Remember that old REM concert T-shirt from 1989? Or the shirt from the 10K race where you set a personal best?
Its a shame theyre living in the back of your closet, because they dont have to.
Recycled into a skirt, our nostalgic shirts get to parade again in public.
Denise Chaudhari makes three styles of skirt out of rock-band T-shirts: a casual, asymmetrical skirt, a simple a-line and a more professional-looking skirt for flaunting at the office.
Everybody has (old T-shirts) in their drawer, and theyre not flattering to wear, says Chaudhari, of Lafayette, Colo.
They wont wear them, but they wont get rid of them.
Chaudharis answer is these flirty skirts, made from Ts and color-coordinating jersey fabric. She began a few years ago by pilfering from her husbands storied collection, and then friends shared their old shirts. Today, Chaudhari trolls thrift stores – those near universities are the best – and buys in bulk from concert T-shirt wholesalers.
Bands from the 80s, punk rock and the Beatles sell the best, she says.
Punk is cool to wear, even if you dont listen to it, says Chaudhari, 43. Its cool to wear a Ramones (T-shirt skirt).
Sally Lang, of Salem, Ore., makes her own version of the T-shirt skirt, often incorporating rock-band images, although she says good rock Ts are hard to find at thrift stores. In her neck of the woods, tie dye rules. The dynamic colors and patterns translate into eye-catching skirts.
In Oregon, were kind of obsessed with tie dye, Lang says.
In Chaudharis experience selling her skirts at craft fairs, buyers who dont have a favorite band gravitate to the T-shirt skirts that feature a guitar or other generic, musical image, or to super-hero graphics. She also recommends making recycled skirts from T-shirts from races, non-profits – even sarcastic Ts.
Often, she puts those into her childrens clothing line, which she sells at her online shop, Dandy Social Club.
Something like the Sarcasm Committee or Sugar Daddy, with an image of the candy – those are even funnier on a kids shirt, Chaudhari says.
Lang, 55, who sells her T-shirt skirts amid other recycled clothing at her online Etsy shop, Thankful Rose, buys T-shirts made from 100 percent cotton. Flimsier, lighter-weight Ts dont hold up. Besides tie dye and rock Ts, she hunts for paisley patterns and solid colors for mixing in.
She admits to being obsessed with creating her upcycled clothing line. If she has the fabric picked out, she can make a T-shirt skirt in about two hours.
Its a process and I love every minute of it, Lang says.
Besides enjoying the hunt for unusual T-shirts, both women say the shirts are the easiest, most cost-effective way to incorporate inventive and clever graphics into their skirts.
You cant just go to the fabric store and buy some of the cool prints that you see on T-shirts, says Lang.
Before turning to Ts, Chaudhari looked into screen-printing her own images, but it was expensive and time-consuming.
T-shirt images provide endless surprises, Chaudhari says. Now youre upcycling and youre incorporating a band people love, and its comfortable like a T-shirt, like an old friend.
Chaudhari and Lang have different methods for sewing T-shirt skirts. See examples of their skirts at their websites, and view others at Pinterest.com. The online site CraftStylish.com shares a free, illustrated tutorial for an a-line skirt made from two T-shirts of coordinated colors.