The One with the Upcycled Tee

You’ve probably got a project or two (or three or four?) on your wish list. Well, I’m happy to report I just finished one of mine. For awhile I’d been wanting to upcycle a tee, evidenced by the post I’d pinned from Oh EverythiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAng Handmade, “DIY: Two Into One T-shirt.”  The project looked adorable and alluringly simple. I didn’t take action, though, till I saw this month’s Sew the Show prompt from Alida Makes.

Inspiration Strikes

girls_teeFirst, let me introduce you to Sew the Show. Each month, sewing blogger Alida selects a TV show. She encourages readers to “put that Netflix addiction to good use” by re-imagining fashion inspired by it. What fun!

I’ve been following along all year, enjoying the entries from other sewists. So when Alida announced April’s pick as Friends, I thought this could be my shot. (I don’t typically sew clothes. I’m intimidated by the precision of making them fit.)

What fashion comes to your mind when you think of Friends? Floral dresses with cropped jean jackets? OverallsTank dresses? Funny, the first thing I thought of was t-shirts. Seriously. Everybody on that show knew how to rock a simple tee.

So I set out on my mission. If you’d like to try this at home, here are the steps I followed.

Make Your Own Upcycled Tee

Step One: Find Your Muse

friends_red_stripeWhen looking for inspiration, I zoned in on Monica. Her style strikes me as clean, tailored, and sporty. (I’d like to think that describes my aesthetic, too.) I wanted to incorporate stripes, so when I found this red top of Monica’s, a vision for my project took shape.

Step Two: Find Your Tees

Off to the thrift shops I went. My plan was simple: Look for 3 or 4 shirts of the same size and weight that matched the colors in Monica’s top: red, grey, black, and maybe white. Execution turned out to be way harder than that, as I couldn’t find what I wanted. By the third shop I visited, I admitted it was time to let go of the strict color palette. (Fortunately, I live within a few minutes’ drive of several second-hand stores.) I’d stick to size, but I’d open the search to any colors I liked that would work together.

two_tees1

Step Three: Cut Them Up

Even though my colors wouldn’t match Monica’s red top, I still wanted to emulate the position of the stripes. Thanks to Oh Everything Handmade, I knew to cut just below the armpit. (Thank goodness for rotary cutters, am I right?)

cuts

Step 4: Pin Like Crazy and Sew

With right sides facing each other, pin the edges together all around the shirt. (In other words, make sure the outsides of both shirts are facing each other as you pin.) In the shots below, I’d already sewn the yellow stripe to the blue, and now I was pinning orange to yellow.

pin_and_sew
Note that my pins have a tiny button decoration on them. (No, there are not actual buttons on the shirt.) Also, if you look closely you’ll see that perfect sewing wasn’t my goal here. I wanted a fun project I could start and finish in a weekend. Go ahead, try it yourself!

Step 5: Enjoy Your Newest T-Shirt (Or, In My Case, Shirts)

This turned out to be a quick project, and I was having fun with it. So I went ahead and made three versions. What I liked most was the sheer number of possibilities! Combining solids was as simple as attaching stripes of different sizes. Next time, I may try mixing prints or graphics for a funkier look. Or letting the shirts I discover dictate the direction. How would you adapt your own tees?

Thanks for the inspiration, fellow bloggers!

three_tees
Why, yes, that is an oversized coffee mug. Surely the Friends themselves would appreciate it.