Friday, November 2, 2012

T-Shirt Monstrosities: Calavera Creation

La Calavera Catrina - This is a clay statuette representing J.G. Posada's La Catrina

Today, November 2, is All Souls Day.  A day to remember and reflect on our dearly departed.  In a former life, let's say about 11 years ago, a young, unmarried Spanish teacher took her students to Mexico.  And, as a Spanish teacher is wont to do, she bought some stuff.  Some books, some decor for the classroom.  But she fell in love with a t-shirt.  It was a really nice t-shirt, only it was too big.  A men's medium that made her look like a kid wearing a paint shirt to art class.  But... it was a really great t-shirt, so she bought it anyway.  And she's kept it.  She wears it, sometimes with a flashy belt and leggings each November 2nd, especially those November 2nds that saw her in front of a classroom full of eager-to-learn students.  It was a vehicle to teach about José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican print artist and satirist. Well.  This gem has been in the drawer for 11 years and this year, she decided to make some changes.  She decided she'd wear it more often if it fit better.  It was time for a hack job.

The interweb is, really...FILLED with ideas to repurpose, alter, upcycle your old t-shirts.  I spent some time this morning looking some ideas up and settled on one that would make my t-shirt more form-fitting.  Here's what I did:

I watched this YouTube video.  It's lengthy, but provided a good jump-off point.

Then, I put on the shirt for one last 'whole' picture (see? Too big!):
Here's J.G. Posada's El Catrín and La Catrina

Then I got to work:

I trimmed the bottom seem, cut off the sleeves just inside the seam, and squared off the neck opening.

Then, folding the shirt to enable cutting strips in just the back, I cut the back into about 1 inch strips.

Then, you stretch out each cut, effectively stretching and rolling each strip of jersey.

Then, I took the second strip, put it under the first and then over it, drop the first and use it to pick up the third row.  This 'weaves' the fabric.  I did this process three times and then clipped the bottom row, and tied off the loose strings to knot and secure the weaving. 

Using a little strip of fabric from the sleeves, I stretched and rolled that and tied it around the sleeves of the new 'tank' for some visual interest!

Voilá! Now I have a Día de los Muertos tank that I can layer up and show off my adoration of J.G. Posada more often!  I need to tweek the back neck line a bit and I did end up tying off the other shoulder as well!  Fun project!

Here are some links to Wikipedia pages if you are looking for more information on this really interesting and fun holiday as celebrated in Mexico!

A page about La Calavera Catrina:

A page about José Guadalupe Posada:

A page about Día de los Muertos: