Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Designs in my Intro Clip

Hey there, Recon Artists!

First, I'm really sorry for the lack of posting here. I made this blog to go along with tutorials, and I don't get around to doing those very often. Especially at the current point in my life, I'm very busy moving into a new place right now. I do still have several recons planned to vlog and blog about, so hopefully when I get settled in, those will appear shortly after.

In the meantime, I get a lot of questions about how to do various techniques that I show in the introduction to my recon videos. I don't have individual tutorial videos for each shirt I show in the intro, for two reasons:
  1. Most shirts shown in the intro are done using one or more basic techniques, and I made individual videos for each technique. (So I kind of already did a tutorial for all of them.)
  2. Making an individual video for each one would take a LOT of time, which is why I opted to make the basics videos. That way I can just say "This shirt you see in the intro uses this technique" or "Use this technique on the collar, and this one around the edge for the decoration."
So basically I will not make tutorials for each of those shirts! I just won't! Because I already made videos showing you how to do the technique. I'm trusting YOU GUYS to know how to apply it to another shirt!

BUT to make it a little easier, I'll show you what I'm talking about real quick.


There are six main frames to my t-shirt recon intro, as follows. CLICK HERE to see the playlist of all the t-shirt recon videos I've done on YouTube. There, you will find the basic techniques #1-4 that I mention, plus some more.

"eat. sleep. dance." Using Basics #1 & 3.
The first shirts you see are these two. The one on the right is just an oversized shirt, like the ones I use for scrap fabric. I simply liked my silhouette behind the fabric, kind of showing the overall inspiration for why I started doing this. Whatever your silhouette is, you can manipulate fabric to fit YOU. True, most of my tutorials so far are for making shirts SMALLER, because that's what I need. I will try, in the future, to show a few techniques I know of for making shirts BIGGER, for those of you who have the opposite problem from myself.

Now, the shirt on the left, no one has asked about yet! But I'll tell you here and now. This design uses two of the basic techniques: Basics #1 - Scoop Neck; and Basics #3 - Slashing.
  • I cut the neckline of the t-shirt into a scoop, which is just one, curved cut through both the front and back of the fabric. You can make the scoop as subtle or dramatic as you like! You can cut through both layers, which leaves more of your back exposed, or just scoop the front layer of fabric and leave the back higher up to cover more skin.
  • Then I slashed the sleeves, like you'll see in the video for Basics #3. Now, a common complaint I got on that video was that I didn't show me actually cutting the fabric. Instead I showed where to cut a straight line, and then I cut to what it looked like after I cut the straight line. I want to be helpful and all, but I think you can all cut a straight line! I promise you, you can do it! Plus, my fabric scissors aren't the sharpest, so by not showing the cutting, I save a lot of time in the videos, which are already long. But I promise you, it's really just cutting a line through one layer of fabric. You got this.
  • And actually, on this shirt the slashes hung too low, so I used safety pins to attach each fabric strip to the other, which is why you see them laying a bit more evenly in the photo.
  • Oh, and then of course I drew and colored my design on the shirt! For that, I used fabric paint markers that I bought at Walmart.

Basics 3 & 4, using a Generation T design, "Ode to the Mullet."
The next shirt you see in the intro is this one. That's right, both of these images are of the same shirt! On the left is the normal setting. It's actually a design from Megan Nicolay's book, Generation T, called "Ode to the Mullet." Business up front, party in the back! Her design requires a bit of cutting and re-sewing to get this EXACT look, but the basic idea is only one technique: #3 - Slashing.
  • Look up her book (copies are sold in most craft stores, which is where I got mine) for the exact instructions, but basically you cut two rows of slashing at either side, about an inch apart. And one row is cut down the center with each cut BETWEEN the outer rows of cuts. In other words, they alternate. Like I said, the exact technique is from her book, but it's all just slashing lines!
  • Then in her version, you cut the outer rows physically OFF the shirt, wrap them through the center cuts, and re-sew them back into their original positions. That's what spreads it apart.
  • Actually, HERE IS A LINK to the design on Google Books!
The right hand side of this frame is the same exact shirt, like I said. The only difference is that I used Basic Technique #4 - Laddering or Weaving to give it that look. I actually had an individual tutorial video of this shirt, but I got so many negative comments on it that I made it private. I just don't appreciate people getting on there and trying to convince everyone that I don't know what I'm doing because I called it WEAVING instead of LADDERING. Big deal, guys. We're a creative community, we use creative language. It looks like a ladder, but it's also like weaving on a loom. Thus, I named my basics video "Laddering or Weaving," because I really don't think it should matter what we call it so long as we help each other learn.

Blondie shirt sleeve. Basics #3 & 4, Slashing then Weaving.
I get asked about this sweet little sleeve a LOT! But the thing is, you guys ALREADY KNOW how to do it! This was done using a Blondie t-shirt (Love her!) that I bought on sale at Walmart. I simply applied basic technique #3 - Slashing to the whole length of the sleeve, and then wove the resulting strips together using #4 - Laddering or Weaving. But honestly? This picture only looks so cool because I was holding the end of the sleeve firmly in my hand to show the webbed effect. In reality, this shirt's sleeves were made of RIBBED material, which is yucky for slashing because it doesn't stretch and roll nicely like regular t-shirt fabric does. They are also 3/4 length sleeves, so they don't normally reach down to my wrist anyway. When I wore this shirt, the sleeve would scrunch together instead of hanging down nicely. So if you want to do this to a sleeve, I would say 1) definitely use a full length sleeve, and 2) consider wearing it so that a loop fits around your finger, which will help keep the sleeve stretched out so everyone can see the awesome design work you did!

And the photo on the right of this frame has no recons in it, haha. Some of the intro is just pictures of me in various things that people comment on a lot in my real life, which just show my tendency to wear bold, colorful pieces.

NOH8 and Dropkick Murphys! Sewed recons.
No one has asked about the next two projects seen in the intro, which is just fine by me, since they are both SEWING projects. There is a way to make them no-sew, but I haven't done tutorials on anything that involves sewing because 1) I don't prefer to sew them since I don't have a good machine currently, and 2) I know a lot of other people don't sew or think they can't sew, so I like making no-sew versions available to people first. But anyway, I'll give you a quick drive-by on how I did these:
Dropkick, full length.
  • The NOH8 item is actually a tube top/empire waist/skirt. In the photo here, I'm wearing it over top of a red shirt. I just took the lower 3/4 of an oversized white shirt, folded over the top and sewed a casing around the top edge, inserted some wide elastic, and then used my fabric markers to decorate! The bottom hem you see there is the original bottom hem of the shirt. You could make this no-sew by poking holes around the waist-line and threading a long scrap of fabric, lacing, or ribbon through it as a drawstring, instead of using elastic. Wear it up over your chest as a long tube top, or as a dress if it's even longer. Pop it over a shirt like I did here for an empire waist. Or wear it on your waist/hips, as a regular skirt. It's multi-purpose.
  • The Dropkick Murphys shirt belonged to my boyfriend-at-the-time! (I did a blog about it back then, which I reposted here.) He took me to my first ever REAL concert on the summer solstice that year, and it was Dropkick Murphys (his favorite band) opening for The Offspring (one of my favorites!). He gave me the shirt because it no longer fit him and he wanted me to have something to wear to the concert. I used his mother's sewing machine and in one night had changed a small boys' shirt into this! I cut off the sleeves, cut some excess fabric away from the side seams and sewed it back up into a tube that fit me snugly. Then I cut a straight line down the front, perpendicular to the collar, straight down to the top of the letters on the shirt's design. This created two flaps which I folded under to create a v-neck shape. I poked some holes in the corners of those flaps, threaded some scrap pieces through, and tied them around the sleeves in bows, which created the look you see in the picture, with the fabric pulled away from my chest. I can untie those bows and have a full shirt front again, just with a slit down the front. I actually showed this a bit better, though briefly, in an OLD VIDEO, which is also on the playlist. The tutorial starts after 3.5 minutes or so.
Hulk Racerback & Juno Rollover.
These two shirts actually do have their own tutorial videos, because they're not using basic techniques. Well, they do and they don't. The shirt on the left was a little boys' Hulk t-shirt. I sort of used Technique #1 - Scoop Neck, only instead of doing it to the neck, I did it twice on the back of the shirt to make a racerback shape. Then I spent some time turning the tag of the shirt, which had Hulk's face on it, into a fancy closure to sew around the racerback. You can find the tutorial video in the playlist which I linked above (actually there are two videos: one where I describe it for a contest entry, and the other entitled "Racerback" where I go through it a little more).

The shirt on the right was an oversized JUNO movie t-shirt that my freshman roommate at college gave me. I  originally wanted to make it into a hoodie or a bag, but I went with another of Megan Nicolay's designs, the Rollover. Again, you can find the video tutorial in the playlist linked above, under "Rollover." I actually just realized that video wasn't on the playlist, so I added it! Pretty much, you just cut the bottom off of a shirt and re-sew it onto the top so that it folds down over your shoulders. Obviously, the video explains much better.

"That's Amore" recon. Using Basics #2 & 3, Cut & Tie and Slashing.
Also, Slashing a Shape.
The last shirt shown in the intro is my "That's Amore" recon, which uses two basic techniques: #2 - Cut & Tie, and #3 - Slashing. I also did another video specifically on Slashing a Shape. This shirt does also have its own tutorial video, which you'll find on the playlist. It was one of the first recon videos I did, before I started the series of basics and further explanations.


I hope this post helped you all out! Now I can refer to this any time someone asks about something in the intro. And once you watch the Basics Series, I think you'll be able to start seeing how each of these projects uses those basic techniques, just in different ways. Except, of course, for the few designs I said do not use those techniques. =P

I do have some more simple techniques in mind to further the Basics Series, but as of now there are only four installments, and then other individual tutorials showing different designs from Generation T, or clarifying questions that people have had. When I find the time to make some more, you will know!

Until then, Happy Snipping!