Just like Hawaiian shirts, vintage clothing is back on trend these years. From apparel stores to any girl’s Instagram feed, we can see the retro shirts everywhere. Instead of going out to purchase some pieces, let me take you through a few steps on how to age t-shirts and stay easily in vogue!

Before getting to the DIY vintage t-shirt process, it’s important to know what makes this style so timeless and relevant to all of us. Not only do vintage clothes, especially t-shirts bring such a nostalgic feeling, but their fabrics are also really soft and well-worn.

A Typical Retro T-shirt

While being such a pleasure to wear, there’s something about the vintage apparel that differs from all fast-fashion pieces we see these days. So, what makes it so special? Let’s find out below and prepare to roll your sleeves!

What makes true vintage clothing

Or in other words, why you should think about how to age clothing and make it feel “right”.

Normally, vintage t-shirts you buy from stores might look and feel quite fresh and stiff. These items are actually made of unused stock, and you need to add a few more touches to age them. So, here are a few characteristics of vintage apparel you should seek for and copy when creating your own items:

Definitive styles of previous eras

Each era has its distinct fashion styles, which can be recognized by any vintage enthusiasts. For example, cinched waists in the 50s, shoulder pads in the 80s, and many more significant features of those times.

Worn, soft feeling

This can only be felt on garments that have been through lots of washes and years in the wardrobe. They are soft to the touch and comfortable to put on.

To avoid the thoughts of wearing someone else’s shirts, making your own aged apparel is a chance for you to bring back the nostalgic styles.

Worn T-shirts

Natural frays and fades

Frayed and faded details and edges are definitely the representations of urban, grungy, and aesthetic vintage vibes. They are noticeable on prints, graphics, and around the hemlines and collars.

Now that you have got the main features of vintage apparel, let’s come to the techniques on how to make shirts look vintage! These involve using only household items during the process to age the shirts without damaging them.

4 easy steps to make a shirt look old

The shirts after aging techniques look equally stunning, as long as you pay full attention to the preparation steps.

Women’s shirts in particular tend to have thinner materials than men’s, so you may want to apply natural aging to avoid breaking down the threads.

Woman DYI Vintage T-shirt

Also, before you try any of the soaks, remember to wash your chosen t-shirts a few times. These will make all available shrinkage and color bleeds happen before the aging process. You won’t want to ruin other shirts with some undesirable color stains.

Besides, put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your skin from bleach or tea ingredients.

#1 Prepare the brine solution

The first step on how to age t-shirts is preparing the brine solutions. Choose a large and well-ventilated area for your process and get everything started.

Make sure you have on hand a bucket and ingredients like vinegar, lemon, and bleach. You can also use acetone, but remember to wear your rubber gloves.

The simplest method of all is using vinegar. Starting with mixing 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water, soaking the t-shirts for about 12 hours. Then, line dry and stain to wear down any graphics. Don’t use a machine dryer or else you may get unwanted shrinkage. After that, mix 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar, soak the shirts in for another 12 hours.

Clothes Are Let Dry During Aging Process

#2 Hot wash, dry, and rinse

Next on how to weather clothes is to give your apparel a good, hot wash. After the brining solutions, it is necessary to let heat lift excess colors, stains, and fibers of the last step out. This can be performed several times for the best results.

#3 Create stains

While you wash the apparel, tea, coffee, or paints are suggested to help create some natural aging effects. If you are trying to age some bright-colored pieces, this technique will work best.

You can start by diluting the coffee or other ingredients on water. Dip your shirts in for about 10 minutes.

#4 Sandpaper smooth

After all those steps of fading and staining, the final touch you can add on how to age t-shirts is using pumice or sandpaper.

Lay your apparel on a flat surface and begin “roughing” your shirts. The collars, hems, and sleeve edges should be where you so for with your sandpaper.

Finally, since the fabrics and colors play an important role in your success rate, don’t hesitate to try different ways for each DIY vintage t-shirt. If you find my guide helpful, let me and your friends know!