A Tale o’ Two Tee Shirts

Life wouldn’t be the same without our tee-shirts. Can you imagine a wardrobe without them?

We have a family member who works at Thread Pit, where you can buy cool tee shirts, cheap.

But what will you do when your tee-shirt slogan becomes passe or the fabric gets threadbare or you just plain outgrow the shirt? Landfill? According to a story on ArticleClick, remnant fabrics and used clothing take up 10% of space in landfills in LA.

Lucky for me, when I was shopping at the local Hospice Thrift store, I spotted two tee’s from bygone rock concerts (or maybe Wal-Mart, who knows?) One, a bejeweled Led Zeppelin and the other, a Nirvana, each a couple of $’s apiece. Only bad thing was, they were both size SMALL.

Another day, I scooped up some remnants at the Wal-Mart cutting counter. This pink cotton jersey knit, which set me back about $2.40, turned out to be an almost perfect match to the Nirvana shirt.

Remnant tee shirt project

All I did was 1) cut the side seams of the tee-shirt all the way from sleeve to hem. 2) Cut two five-inch wide strips of the remnant (by the way, I washed it first) and 3) serged the fabric strips to the tee shirt seams, right sides together. I turned down a hem at each end, then after serging the side seams, I sewed the hems with a 2.5 zigzag stitch. I did go back over the seams, too, that had been serged, with the zigzag for reinforcement. It took me less than an hour, I think, while singing “hey! wait! I got a real complaint!”

side panel

Remnant redo Nirvana

So that’s one less crusty band shirt and remnant roll in the landfill today.

Next is a shirt I made from a 1-yard remnant of knit fabric that, if not sold 1/2 price as a remnant, would have been $14.99. It was quite stretchy and a bit hard to work with. That is why I wanted to use it to make my first Emma Seabrooke SewkeyesE project, the Claire Tee Top. Seabrooke markets “Knit Patterns for the Hard to Fit” in which tops are based on shoulder size, cup size and bust measurement. She also sells a line of knit stay-tapes. I picked up a few of these at the Quilt Expo, and I love working with them.

Me and tee

The point is that as we go from the size small to the large, do our shoulders really grow in the same proportion as our wobbly bits? No, not really, except for maybe bit of fatback accumulating up there. And then when you get into the larger sizes, you get even more hit and miss when you try on clothes. Some L sizes are bigger on top, some bigger in the hips and smaller on top, all permutations, etc. Good luck!

I like the way it fits in the shoulders but skims the body and doesn’t hug the spare tire like Saran Wrap. Do you think it is an extreme contrast to the sliced and diced Nirvana tee? I will definitely try more of Emma Seabrooke’s designs for the hard to fit, while trying to avoid putting more fabric in the landfill.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Berthine
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 15:36:35

    The ever so versatile t-shirts! At my daughter’s 8th birthday party, I set up a long worktable in the back yard, arranged several squeeze bottles of dye I mixed in the kitchen, and gave each guest a t-shirt and a plastic bag … yup, tie die party! Instead of bringing home candy and such momentos, each person left with a new t-shirt!


  2. Na Na
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 19:47:46

    Love your new t-shirt. Have you tried making your undies from t-shirts yet? Perfect fit and last just about forever. Very easy to make. I have the tutorial on my blog if your interested. .


  3. rosyragpatch
    May 02, 2012 @ 14:46:26

    I liked your teeshirts very much. I will follow your advice and try smaller sizes – I usually cut down from larger.


  4. Trackback: Totally distracted this weekend by a pattern | Fibercrush
  5. Kendra Richards
    Apr 24, 2013 @ 02:05:13

    Oh my goodness! You are so cute & I am drooling over your Nirvana shirt! AND IT”S PINK! That is hard to find! I have a cute black one that has an image of the band & says “Nirvana” in pink and it was tough to find it. I love that you shared on this & what an amazing bargain! I have actually been looking for some jersey knit fabric myself — seems my WalMart does not carry it. 😦 Thanks for sharing how you made this tee work. I will remember this tutorial. You sooo rock the Nirvana shirt!


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