"T" Time

I realized at one point during a closet purge that I don't really wear T-shirts.  I had a whole pile of shirts that I had collected from different events...you know the ones, they have a list of sponsors on the back and the name of the charity event on the front...but have never been worn.  Even the t-shirts that I buy on purpose, I don't seem to choose when I'm getting dressed.  (note to self: stop buying t-shirts, even really, really cute ones!) So what to do with them...this week they became the targets of a 'refashioning' afternoon.

"Upcycling"  "Refashioning"  "Repurposing"  ...whatever you call it, it's everywhere!  I took a couple of swipes at it this week.  I love the challenge of figuring out how to get all the parts and pieces of the 'new' garment out of the 'old' garment.  

The first one came about because I wanted to try some boro stitching. (Japanese darning) I have been seeing it around and wanted to try a small project.  I thought the front of a shirt would be a manageable start.  I found a scrap of black raw silk and one of my son's old T-shirts (yes, the same son who lost his jeans to the wine tote/cut-off projects!) that inspired me.  I added some silk organza...

The scrap of silk needed to be 'enlarged' if I was going to get a shirt front out of it, so that became the place for the boro stitching to happen...

I used the torn edges of both the silks and made a kind of slotted seam.  The overlapped edges were then reinforced with hand stitching.

Black is kind of tough to photograph, but I think you get the idea.  The thread colors came from the t-shirt fabric. (also hard to see)

I tore apart the t-shirt to make the rest of the garment.  I used the front of the shirt to make bias strips for the neck, armholes and hem bands.  I did a funky high-low hem that gives some interest to the back.

The weight of the raw silk works really nicely with the t-shirt knit and I like the stitched detail.  I think I will try some more...maybe a bit more traditional next time, more like 'real' darning.

My second opportunity to 'refashion' a t-shirt came in the form of a t-shirt from an organization that I serve on the board of.  Knowing that I would probably not wear it in it's original form, but wanting to support the organization, I decided if it were more of a tank top I would be more likely to put it on.  So I went about turning it from a regular T-shirt to a pieced tank top...

The logo had some green in it so I thought maybe some bits of green would work...as it turned out, I didn't like the green and stuck with the shirt fabric and a piece of zig-zag fabric (also cotton knit) to make up some of the parts that I couldn't quite squeeze out of the t-shirt.

  I serged the seams to the outside and just folded an inch wide strip of the zig-zag over the raw edges of the neck and arm holes, using a twin needle to secure them. The message on the shirt really begged to be reworked!  THIS t-shirt I think I will enjoy wearing!


  1. Very, very nice. Imaginative. Takes the regulation T-shirt up at least 20 notches.