making that shirt took maybe 8 minutes of my time.
      I kind of really love the Bears. They are my second favorite team besides the Ravens. 🙂 I hope he didn’t give you any trouble last season considering how completely horrible the Giants were!

  4. Kelly @ Turned up to Eleven says:

    Thank you for sharing this!! I have about 5 shirts I’d love to do this to! Especially the DALEK shirt I’m wearing today… I’m so upset the collar started to rip on it and I figured I should up cycle it into something more fun before it falls apart!! 🙂

    I will always love the Orioles!! Mike has that same shirt (I might have to steal it from him and make it into a tank – it’s way too big for me as is). We purchased it at a swap meet here in AL, strange right?

    • runsaltrun says:

      Oh nooooo. I’m sorry about the loss. 😦 I have to say though, Peyton is such a classy guy. I was so impressed with how it was all handled. I always liked the 49’ers a lot, but their reaction to the loss last year was so off putting. You guys have a classy team.

  5. kristenk says:

    So cute! I just went through a ton of old shirts in my closet (as seen in today’s post) but I’m going to dig through my donations bag to see if I have any shirts big enough to do this with!

    • Debbie @ Deb Runs says:

      P.S. I just shared this with my Moms RUN This Town friends. They’re very crafty and I’m sure would love turning some of their short-sleeved technical race shirts into racerbacks!

      • runsaltrun says:

        Oh that’s awesome! 🙂 Let me know how it goes for them! It’s been so nice having these extra shirts around now that actually fit me. 🙂

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