A while ago I was inspired by my more crafty friends who have taken items from thrift shops or those languishing at the back of their wardrobe and refashioned them into contemporary, wearable items of clothing.
Now my wardrobe is very lean to start with. Several years ago I went through it ruthlessly and many bags of wearable, just not by me, items went to friends or charity. These days, I tend to have the reverse problem in that I have a small selection of clothes that get such high rotation that I rarely have more than a weeks worth of clothes. And then there is the growing pile of clothes that are deemed "gym" or "gardening". These are items that probably started life as work or casual clothes, but due to wear, fading, stains or tears are now only fit to be sweated in or covered in dirt.
Where I've been looking for refashion candidates are the clothes that I don't wear at all, but still have for some reason. I have a few T-shirts that have sentimental value to me, mostly because they are attached to events and have various images and words screen printed on them. Unfortunately, like many "event" t-shirts, they are very boxy, straight cut "mens" style T-shirts. I find them too big and too high necked to be comfortable to exercise or garden in, but I don't want to part with them. My solution - refashion them into singlets, taking care to keep the screen-printing as a central feature. This will allow me to bring some function to a piece of nostalgia.
T-shirt to singlet refashion #1 - The College War t-shirt*I forgot to take a photo of the t-shirt before cutting it up. Fortunately the Cunning Plans Dept has one of the same size in green. Just in case anyone gets confused when it turns purple in the subsequent photos.
This t-shirt is probably the most worn and faded in the pile, mainly because I used to wear it for fighter training many years ago. I picked it to start with as it I was less likely to be upset if I failed miserably and ended up with an unwearable pile of rags.
First step was to unpick the t-shirt pieces and iron them flat. This was when I discovered that other feature of cheap t-shirts, which is that they aren't cut very straight. It's a pet peeve of mine as I hate how the side seams migrate around your body with garments that aren't cut straight. Fortunately, it looked like I probably had enough room to cut the singlet pieces straight.
I used one of my singlets to trace a pattern onto the t-shirt fabric. I ran into a bit of a challenge with placing the print on the front piece. I like a deep scoop-neck on my singlets. However, due to where the print was place on the t-shirt, it meant that to have enough fabric to reach the shoulder seam and still have a deep scoop, I wasn't going to be able to leave enough fabric to do a rolled edge on the neckline. No problem, I figured I could do a slim bound edge like most commercial singlets have.
I cut out the singlet pieces and sewed up the sides. I then cut lengths from t-shirt sleeve pieces to make binding for the neck and arm holes. I haven't worked much with stretch fabric before and I must admit I found it's tendency to curl up very annoying.
The end result of the edging I'm generally pleased with. Above is a good section with neat double row of top-stitching.
This shows both the raw edges on the inside and the bit of a wobble I had with the front neckline (it isn't meant to have that bulgy bit in the middle), which isn't as noticable when I'm wearing the singlet, but still it could have been neater.
I also had some trouble with the inside curve and need to make a note to stretch the binding a bit more so I don't get the little fold shown above.
And here is the end result - a singlet that I actually wear - even if it is mostly at the gym or in the garden. One garment that was languishing in a drawer is now back in wardrobe circulation.