For the record, I have no arts and crafts skills whatsoever. My only experience with arts and crafts was in middle school, when I was forced to take Home Economics class. My complete lack of sewing skills warranted barely passing with a 70. So even though Nicolay assured me in her introduction that I would be able to follow her instructions, I was still concerned that my lack of proficiency with a needle and thread would have disastrous results with the shirts I loved.
I looked over Chapter 1, in which Nicolay delves into a variety of materials and stitching techniques that appeared daunting. So, I decided against indulging in a margarita during the process. I collected about 20 green-tag sale Salvation Army T-shirts in various colors with funny logos. Then, I had a group of my girlfriends come over to alter the Salvation Army T-shirts with a bunch of scissors, needles, and thread. If the night was a success, then I would attempt the revamping surgery on my own shirts in the future.
At my friend Lauren's apartment, we placed the T-shirts along the walls of the living room floor, so all six girls could walk the room and choose two T-shirts she would transform. When the girls arrived, we each chose our first shirt and attempted to follow the book's instructions. Nicolay gave us 108 different choices for renovation, including the creation of skirts, tank tops, purses, book bags, wristbands, and even a blanket and a wedding dress. Everyone was a bit hesitant about altering the shirt's original form, so we decided to stick to the basics: we'd do minor alterations on the T-shirts or make them into tank tops. After each girl made her first incision into the cotton material, the fun began.
With my first tee, I decided to try #7, the comfort corset. The pattern had six easy steps that I altered as I worked my magic with the scissors. I kept the sleeves instead of cutting them shorter as suggested in step 1, and I guestimated the 10" back scoop in step 3, since I used the book as a ruler. I can proudly say that when I finished the last step, the comfort corset matched the photo in the book - and it complemented my tattoo.
As for the other girls: Sarah created a combination of #18, "ties to die for," a sleeveless tie over each shoulder, and #22, "diamondback," a skin revealing diamond-shaped pattern. Donora tried #1 "scoop, there it is," with her orange tie-dye. Cindy made her red I've got my dancing shoes tee into #26 "sew easy." Andrea boldly attempted #32, "all strung out," with her dead rat cafe shirt. Lauren successfully turned the Team Zissou shirt into #15, "shoulder chic." The next day, we wore our new hand-made clothes and each of us was complimented. This craft-illiterate writer may not be ready to start spending entire paychecks at Michael's or Jo-Ann Fabrics, but I do feel more accomplished and crafty.
So, the moral of today's story is: getting rid of your favorite T-shirt isn't so hard to do when you can recreate it. I suggest you get out your scissors and gather your friends together for a tee party; just take it easy on the margaritas.