So, you all remember my little Tanzanian adventure, right?
I’m slowly working my way through my few souvenirs, to make them fit my life better. One of the select few extras I brought back was my team t-shirt. I wore it every night, to bum around camp and to sleep, and it was quite worn and beaten and loved by the time it got home.
It was also a men’s large. Men’s larges do not fit me. For example (and apologies for the blurry picture- I didn’t take before pictures, thinking “Oh, I wore it every night at camp! There has to be tons of pictures of me in that shirt!” Turns out this was the only one.):
Blurry as it may be, I’m clearly swimming in the thing. But it had vast sentimental value. What’s a girl to do?
For reference, here’s Jafari in his. As a side note, I spent this particular day in the back of the support vehicle trying not to vomit up the huge dose of malarone I had choked down that morning. Fun times.
Once I got home my ill-fitting team shirt it suffered much the same fate as the fabric that went into this skirt: folded away in a closet until I could figure up what to do with it. I knew I should re-sew it and yet was scared that I would destroy it. What if I made this relic of a grand adventure unwearable? What if I reduced it from souvenier to scraps?
Apparently, I can get emotional and dramatic over t-shirts. Who knew? This week I finally got up the courage to pull it out again… and then stared at it for a hour, scissors in hand, as I built up the will to actually cut into the thing. What eventually got me cutting was this thought: “what’s the point of letting it take up space if I don’t wear it?” I think it’s a very valid question, and so I began to try and make my beloved t-shirt wearable.
I think I succeeded.
I began with a pattern I’ve used before (indeed, one I’ve used to reconstruct a shirt before), McCalls M4872. I did manage to make a few alterations to the basic pattern.
For one, I added the side panels- which completely threw off sewing on the sleeves. See, these sleeves are raglan , and usually when sewing ranglan sleeves you stitch them to the shirt’s front and back at the shoulder seams, then run a single seam all the way up the arm and down the side of the body all at once. Alas, the panels turned one side seam on the body into two. As such, I abandonded the pattern instructions oh, one or two steps in and didn’t pick them up again until I hit the neckband.
Here’s the thing about those side panels, though: most men’s t-shirts aren’t actually that stretchy. Adding some stretchy fabric into the mix (in this case, a yellow microrib from denverfabrics.com)? Really helps with the whole “comfortable curve hugging” thing, and is certainly worth it if you don’t want your shirt to have much positive ease… even if you do have to ignore the pattern instructions for a while.
There’s one last problem.
Taking a shirt on a 900 mile journey across a foreign country tends to do damage. There are stains, in crucial enough locations that I couldn’t sew around them. They may not be all too visible in the pictures (bwa ha ha GIMP powers activate!), but, as I humbly submit above, they are there. Suggestions? What would you do for two-year-old plus set-in dirt stains?
I suspect the final answer may be “live with them”, but I can hope. Perhaps there’s a miracle up the internet’s collective sleeves.