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Friday, December 18, 2015
Intro to JypsieDesigns & a pile of t-shirts
I can't remember when I started sewing, but I first used a sewing machine when I was 8 years old, and since then there's been no going back. I was raised wearing hand-me-downs or play clothes my Mom or Grandma made for me. With only the money for one new school outfit every September, church dresses for Easter and Christmas, and a few items on my birthday, I quickly figured out how to turn my clothing into something better. As a kid in the 80's, I turned thrifted bell-bottoms into pegged slacks. Inspired by Cyndi Lauper, I sewed the tops of old jeans onto tie-dyed petticoats. I dyed and re-dyed, added patches, painted flowers with fabric paint, and generally kept my Mom guessing what I would walk out of my room wearing.
Now I rarely have time to tweak my own wardrobe (beyond necessary fit alterations and basic repairs). I spend most of my time doing this for my clients, or occasionally for a play with unusual needs.
Recently a client came to me with a pile of t-shirts and some pictures pulled off the internet of ways that she had seen t-shirts re-fashioned. She told me just to use the pictures as inspiration, they didn't have to be direct copies, and her only rule was no slashing (the classic punk technique of cutting your shirts to ribbons and wearing them with raw edges until they fall apart). I could get behind that; as a professional Seamstress with extensive training in couture techniques, I am not fond of unfinished edges as they don't hold up to use and washing very well. As Edna Mode says, we don't need to wear hobo suits.
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my client wearing the original unaltered t-shirts. She bought them because she liked the colors and silk-screened designs, but they were all different sizes, mostly all too big for her. My first goal would be to make them fit her better, and show off the shape that she works so hard on (she works out and has great shoulders, and is also quite petite and busty - about 5'1" and a 34D).
From there, solving the jigsaw puzzle was relatively easy. Every shirt had to have the armscye re-cut. If you have shirts that hang like sacks on you and make you look bigger than you are, I highly recommend removing the sleeves, adding bust darts (if you are bigger than a B cup), and cutting down the armscye (the armhole is on your body, the armscye is the hole in the garment that fits around your arm) so that it sits exactly where your armhole is.
My client loves them, and thanks to the time I took with measurements, they fit her well. T-shirts are usually not fit very well because they are a knit, and they stretch. Because I was making alterations that would limit the amount they could stretch, I had to make sure the fit was right, and I had to make sure the shirts had openings and closures so that she could get into them.