Refashion: The Amazing Green T-shirt

I may have mentioned this before, but my philosopher husband (who you met in last week’s podcast!) has a very exciting take on creativity, one that I have taken as a license to invest in my creative endeavors with renewed enthusiasm.

His philosopher’s hot take might sound a little bit strange, coming as it does from someone who spends his days teaching others about some of the very high-minded and rational ideas of some decidedly un-spiritually minded things. But that’s why we love this Philosopher Prince and not any other, right?

Here’s his take on creativity: He said, when you look at origin stories across cultures, the very first thing God did was create. Therefore, the human impulse to create and the desire to create is actually human beings reflecting back the nature of God.

This just feels good to believe. On our list of virtues to pursue, there is one called “godliness”, which is honestly, a very difficult one to live up to, no matter who you are. So…if I can believe that being creative is actually part of that virtue, well, I’m here for it.

Anyhoo. My voice is on the fritz due to my first cold in what–two years? So I can’t record a podcast anyway. I might as well sew!!!!! Pursue me some godliness!

The 1€ Kelly Green T-shirt

At my favorite thrift store, they have a rack of 1€ items. I don’t always find great things on that rack, but I kind of hit the jackpot the last time I was there.

I picked up this lovely color tee:

I’ll admit, I was half tempted to try to hang onto that “since 1977” part, since yours truly is from 1977. But I knew what technique I wanted to try, and I didn’t think the two could co-exist.

The idea was try to create a kind of decorative woven aspect into the t-shirt, like this:

Does it say “weaved back?” And should it not have said, “woven back?” and why did this bother me so much? Weaved. Woven. Whatever. The inspiration was for a back. Sure, that was probably the intention of the brilliant person who had the idea. But I was remembering an old lace top I used to have, with a decorative front that I just loved….so my idea was to try the technique for the front. Why not? The worst that could happen was that I end up with some pretty kelly green rags for dusting.

First things first:

I would need as much of the pretty green as possible to do the weaving, so I would need to be parsimonious and ever-so-careful with my cuts. I took my favorite ancient black tank top and laid it over the tee, to get an idea of size/shape. (BTW: I was astonished to discover how wonky my favorite tank was. I had no idea!)

I drew a little line, which then I pinned, trying on the re-sized tee before I did any cutting or sewing, and adjusting once it was on. Can I be honest? I am not usually so careful with my refashioning. I was almost kind proud of myself for being so diligent.

Next, I cut off the ribbing, following a line I thought work well for the back. I carefully kept the ribbing for another phase of the project, and then, having drawn a line around the novelty screen print, I cut it out to make room for the weaving.

I used the binding from the neckline to create a kind of frame around the newly formed empty space–creating a top line and using it to edge that gaping hole.

Repurposing every single last scrap that was cut from the sides, bottom and sleeves, I created strips that I began weaving across the emptiness. I gave the strips a gentle tug, and they curled themselves so perfectly.

If I had to do it over again, I would have been more careful about the spacing of the woven strips, but at one point, I felt like I had gotten in a bit over my head with this weaving technique…for as easy as it looks, it’s even easier to get lost. “Over? Wait…under. No! Arghhhh!!”

In my weaving, I lost a bit of my newfound diligence. I also managed to break a needle on my machine as I sewed down the strips….note to self, too many layers of adorably curled strips might need to be trimmed before you sew.

Once I tried it on, I realized that I hadn’t accounted for the fact that my body is in three dimensions, unlike the table on which I had been working. So…there was a bit of a surprising “contouring” effect in the weaving at the bosom. I’ve been contemplating how I can compensate for this, although the verdict is still out…

Naturally, with a little scrap I had left I added a bow, because I must have a bow. It is canon now. Which is how we end up with this:

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and so when I had finished, I took my youngest to the park in my lovely new green tee, and may I just say this: in a world of people wearing the nearly exact same white Levi’s logo t-shirt, it feels pretty amazing to be wearing a one-of-a-kind, made for me kelly green tee that only took me about one hour to whip up!

In this week’s podcast, I talk about loving our bodies for what they can do, and what they look like. This is an urgent topic, because none of us are getting any younger! Our bodies will be with us until our last breath, so we might as well be on speaking terms with them starting now.

Episode 63: Foresight Sing With Your Feet

This week, we look at how we can love ourselves better by planning ahead.
  1. Episode 63: Foresight
  2. Episode 62: Memory
  3. Episode 61: Novelty
  4. Episode 60: How to Have Great Sex
  5. Episode 59: I Have A Theory

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: