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?


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