Sunday, October 29, 2017

Upcycling T-Shirts for Baby Boomers

Who doesn't love a t-shirt?  Easy to care for, comfortable to wear, a classic in every sense of the word, t-shirts are standard daily wear for many people.

One little glitch for me... being a pear-shaped post-menopausal woman.  To put it delicately, my assets are not currently arranged in a manner conducive to looking good in unisex t-shirts.  Problem? No! Opportunity? Yes!

A few days ago I heard a reference to the "Freshman 15" (pounds gaining the first year of college) and laughed to myself thinking the parallel is "Postmenopausal 20" which for many of us lands on the belly and midsection. 

Don't get me wrong, I love, LOVE this time of life and would not go back in time given a chance.  I'm also a realist which means I'm looking for ways of dressing that I think are flattering on me.  Me as I am right now, at my current weight and current shape. 

I'm committed to looking good every day.  I'm not committed to trying to look as skinny as possible, after all, I'm not skinny so what would be the point?  I'm also not committed to trying to look sexy as seems to be the point of many fashion ads.  I believe sexiness in a woman my age (most ages in fact) comes from her confidence in herself.  Wanting to look good without trying to be as skinny or sexy looking as possible is very freeing - the possibilities open up.

Back to t-shirts.  One thing I know for sure is that tightly fitting clothes look good on very few figures - and- clothes that skim the body are flattering on most figures.

So what happens when a pear-shaped woman puts on a a unisex t-shirt?

  • If the t-shirt fits in the shoulders it is way too tight across the belly and hips
  • If it is way too tight across the hips and belly it gives the appearance of extra pounds
  • If the t-shirt has ease across the hips and belly then it is extremely oversized in the bust and shoulders and might as well be worn for pajamas
Purchase here
These were the problems to be solved.  I used the standard Paganoonoo approach which is to choose a base shirt with semi-fitted bustline and then create loose draping around the belly and hips. I created the Ellie Pattern.

Here is an example of before and after ease:

and another version from all angles...


This Paganoonoo customer stopped by PIQF to share how she created plenty of room in this unisex t-shirt using Ellie Instructions

See more examples on this post and this post.

By the way, this technique also works for long sleeved t-shirts and hoodies.  If you use it for a hoodie be sure to use a like-weight fabric, such as part of another sweatshirt or sweater. 

 This shirt was a long sleeved T from the men's section, now with a lowered neckline, new flannel front pockets, a back added from a dress shirt and shortened sleeves. Super comfortable with a pair of jeans!

With cooler weather here what will you upcycle for the season?


Monday, October 2, 2017

Clean Paganoonoo studio!

We had a large celebration over the weekend and as part of the prep I cleaned up my studio, really cleaned it, to the point that it looks AMAZING!

Given that it is unlikely to stay in this pristine condition I thought I'd share a video.  
This is the Paganoonoo studio where I do my sewing:
I'm very lucky to have a dedicated room, and am thrilled to have hardwood floors (easy to clean up) and natural lighting. 

 And the second room is the Paganoonoo storeroom full of garments waiting to be transformed aka my "stash", and all the finished paganoonoo garments and samples.

I'm so selective about color combinations that even with this huge stash of garments to start from I sometimes still can't find a third coordinating color so I'm off to the thrift store again, LOL.  

These two spaces have been significantly improved and they look so good because, true confessions, I shoved some of the excess into my office/pattern writing room.


Coming up very soon, the next Paganoonoo appearance is at PIQF, the Pacific International Quilt Festival, held in Santa Clara, CA.

We will have patterns for sale, and kits, and some sample garments.  
It is a quilt show and it is also a terrific show for garment stitchers.  There are many booths with fabric, sewing tools, notions, and sewing machines for sale. The quilts are truly works of art and there is a wearable art section.  

Peninsula Wearable Art Guild (PenWAG), my guild, will have a booth with samples of our members work.  Please stop by and take a look. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area this group is a terrific and not to be missed resource.

If you can't make it to the show and want to check out our upcycled fashion instructions visit the Etsy Shop.

Happy upcycling and sewing!