Monday, May 7, 2012

This is what I do when I'm not working

I've taken up sewing. Not in any technically-inclined way. I'm certainly not headed toward a stint on Project Runway or even one if its copycats. But I've busted out my sewing machine (OK, my mom's; mine is in storage) and I'm hacking some things together.

It started because I was cleaning out my drawers and realized I have roughly 17 trillion t-shirts that I don't wear, mostly because they are ill-fitting. My initial plan was to make a quilt out of them, but there are so many that I could probably make several king-sized quilts, a dozen pillows, and enough tapestry to outfit a small castle.

I started with pillows. I thought I'd do this so that I could use shirts that have printing on both front and back, like tour tees and the grimy old thing from my graduating high school class. I've made about six of those now.

Then I got a little sidetracked. I haven't been working on the quilt or many more pillows, but I've been working with the shirts I'm still wearing.

See, t-shirts don't fit me well. The ones made for women are often too small, and the ones made for men are cut for, well, male bodies. So I usually buy t-shirts up a size to go around my hips/belly, and am left with baggy, sloppy neckline and arms. To fix that, I cut the sleeves and collar, which curls and frays and looks sloppy.

So I'm sewing borders on my cut up shirts to make them look neater. Sometimes I use the same color, sometimes it's a decorative edge. (Part of) a finished product:

Today I decided to work on another one. I took my Choking Victim t-shirt, which I had cut into a tank top a long time ago. Now, I've washed and worn it many times, so the edges were already frayed and curling, so I had to work around that.

So I cut bias strips from other t-shirts, iron them lengthwise so they have a crease, and attach them to the shirt. First I pin one edge to the outside of the shirt, with a strip around the collar and each arm hole.

Than I sew them down. Yes, my mother's sewing machine is avocado green. I believe it's from the 1970's.

Once the first edge is sewn down and the pins are removed (I do that as I'm sewing) I fold the borders along the ironed crease and pin them again. Then I sew both edges together. I find it easier to keep the seams aligned if I flip the shirt inside out and sew from that side, but other instructional sites have said to leave it right-side-out. I guess it's a preference thing.

 Once that's sewn down, trim the edges and that's it. You might want to iron it so the border sits upright, but it will sort itself out after you wash it a few times.

This is a really easy thing to do. Seriously, I have no sewing expertise and I figured it out with a couple of instruction sites and trying it hands-on. And it makes my cut up punk shirts look a whole lot nicer.

Besides, I'm out of fiberfill and bed space, so I can't really make any more pillows.

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