Jazz up your basic T-shirts

July 17, 2009 4:55:49 PM PDT
Finding new uses for your old clothing.

Megan Nicolay's advice on DIY Fashion:

How to save money without giving up style:
Start by looking at what you already have--if something doesn't quite fit or you haven't worn it in years (say, one of those dozen T-shirts in the back of your closet), you can easily alter it (or use part of it to alter something else) to make something new, usable, and one-of-a-kind. With T-shirts, especially, and using only a pair of scissors (no sewing!) you can make halter tops, pillows, bibs, skirts, and so much more!

The current popularity of DIY:
First there was the green movement, now it's been joined by the thrifty movement--people are looking for more and more ways to save by doing or making it themselves. They're sharing on LiveJournal and other social networking sites, selling on Etsy, gathering at the dozens of Indie Craft fairs across the country. And T-shirt DIY is a fun and easy way to get into the groove (even if you don't consider yourself crafty). It's quick, it's easy--it's fun.

Instructions on what Megan created on the show:

Pinup Girl (halter)

This design morphed out of a halter top I helped a friend refashion at a music festival. With very few tools on hand, it was a challenge for this ETT (Emergency T-shirt Technician) to revive the tee after its tie-dye overdose. But the test results are in: This halter is comfortable (generous belly allowance), offers full coverage (without sacrificing the Marilyn appeal), and it's surprisingly glamorous for a five-minute surgery. For a more shapely fit and a taste of self-expression, gather it in with grandmother's rhinestone brooch, a political protest button, or a pin from the rock band that just rolled through town.

  1. Lay the T-shirt flat and cut off the left sleeve, just inside the seam.

  2. Mark and then cut through both layers from the bottom of the right sleeve to about 2" from the left edge of the neckband.

  3. Try on the halter top, rotating the fabric to insert your head through the remaining armhole. If it fits, you're done! If it's still a little boxy, continue with step 4.

  4. With the halter top still on, pinch fabric from both sides of the shirt just below the bustline. Gather the pinched fabric together at the base of the sternum with a punk pin. The back of the halter should fit comfortably against your skin while the front gives the belly some breathing room.
Note: The front gathers make this top very practical as summer maternity wear!

Variation: Instead of gathering the fabric in front, take the action to the back. After step 2, with the shirt still flat, cut vertically up the right side, opening up the back of the halter. Cut fringe into the open edges, and tie coordinating strips from each edge together to tighten the shirt in the back.

Website: http://www.generation-t.com/category/t-shirt-projects

About Megan Nicolay:
Megan Nicolay, an obsessive DIYer herself, created Generation-T.com in 2005 to celebrate the ever-important concept of "project time" in our daily grind. It's a time to drop everything, turn off the phone, turn off the TV, and make something-be it a picture frame or a poem, a handmade card or a batch of brownies. The T-shirt is Megan's preferred medium-unparalleled in the world of fashion in terms of comfort, versatility, and longevity?and never in short supply. Everybody has a stash of old T-shirts won at sporting events, brought home from rock concerts, gathered at thrift stores, or saved as a random leftover of a relationship that didn't quite work out (hey, he never came back to claim his Clash T-shirt?-it's yours). Each T-shirt has a story, and it would be, sentimentally speaking, out of the question to get rid of it. So, in the spirit of environmentalism and anti-consumerism, Megan resuscitates, recycles, and refashions them. By the spring of 2009 the website needed a little refashioning, too - so it was dragged from the back of the closet where it had been languishing, it was embellished and updated, and it was presented once again to its dear readers.


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