Refashion: The Amazing Yellow T-shirt

This refashion was not supposed to happen when and how it did. I had great plans for this oversized yellow t-shirt, yet another find from the 1€ rack. It happened when it did because when I was going to take my boys out to the park on Saturday morning, my youngest had a crisis and refused to go anywhere with me, begging his father to take him to the park instead.

And his father agreed, leaving me unexpectedly home alone for a little bit!

This baby chick yellow t-shirt

has been hanging over the drying rack in my bedroom for several weeks, teasing me.

I am an unabashed fan of the color yellow. Okay, well, I am an unabashed fan of most bright colors.

I had plans for it. I had wanted to use it to recreate a lovely little yellow spring tee that had become discolored many years ago. It was a tee with floaty sleeves, and the “original slash neck,” closed with a little button.

However, after my housework was done and I after even got a head start on recording the podcast once I had been left alone on Saturday morning, I didn’t feel like digging through my craft drawer to find the “floaty sleeve” pattern I had made last summer. I didn’t either have the patience to get out my sewing machine or to make a bobbin of yellow thread (which, I know, I know, is the simplest of things to do.) I had a moment of sheer creative compulsion:

I must make something now.

Lily Fields, compulsive and impatient creative person

There is “make something,” and then there is “make something.” You of all people should understand that. Whereas the mise en place, that is, finding the sleeve pattern, getting the sewing machine out, making the bobbin all seemed too much work, all while technically being part of “making something”, it was not the “making something” I compulsively needed to do.

What I could very easily find on hand were a few straight pins and my scissors. Fresh off my fabulous salmon colored refashion*, which essentially relied on making bows to resize an oversized tee, I thought it might be fun to play with the placement of the bows, and to try, try again to get the keyhole sleeve thing figured out with less frustration.

(*I wore that fabulous salmon colored refashion the other day, and had only one complaint about it: the placement of the bows, being at the side as they were, felt weird and bulky when wanting to rest one’s arms at one’s side. Otherwise, it garnered a lot of comments, the adorableness of the bows being #1.)

When my friend Deepika saw the end result in a fast-forward video (which you will see too, don’t worry!), she said, “It looks so easy when you do it…” to which I replied, “I didn’t take a video of the several minutes I stood staring at it trying to figure it out. That part was far less fun to watch!” Because that is exactly how this refashion got started. I stood their staring at it for a very, very, very long time.

This very very very long time is something Hungarian psychologist Csikszentmihalyi, to whom I refer to in this week’s podcast would call “Flow”. It’s when you lose track of time because you are in the middle of your creative sweetspot. (Incidentally, I am reading his book right now and it is a must read for creative types!)

I guesstimated where I wanted to the boatneck to open to, and marked it with a pin. Then, I gathered the material approximately to where I wanted shaping to start (under the bust.) I also then figured out how much I would be needing to shape, and marked it with a pin on each side of the “pinch” you see below.

After the thinking and the pinning, I decided that I was going to give this refashion a challenge…do it all in one take. No second guessing.

So I set the time-lapse camera to “go”, and ended up with this:

I will admit to eventually finishing the raw sleeve edge by hand, and replacing the pins with a few little stitches. But that was really the extent of the work. I am wearing it this very instant and what I love about it is that it feels just like a t-shirt…only prettier!


This week’s podcast is about the Ideal Life Theme of work. We all have to work at something, whether it is outside the home or within. We might as well figure out how to make our work lives magical, since we spend most of our time working! LiElla and I demonstrate that this is possible. Also: what to do when you absolutely hate your job.

You can subscribe to the podcast on all platforms: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and now on Amazon Music, too!

Episode 32: Environment and Ecology Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: “Not on my Green Parenting Bingo Card,” LiElla is back!; Geeking out and going out green. Episode 32 is part of our series on the Ideal Life Categories, this week's theme being "Environment and Ecology." The series began back in Episode 15: The One About Our Bodies, in case you want to get caught up! Links: Learn more about LiElla Kelly, Death Doula, on her website and blog, Leaving Well…The Blog. or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leaving.well.death.doula/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=leaving%20well%20end-of-life%20planning You can contact Lily by email: lily@lilyfieldschallenge.com, or find her other work here: https://linktr.ee/lilyfieldschallenge
  1. Episode 32: Environment and Ecology
  2. Episode 31: Mental Health
  3. Episode 30: Contentment
  4. Episode 29: Commitments
  5. Episode 28: Lucidly Ever After

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.

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