I tell my students "creativity is not efficient". It is not about getting things right the first time (or second or third or sometimes ever.) Which is not a bad thing. The journey is fun, it is often better than what you end up with. And while that may sound bad in an results-oriented culture like ours, it really really isn't.
This is a rather long tale of my most recently finished refashion. I understand if you don't want to go on the entire journey. But keep in mind, this is about more than taking some thrifted t-shirts and making them into a refashioned t-shirt, it is also about a creative journey.
|initial inspiration for pink t-shirt refashion|
It began with the thrifted t-shirts above. I had the luck to find 3 pink t-shirts that were the same colour (the third one I didn't need so isn't in the photo). The hot pink t on the left is my main focus. It has a Pooh logo (yes the bear) embroidered on the front. The rainforest grey-green t-shirt is a poop colour, but out of the softest organic cotton. My original idea was a double-layered Alabama Chanin inspired t-shirt, pink on the outside, poo colour on the inside. A reverse appliqué to bring the grey onto the pink front and therefore subvert some of the pink Pooh sweetness.
I had decided at this point that the Pooh logo would be on the back rather than the front.
I was going for the Alabama Chanin t-shirt with a seam down the front and the back. I had recut the pattern to have a higher neckline and different armholes so that I could add sleeves to it.
My first problem. When I cut out the green underlayer there was no way to avoid the rainforest rescue stencilled logo. If it had been on the outside I would have just kept it (a rather nice parrot) but on the inside it was going to be scratching against my skin. Disappointing but I had to drop the second layer.
At this time I also decided to go back to the t-shirt style I have done before, the one without a seam down the front and back.
|drawing on pink refashion|
Pooh lives in a forest right? So what about some trees? I drew these on with a fabric marker.
|Embroidering in the tree trunks|
I went ahead with some appliqué with the grey-green t-shirt fabric, and then the trunks were too faint. Here I am embroidering them in.
|Hand-sewn shoulder seams|
It is all put together by hand-sewing. This is one of the reasons I love doing these refashions, I love hand-sewing. For some reason I love hand-sewing but not embroidery. I can't figure that one out.
The front and the back with the shoulder seams sewn up.
Yes Pooh is a bit slanted. I decided to go with the selvage when I cut it out instead of keeping the logo straight. I am not sure I would make that same decision again.
Sorry about the blurry photo.
I am deciding which colour of sleeves to go with. It seemed obvious to me once I put them up.
Most of the seams are sewn twice. I hand-sew the seam, then felt and topstitch the seam down. I like the way it looks and I want to make it stronger as I don't have the same faith in the strength of my hand-sewn seams as I would with machine sewn. That probably isn't deserved as the hand-sewing is done with thicker than normal and doubled thread.
I could only get one sleeve out of each t-shirt so it was good that I had two matching pink t-shirts.
|Both sleeves attached|
My next drama has to do with the t-shirt not being long enough. The torso being too short was a cutting decision that I made so I would have enough dark pink fabric from the main t-shirt to make the neck binding from. I didn't want the apricot pink next to my face because it doesn't look good on me.
I love the way you can control stuff like that when you are making your own clothes.
|Where can I cut the bottoms from?|
The trouble is, I don't have enough red fabric left to extend the bottom of both the front and the back. Here I am seeing if I can get another bottom bit out of what is left from one of the sleeve t-shirts. I finally managed to get enough out of the left one which turned out to be a slightly larger size. Happy days.
Testing out how it will look. I decide to put the pink on the front and the red in the back. Why? Because there is less contrast with the red and I am hoping it will bring less attention to my generous *ahem* bottom.
Here it is sewn on. I like it.
This goes on and on, doesn't it? No wonder this has taken me ages to finish.
I don't really mind though.
I feel like the front needs something a little further up. I find a great illustration of Pooh with the bees.
This could be good, but I have to draw it right the first time. I don't know of any way to get the pen out if I mess it up.
|applique, embroidery and drawing|
Phew, I was successful.
Pinning the neckline binding on to sew.
|Pink Pooh Refashioned T-shirt|
Finally it is finished. Not too bad, still very pink even with the appliqué and brown stitching. I do have moods where I want to wear pink so that should be okay.
|Pink Pooh Refashioned T-shirt|
I have to say photographing myself wearing my refashion is one of my least favourite parts. I was disappointed to discover that I couldn't get the t-shirt over my mannequin's shoulders once the side seams were sewn - so I couldn't use it for the model. Damn.
I added this one at the end because the light is better than in the one where I am wearing it.
Now the one question I try not to ask myself is: Was it worth it? This particular t-shirt may not be worth the time I put into it. But creating it brought me a lot of pleasure, and who knows where what I learned making it might bring me to?