Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's a good thing I save every.single.ratty.t-shirt.

Did you see this awesome tank over on Made it on Monday?  Probably.  I’m always late to the party.  When I brainstormed ideas for a top to go with my circle skirt, I finally decided on a vest inspired by this tank.  I almost called it the “lioness vest” because of the near rhyme and because doesn’t it look like a lion’s mane?  But then I realized that lionesses don’t HAVE manes.  Gr.)  OK... anyway.
Want to dress your vest in style?  Try:

The best part?  You don’t have to buy anything new.
Start with a t-shirt that’s much too big for you.  Find a shirt that fits you well and use it as a “template.”

Please ignore the really ugly un-vacuumed carpet.  I tried to disguise it in the above picture, but I know you're too smart for that.  Please just suspend your disbelief for me and pretend.  (at least it's in the basement...)

Fold the sleeves in, if it has sleeves, and draw around it with your NEW erasable/washable/COOL fabric marker.  (Did I mention it’s new?)
TIP: make sure you account for seam allowance.  I didn’t.  And as you can tell, it’s a LEEEEETLE tight.

Cut out your vest shape - front and back at the same time. 

Cut a v down into the front piece.  I eyeballed it - then folded it in half to make sure the angles were the same up both sides.  Trim and fix as needed.  (I also held it up to my front to make sure the v was as deep as I wanted).  You can tell I have a very precise method.  Please just ignore that measuring tape.

Lay out your front and back, right sides together.
Pin the shoulders.

Pin the sides. 

Use a straight stitch to sew up both sides and across both shoulders.  I actually went over each seam twice, which is probably totally unnecessary, but I’ve had things fall apart on me before.  (Well, not ON me.  THAT would be awkward.) 

Now it’s all sewn together.  See? 

Turn your vest right side out.
Here’s when I decided the unfinished edges needed binding.  I mentioned in the other post that I wanted gray binding, but went with white because I didn’t have gray.  I wish I’d just left it unfinished, since that’s kind of in style anyway, but I didn’t.  SOOOO... it’s up to you.  Skip the binding or not.
So.  I didn’t have binding.  How did I make it out of stuff in my stash?  The hemmed edges of t-shirts.
Take a t-shirt and cut off the bottom edge - making sure to cut it so that there’s an equal width on both sides of the stitching. 

Cut the side seams off. 

Make sure to cut enough for all the unfinished edges.  The t-shirts I used were small, so I had to cut off two bottoms and the sleeve edges.

Fold them over (right side out) and iron.

Now measure out two pieces to fit along the v of your neck.

Sandwich the neckline in between the folded binding, making sure that the finished edge is on the outside of your vest.

Pin this all along the edge.

Using a straight stitch, sew the binding to the vest as close to the edge of the binding as you can.

You can see that the second binding piece as a little notch cut out of it so it fits the point of the v nicely.  You may need to trim yours as well.

Pin and sew down the other side of the v.

There is a bit of wonkiness right at the point.  Don’t worry, we’ll address that later.

Now pin the binding to the back of the neck.

At the shoulder seams, overlap the back binding piece over each of the v pieces and tuck the ends under.


And pin and sew around both arm holes, putting the seam at the bottom of the arm hole.

Done with the binding!

Still with me?  K.  If you skipped the binding you’ll want to start paying attention again.

Cut the remnants of your main t-shirt, the rest of the “binding” t-shirt, and any other t-shirt you want to use for your neckline into strips about an inch wide.  You can use all the same color or mix it up, like I did.  I love gray and yellow as a combo.
Start pinning your strips to your neckline.
Begin by pinning a strip to a shoulder.  Leaving the strip lax, pin the other end to the neckline a few inches below this.

Add a strip to the other shoulder, and pin.

Then it’s just a matter of pinning strips around the whole neckline area.  
Pin strips around the whole neckline first, before you start doubling up in areas or weaving around and layering.  You want to make sure to work around the neckline in layers so that it looks balanced.
I pinned around one color, then the second color, then the third.  That way I could not only balance the loops and layers, but I could also balance the color as well.
Weave the strips around.  Don’t just pin a layer of strips, then go back and pin another layer on top.  You want the strips to weave in and out of each and loop around each other.
Make sure to cover up that weird wonky area at the tip of the v.  Cheating?  I won’t tell if you won’t.

Once you’ve pinned for a while, take a step back.  If it’s balanced and you like the look, stop.  Fill in any gaps or rearrange the strips to your liking.  Tip the shirt up to make sure you like the way things drape.

Beginning with one color strip, hand stitch everywhere there are pins with matching thread.
Move on to the next color strip and hand stitch everywhere there are pins with thread that matches that strip.
Do this for each color strip, and take the pins out as you go - trust me.  If you don’t you’ll lose pins in the floppy mess and that’s just uncomfortable.
When you’ve stitched all the strips to the vest, you’re done!

Try it on.  Work it.  That’s right.

*Be sure to check below for all the fun parties I link to!



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LP aka A Crafty Southern Chick said...

I nominated you for the Stylish Blogger Award! said...

Very creative, the neck is super fun! Thanks for sharing the details I'll be linking.

Emily said...

looks great! love the color combo. stop by

Kitty B said...

Such a creative idea! I really love the look!

Ginger said...

Funky! Thanks for linking up to Mad Skills Monday!

Liberty said...

OMGosh!! This is too stinkin fabulous!! Thanks for the great tutorial. I'm a new follower.

Have a great week,

Jill said...

Just wanted to let you know that I showed off your vest on my blog today :)

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