Friday, May 25, 2007

Fashionable Friday -- DIY for Summer!

The Summer fashion forecast calls for Do-It-Yourself to be hot, and the Summer meteorological forecast calls for the weather to be hot. You know what this means, don't you? DIY t-shirts!

Well, actually, it means DIY whatever you have the awesome skills to make. After all, if you can sew yourself up some cute cotton sundresses, all the more power to ya. But sewing is an expensive addiction. DIY t-shirts are a little easier to attain, since most of them can be done without a sewing machine, or with those tissue paper patterns that your cats might like to shred (my cat Topher thinks that tissue paper is its own food group).

You might be tempted to buy t-shirts that someone else has already Done It Themselves to, but honestly, modifying your own t-shirts is not that hard. Your local craft store is full of dyes, paints, markers and other items that you can use to add pizazz without altering the original shape of the t-shirt. Or you can get wild and crazy and start cutting up your shirts to make them into something different.

If that's the route you want to take, I recommend the book Generation T by Megan Nicolay. I purchased it after a friend showed me the super-cute top that she'd made, and even though I can't cut a straight line to save my life, I was able to make two shirts in one evening. The nice thing is that a lot of the projects only require a t-shirt, a pair of scissors, and maybe a ruler. Even many of the more complicated ones can be done without any sewing.

If you don't have any previous sewing or DIY experience, I recommend practicing first on shirts you don't care about, so that if you have to keep cutting a little off to get the bottom even and soon you're all the way up to the collar, you haven't ruined an awesome shirt. If you don't have any cruddy shirts lying around to butcher, you can either hit the thrift store and get some for as cheap as .50, or you can wait for the craft store to put shirts on sale for 2/$5. If you're slightly evil like me, you can raid your husband's clothing, pick out all the shirts that he hasn't worn in a year, flutter your eyelashes, and say "Love, can I cut these up?"

Once you feel confident enough to take your scissors to perfectly good and lovable shirts, you may find that your desire to DIY-up some tees may outstrip your collection. Then there's only one thing to do (other than raid your husband's shirts again...)... SHOP!

Needless to say, there are tons of places you can go to buy t-shirts, from department stores to gift shops, swap meets, craft fairs, thrift stores, yard sales, conventions, in fact, it is probably harder to find someplace that doesn't sell t-shirts. But this column would be boring without links to a few places on-line to buy t-shirts, so let's get to it.

I love to browse Etsy and I'm always finding cool t-shirts on there. Many of them are screen-printed or otherwise decorated with the works of other artistic people, which makes for some extra-awesome DIY styles.

Squidfire has all kinds of cool t-shirts, and they're supposed to have new designs coming soon. Hurrah!

I like Off World Designs for geeky, gothy, and fantasy t-shirts. As an added bonus, they have a pretty big "clearance" section!

On the other hand, if you're looking for Lovecraftian tees, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. Their shirts rock and they are cool people to shop with.

Rotem Gear has some pretty cool shirts, and some pretty funny ones, and some just plain pretty ones. I'd like to get their dragonfly haiku shirt to wear to my L5R game. Yes, I AM so geeky that I occasionally pick my clothes based on the character I play. Moving on...

We've only scratched the surface of the t-shirts available on-line, of course. With services like CafePress around, it's very easy for artists and clever people to put their work on shirts and make them available to the world, and I think that's pretty awesome. Anything that helps me diversify my wardrobe makes me a happy girl. Do you have a favorite t-shirt source that you'd like to share?

Although I enjoy doing DIY tees, my main thing is, obviously, DIY jewelry. You might want some nice designs to go with your rockin' new Summer look. Earrings are always a good way to accessorize a more casual outfit. Spiral Bracelets and Dragonscale Bracelets add some spark. And of course, nothing is better for warm weather than a flirty Anklet.

Now I might just go break out my scissors and make a shirt to wear this weekend!

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