creating an opening in under layers of clothing

This page has directions for making an opening in clothing for tube access.  The directions are intended for altering a shirt one would wear as a base or under layer, with something else over it.

Even though the focus is more toward women’s clothing, it is certainly applicable to men as well.

It is true that one can just slice an opening in most interlock knit fabrics (think “t-shirt” material). But,  if the garment is form fitting, such as a camisole, what will happen when wearing that shirt, is it will gape open, and skew the fit.  If an under shirt has a loose fit, this does not happen.

Today I’m creating a circular opening in a  base layer close fitting cami/tank top.  These tops are  a staple in my wardrobe in autumn and wintertime.

Once you get the hang of creating a circular opening for an undershirt, or other article of clothing that won’t be visible most of the time, you can build on that concept, still using a circle, and make openings in other garments as well.

You can make an opening that will not affect the structure of a stretchy form fitting garment with a few simple steps.

I prefer an opening that is big enough to where it won’t get caught on my peg tube during the day.  Sure, those cute little openings we see on the internet targeted toward tube fed kids are cute, but I want room to maneuver when having a meal.  Its enough work just lining  up the feeding extension to plug it  in, without having to fit it through  a little opening in my top too.   I also dislike the risk that the peg tube could be inadvertently pulled by clothing tugging on it.

Here is what I use, and why:


Pellon woven iron on interfacing, (shown in black and white) a circle cutting tool, markers, ruler, and cutting mat

Iron on woven interfacing will give you much nicer results than using the non woven variety.  You can find it (usually along the back wall) at Jo Ann Fabrics, and also  various internet sellers, such as shops on eBay, and here on Amazon: (black) (white).

Washout fabric markers, while completely unnecessary for this project, are really handy to have around if you do any sewing or alterations. They wash out in 104-degree Farenheit/40-degree Celsius.  You can buy at craft stores, and here on Amazon: http://B005VPU1AS.  For this project you can use any pen or marker.

The circle cutter shown in the photo above is the Olfa Rotary Circle Cutter.  I do not remember where I purchased mine, I don’t think it was Amazon, but, I just looked, and they do have it at a competitive price.:

To cut with this tool, you will need a cutting mat, or other surface that will not be damaged by the blade.  The pink mat you see in the photo above, has seen its better days, but I find it so useful for many projects.  These mats  are called “self healing” mats, and they come in various sizes (I have a larger black one that also has gotten much use over the years.


Gather what you will need together.   In addition to the shirt you are altering, and supplies shown above, you will also need an iron.

  • Put on the shirt, so you can mark where the hole should be.  And don’t mark it right away.  Move around some, wear it for a while.  You know how we “think” what we’re wearing looks one way, but then throughout the day,  some things, especially clingy things, shift.  They creep up, making sure any bulges we think we are hiding, really aren’t so hidden haha.  What I’m saying is you want the hole to be where you will actually need it.  Not where it looks like it should be when you have the shirt laid out in front of you.
  • Mark exactly where the center of your tube is.  You can use a fabric marker for this, but, it doesn’t really matter what you mark with, because that part of your shirt is going to be removed anyway. Alternately, you can snip a teeny tiny hole with sharp small scissors. If you used a pen to mark instead of snipping a hole,  and you can’t see the mark through the fabric when you look at the underside of it, use a straight pin shoved through that mark (after you take the top off) and use the pin as a guide to make another dot on the wrong side of the fabric.  You will need this as a guideline later.
  • Measure how big your peg tube is at its widest place. Mine is about 1.5″, so I know that I want the hole to be  2.5″ at a bare minimum–my preference is a little more.


  • Add at least 1″ to the overall size you want the opening to be, and cut a circle of interfacing. The interfacing will be used to form a little frame all the way around the hole, therefore, it needs to be bigger than the opening you will make in your top.

The distance from the center pin to cutting blade is 1.5″. This will create a 3″ diameter circle.


  • Turn the shirt wrong side out, and put it on an ironing board.  Center the circle of interfacing you just cut onto the mark you made on the shirt previously.  The rough side of interfacing is the bonding side, this side goes facing down onto the shirt.


  • Steam the interfacing onto the inside of your top.  Pressing firmly, for about 10 seconds.  Use the hottest setting the garment fabric can safely be exposed to.  Even though the interfacing is cotton, I have had no problems having it bond to delicate fabrics such as silk, so, don’t worry if you can’t use a hot iron, its okay.
  • Adjust the rotary cutter  for a smaller circle in order to  create the hole in your shirt.   Use the mark you placed when you tried on your top as the guide for center of circle to but be cut.  Make sure (as in really really sure!) you are only cutting through one layer of fabric!.  Put the cutting mat inside your top before beginning to cut.

camisole is turned inside out

To finish up, you can either do nothing else, and just snip off any stray threads of the interfacing material after washing your top the first few times, or, you can stitch around the opening with  your sewing machine. If you want to do more,  and make it fancier, just use your creative imagination.  I have added a contrasting trim to dress up the opening on some of my tops.  I used the same soft comfy bamboo velour I use for peg tube pads, to edge the opening in my top shown in the photo below.   This is a top that I inadvertently cut a hole into the fabric right next to the opening, when when snipping off a loose thread.  So, to fix it, I made an even larger opening in my top,  and I love it that way!  It is my favorite undershirt.  Here’s a picture of it: