Saturday, October 18, 2014

Refashion: "Bake Them Cookies, Lucille!"

I've been dabbling in altering thrift store clothing over the past year, but I had yet to completely remake a thrifted item ... until now :)
Let's start at the very beginning. I honestly can't tell you 100% why I was so drawn to this particular old lady shirt a few weeks ago at a local thrift store. I mean, this baby was granny-tastic to say the least. I guess I have just developed the eye of a refashioner and saw potential in the awesome green color and cookie recipe print. I've certainly never seen anyone with a cookie recipe printed on their shirt before. Why not see if I can breathe new life into this old gal? I got excited just while I was in the shop about the sheer challenge of it all. I mean if I can make this into something acceptable by today's standards that would certainly up my fashion cred several points, right? I thought so.
Here's a few close ups of the sheer wonder of this baby. Isn't the baking print awesome?! The collar on the other hand ... I honestly could barely fit my big noggin through that neck opening. The thing is - this is just a normal crew-neck t-shirt that has a ridiculous polo-style collar. The collar has a little embroidered design of hearts - isn't that sweet? lol Ugh. The funny thing is that the collar is just zig zag stitched over the seam line of the ribbed collar.
Anyway, the collar was obviously the first thing that needed to go. I just cut along the seam allowance to separate everything and the above is the carnage I was left with. After the collar was loose, I cut the sleeves off. Fun fact - apparently lots of t-shirts don't have seams down the sides - they are just one knit tube that a neck and sleeves are attached to. So when I got it all apart, it still looked like this:
I lined everything up as perfectly as I could and cut down the sides. Next, I had to make a decision. I knew I wanted to use one of my previously used t-shirt patterns, so I started laying out the body pieces from each to see what would work best.
In the end, I went with the Plantain pattern by Deer + Doe. As you can see up there, the pattern fit the pieces pretty well except that I would lose some of the hip width. This was inevitable give the shape of the piece I was using, but the plantain has extra ease built in anyway so I took a chance that it would fit ok. The only change I had to make was to raise the neckline to accommodate the awesome screen printing. I just laid the Renfrew pattern over the plantain and traced that neckline.
The neckband became a bit of a brain puzzle. Since I was using the full width of the fabric for the body, the only option I had was to take the existing hem off the shirt to repurpose. This would make the shirt shorter, but after trying on my other plantains, I knew it wouldn't be too short with this change. So, I chopped off the entire hem and unpicked the whole thing. It turned out there was just enough width to use the neckband pattern piece. Another issue was that I changed the neckline height, which means the neckband piece should be shorter. To figure the difference, I measured the plantain pattern neckline, then the neckband and noted the difference. I just lopped that difference off my new neckband piece - no biggie. I was worried about the fading and stitch lines from the unpicked hem - I steamed the living daylights out of it, but some of the fading still showed. I just had to accept it and move on.
I put out a little Instagram teaser after I got the pieces cut out last Friday night. After I got home from work on Saturday, the real fun began. I just stitched this together following the instructions of the pattern. It took a couple of hours and I had to be creative with seam allowances in a few places, but everything worked out great :) And here is my finished result:
It's a little tighter than my other plantains to be sure, but I actually kind of like this more fitted look. The only place it's a smidge too tight is the sleeves. I kept the original hem there so they would be a bit longer than the pattern (which I'm happy about), but because I had cut the sleeves open completely, I lost the extra bit of the seam allowance. It's not unwearable, just not the usual ease I prefer.
And the back - tighter, but not a deal breaker. The length is clearly not an issue like I worried :)
I get a lot of wrinkles at the underarms, but the neckline came out the perfect height for the design. I love that it looks like the screen printing was meant to be where it is, you know? The neckband isn't too close or too far away from the printing.
I am particularly proud of the neckband :) I decided to use a twin needle this time because 1) I want to use it on everything and 2) my very favorite plantain (the Cherry, Cherry) has to have the neckband redone because I accidentally popped one stitch - so frustrating! I figure two lines of stitching is more secure than one. I think the double row really helped the fabric lay nice and flat and it also seems to have hidden any of the fading and holes from the previous hem.
All in all, I am beyond thrilled with this refashion :) I love that technically speaking it didn't take all that many changes to take this total Granny shirt and make it into something wearable for someone today under the age of 65. I also love that I don't feel like I'm squeezing my brain out of my head when I put the shirt on, lol. When showing this to my family, everyone was impressed but still thought it still looks like a Grandma shirt. Hopefully the gals at Deer + Doe don't cringe too badly when they see this rendition of their pattern, lol. I don't care - I am gonna wear the heck out of this thing and be super proud doing it!

As far as the name of this shirt, I was struck with genius in homage to one of my favorite moments of the incomparable Disney film, Meet The Robinsons. Bake Them Cookies, Lucille!

This project has really made me excited to try this on every t-shirt I can get my hands on, lol. I mean really, this just solidifies the fact that everything is just "fabric" that can be used differently to make it your own. I found seriously the greatest t-shirt I've ever seen at a thrift store last week and it has super cool plantain written all over it. It's soaking right now to hopefully get some age stains out. I can't wait!

Fabric: Grandma's Cookies's T-Shirt, $1.00 at Thrift Store
Pattern: Plantain by Deer + Doe Patterns, Free :)
Hours: About 3 In All


  1. Megan you are a genius! Thank you for sharing in such great detail.

    1. You're so welcome, Laurel :) I'm glad it ended up helping someone else. I warn you though - you'll be addicted to huge t-shirts. Every time I'm in a store now I go to the men's section and see if there are any huge shirts with fun designs, lol.

    2. And thanks for the compliment :)


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