Modifications to the method are in red
This is what I am trying for:
I started with a long sleeve t-shirt (xxl) from target $6
I used tailor chalk
(and possibly other t-shirt scraps)
Step 1 - Mark out your shirt
If you don't have a body dummy you will need a friend for this part.
Put the shirt on inside out.
Mark where the shoulders end
Next along the sides, pin down from the desired arm pit to where you want your to to end. Be careful to pin equally on each side. I like my shirts fitted but not tight so I was careful to not pull on the shir and left a bit of ease. Follow the pin lines with the caulk to roughly mark out the new fit of your shirt... do this on both the front and back!
With the tailors chalk (and pins if you like)mark out where the shirt will end in the center front and back.
Mark under the bust line (being careful to press the shirt up under a larger bust to represent where you actually wear the shirt). Mark this line center and sides... this is so you know where to put the wrappy bits.
Also mark on the sides where you want the wrappy bits to end... thinner and by the bust you end up with an empire waist effect. Thicker and more down you end up with a textured tunic feel (what I am going for).
Step 2 - Cut it up
Cut off the sleeves.
If you are going to finish the open edges of the bottom and arm holes cut them off a half or a quarter of an inch over your marks.
Cut off the excess at the bottom.Instead of cutting it off I left it and it gave me a great slimming paneled feel of an asian tunic... Though I had to rip out stitches at the end. Next time just mark the drop off point. That is the widest point of your hip or the apex of your hip curve.... is is were the side seams will end.
Next cut up the sides leaving half an inch for seam allowance.
Step 3 - Make the wrappy strip bits
In the end I ended cutting each sleeve in three bits that ended up as tappered trapaziods like the illustration and sewed them together. I used french seams because I don't have a serger (yet!) but I wouldn't do that again as it was really to bulky for this kind of knit.
Then sew the bits of sleeves together till you have a strip that will go from one side of your body across the front and to the back with enough ease to tie comfortable. Add scraps of other t-shirt fabric as needed.
Step 4 - Put it together
This is a good time to check fit. Throw it over your head and make sure everything is landing correctly and that you have arm holes you like. Mark any fit corrections with chalk and pins.
Fold open the shirt at the shoulder seams. Place the wrappy strips to the edge of the front of the shirt... Wrong side to good side!!! Gather the wrappy bit as needed to fit in the desired amount of torso. This will vary by person but the goal is not to make your gut look giant and to make your girls (no mater what size they are) look great yet modest.
Sew the wrappy bits down to the front of the shirt slightly inside the desired finishe seam edge.
Step 5 - No, Really putting it all together and finishing it
Fold the wrappy strips in (pinning if you need to) so they don't get caught when you sew the side seams.
Fold the shirt back together at the shoulder seams right sides together. Pin and sew the sides. Be Careful and don't sew all the way down to the bottom of the shirt like I did otherwise you will have to rip out the seams which is a huge drag with black on black and knit material. Huge.
I finished the sides and arms by folding over the fabric the same amount as the side seams folded in and going over them with a smallish zig zag stitch. I triple stitched the sides seams at the top so they wouldn't rip around my generous hip/bum.
At this point I haven't finished the neckline but that is cause I am not sure what I am gonna do with it. Need something but I don't want to kill the simple clean lines of the shirt.