Panels 2 – Patchwork t-shirts 1

Again, why go to all this trouble for old dingy t-shirts? A: for the learning experience, B: budget, C: I have a fairly good idea what types of clothes I’d like to wear, but I never see them in shops; if I do they rarely fit in all places at once and it’s way too expensive if you’re expanding too fast. So I’m hoping if I keep at it I might actually – eventually – be able to put into the world the things that are simmering in my head. In the meantime I always need clothes to paint in, clean barn in, being kneaded by cats in etc. and it makes me feel better if they start out dingy so that I haven’t ruined them when the first stain appears.

When it comes to t-shirts, you can barely get thrift shop finds cheaper than ordinary super market sales, so I’m not going to actually shop for things to alter. But what you can find is of course interesting bits of fabric that might last for several different reengineered items.

Incidentally, widening the t-shirts I showed you in my first post had a bonus effect on tight sleeves: The circumference is moved further along the arm, meaning it feels not quite as tight around my well developed triceps (ahem), without having to actually widen the fabric. However, while these t-shirts now fit, they only just fit. Which isn’t good enough long-term for the amount of work put into them. So they’re comfortable again but I wouldn’t wear them off the property. (As you can see I refrained from a self portrait. Mimi is 4″ taller than me, and for some reason even if you cut her leg off, the difference does show in photographs.)

Another thing I’ve learned: I’m already bored with trying to use these very old t-shirts, because I didn’t find anything really inspiring in my bags. It’s just too weird “I guess they work for covering indecent bits during an apocalypse“. So next step is having a look at those still in my closet and see if I can give up on ever fitting into them again, and if they are perhaps candidates for slightly prettier upcycling. Maybe I won’t work with t-shirts at all, but other clothes, such as the dress that became a skirt after my chest exploded the top part.

I’m clearly having to work harder at this project to get something worthwhile out of it. Because: in my striving to not spend money and earth resources, do I really want to own a lot of things that I don’t find the least beautiful?

New method: Throw out uglies that don’t inspire. Instead of forcing myself to create from what is “dead”, I’ll wait until I see something I’d like to work with.


Interesting quest: How long can you keep adding and combining as your clothes get rattier, like the Japanese Boro jackets? How many years to go from 10 shirts to one?

Of course, you can always just deconstruct your old shirts without putting them back together.

I also wanted to show you this designer which I came across on Pinterest. Very creative clothing, some too abundant for my desire to remain inconspicuous in public, but I love the creativity and the fact that they use real women for models. All ages, ordinary body shapes and widths, some even with muffin tops. I think that deserves some free advertising. (SORRY, THE LINK HAS EXPIRED ALREADY, I DIDN’T EVEN GET A GOOD LOOK MYSELF)


My Pinterest panel board – most of these things I wouldn’t be caught dead in either, but I like variety to my inspiration.

Pia’s panel experiment posts

8 thoughts on “Panels 2 – Patchwork t-shirts 1

  1. I think your t-shirt designs…..the remaking of them… are beautiful, functional, and the essence of comfort. Sorry, but I guess you aren’t achieving the inconspicuous goal,I would definitely notice them if you were out walking in a crowd. They are stylish! I’m with you on comfort and not having fabric cling to you, yuck! However, I don’t think I own any t-shirts without farm/studio stains on them and it takes so long to get comfortable in new ones. Clothes in general…a dilemma!
    Nice work, Pia

    1. Well, I’m glad you think they’re not completely hopeless as a first attempt, I was ready to throw in my towel.

      I’m ambivalent about the inconspicuous thing, What I’d really like is to be able to wear creative clothes, to a certain extent anyway, and not be noticed for it, rather than only wear bland. But among country people that is near impossible, they are very unforgiving. And while I don’t really care if strangers love me, I still need a certain amount of goodwill when I interact in shops, with tradespeople etc. The more outsider you are, the crummier the service gets.

  2. I love your half-n-half tshirts. I had an idea about adding strips in that would help with room for the triceps (ahem). How about adding a strip under each arm and down the side? Instead or in addition to other adjustments?

    1. I’ve done under arm wedges on a couple of sweaters, but it’s a lot more obvious what it’s for… Not ruling it out, though, if a strip all the way down could be added in a nice way.

  3. Thanks for the link! And I really like how you added your weaving in to the shirt. Many years ago I widened some pants by opening up the side seams and adding in panels – might try to turn two pairs into one this way without looking liking a clown or tuxedo pants gone wrong!

    1. I’m entertaining the notion of hand stitching as well, more hippie, but then you take the patchwork concept all the way as a design rather than just “fat blocking”.

Leave a Reply to Skyscapes for the Soul Cancel reply