Sunday, May 1, 2011

For the Love of Tees

by Kimberlee

I'm sort of obsessed with t-shirts.  I realize this makes me well, ordinary, but what's not to love?  Now that Spring is finally rolling around (more or less), I've been bookmarking, circling, sketching and planning several projects & products centered on tees.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the Generation T series.  I've had both of these books even before I had a sewing machine!  Unfortunately, I haven't made many projects from them, not because I don't LOVE them (because I do), but because I can't cut up any of my beloved tees.  I went out and bought a bunch of tees from Goodwill after I first got my machine (the older one which has since gone to that great Tailor Shop in the Sky), but being inexperienced managed to mess up everything!  Such is life.  But I'll get back to this.

So, as I said, lately I've been running across a lot of tee projects and tees themselves that I lurve so much.  One thing I have been putting many of my loved but not really worn (due to size or stains or whatever) tees aside for is a Tee Shirt Quilt.

I have several bookmarked pages for tee quilts:
How to Make a Tee Shirt Quilt
From Goose Tracks
Craft Stylish

And, of course, there are also quilt projects in both Generation T books.

I have to think this is a pretty good way to get started quilting, too, in addition to it being on my list of Re-sew-lutions.  I'd absolutely LOVE to hear from anyone who has made a tee quilt.

via Whole Living

I know you've seen these around.  I adore them, and can see making them even prettier by adding beads or washers.  This would be a great way to use up the scraps from the quilt project if you don't have any tees lying around and, unlike me, don't hoard them.

A GREAT site for inexpensive tees is Threadless.  A wonderful friend of mine introduced me to Threadless by sending me a gift of tees, and I have been smitten since.
One of many cool tees

What I love about this site is that you can also submit your artwork to be on a tee, and even make money from it!  I've never been able to work up the nerve to submit one of my paintings, but maybe someday.

I've recently begun to think about making some clothes out of tees, a la Generation T, but with my own patterns.  One of the things that keeps me from sewing as much as I want to is the cost of fabric, and that it is difficult for me to find fabric I like for clothing.  I have this combination of traits - I'm incredibly picky AND tend to become easily overwhelmed - that can make life difficult at the fabric store.  I lean toward simple, solid or classic patterns and like cotton or jersey.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time in a fabric store knows how difficult it can be to find clothing fabric like that, at least at a decent price.  Hence the attraction with working with t-shirts - they're affordable (a package of 5 men's for 10 bucks), easy to dye, silkscreen or paint, easy to sew, and they self-hem.  I like the loss/risk factor, especially with experimentation.

So like I said, I've been thinking about this, and the idea has been growing on me so much that I've sketched out some clothes that I think will be great made out of tees.  Keep in mind that I'm self-taught, so go easy on me.  I've never shared any of the stuff out of my workbooks...

formerly top secret
I think my winter petticoat might be awesome remade with tees, in much the way that Britt from Sneezerville did it.  What a perfect summer skirt!  And on the subject of ruffles, this would similarly be great to make:
Weekend Designer
So what do you guys think?  Do you have any favorite tee projects?  Alternately, do you also have trouble finding fabric that you love to make clothing out of?  What are some of your sketch projects?

Scrabble has also been working on some designs she'd like to show you


  1. Honey, I love the designs you have sketched out for your tee project. They look awesome and I can't wait to see you in those outfits. You will look fantastic in them!

  2. wow I didn't know you make sketches! Can't wait to see what you chose to sew! And oh Scrabble...can't wait to see her designs too!:))

  3. Hello! You are a giveaway winner on I don't have your email. Please email me at kraftykashATyahooDOTcom so we can get your info. Thanks! Kashoan

  4. When I worked for the fabric store, these t-shirt quilts where being made left and right (that and fleece no-sew blankets). I saw some pretty cool blankets being made. People would also go to resale shops and just buy t-shirts to make the blankets.

  5. Love the concept of a t-shirt quilt! What a great way to capture all of the nostalgia one's t-shirt collection holds :)

    xx Cat brideblu

  6. Threadless is great! And I love the idea of making a quilt out of old shirts. Please post pictures if you make one!


  7. Wow totally love, jersey is a fun fabric to work with.

  8. i've been thinking about cutting up a bunch of tees for a striped dress. but haven't had the nerve yet...

    that tiered skirt sketch looks awesome!

  9. these are all really cool t-shirt projects. i've always been a fan of t-shirt quilts.


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