Today I thought I’d share a little pastime of mine that I’ve been doing off and on. Repurposing geeky teeshirts for a little hobby biz that I run on the side called Geeky Boutiquey. 2nd hand stores are THE BEST for finding gently used geeky tees.
Here’s just a small sampling of some of the tees that I’ve found at 2nd hand stores:
Various Tee Shirts, From 2nd Hand Stores Anywhere, anytime. Priced at around $.99+ each.
I’m sure we all have that tee in our closet that is pretty cool, but sometimes lacks a certain luster that won’t allow you to wear it on special occasions. Wearing a Spiderman tee to classy occasions is ususally unheard of…unless it looked like THIS:
Spiderman Blouse Repurposed from 2 tees and remnants of another tee purchased at Silverdale Goodwill for $.99 and a piece & lace from a dress bought at Bremerton Value Village for $.99.
Lace detail from the dress purchased for $.99 at Value Village. Similar pattern design to the Toby Mcguire Spiderman costume.
Next up is a freehand piece that I made out of 3 Pirate themed tees. A sexy low cut, sling back blouse. Dare to grab the booty in this getup?
Repurposed from 3 $.99 tees from various 2nd hand stores.
It occurred to me that some of my readers would like to know how to repurpose their own tees. Well…done right, repurposing teeshirts can be made with the same loving care and stitches that they had originally been made with.
I’ve been lucky enough to find some wonderful tools at 2nd hand stores, which I will share with you, but it’s not always easy to find these very important tools. (Not impossible)
At the very LEAST, you need a basic sewing machine. I purchased this brother brand sewing machine from a retail store, but I’d look around Ebay or even the 2nd hand stores for a basic one. It’s not impossible to find basic sewing machines from 2nd hand stores.
Next up is a Serger sewing machine. If you are serious about sewing teeshirts, you will need one of these. Serger machines are THE VERY BEST for sewing stretchable fabric, but also, they make professional stitches. You can turn anything you are wearing, inside out and see the wonderful clean look that they give.
I bought my Serger for about $800 (?) last year with my Taxmus Return. I love it. This one has an additional feature to sew the “cover stitch” that you see at the bottom of teeshirts. You really do need that feature for stretchable wear.
If you are planning on scouring 2nd hand stores for a Serger sewing machine, or any sewing machine, I recommend bringing some thread cones, scrap fabric and a pair of scissors to test out your finds. Most 2nd hand stores have little stations that you can plug in electronics to test out.
Regardless if the machine has been tested out, take your machine in to be looked at by a professional to make sure you haven’t missed anything or even just for a little tune up. Serger machines, especially should be serviced regularly to make sure all the parts are properly lined up and oiled.
One good tip is to buy a can of air duster to blow away all your fabric bits. Blowing the bits away with your breath can add moisture to the metal parts which can cause them to rust. Yup…I did not know this. Look for rust on the metal bits.
Also, take a Serger class. Many places offer them. Do a Google search for your area’s local sewing machine shop or fabric store.
2nd Hand Sewing Finds
I’ve owned a Designer’s Curve before…but I snapped it in half and had to ghetto it up and tape it with packing tape. That SUCKS! They can be pricey. But today, I was very happy to find a complete set of guides to properly mark arm holes, hips and inseams.
Designer’s Curves Found on 2/6/2011 at Bremerton Goodwill. Purchased for $.99 each.
One of my friends works at the Silverdale Goodwill and he let me know when I walked in that they had gotten a seamstress’s fitting mannequin in. I think I wasn’t able to buy it at the time, as it was $70. I had to wait a whole week to decide on whether I’d buy it or not. It is a valuable tool. I believe I purchased it at half off when that color tag went on sale. Thankfully it was still there when I came back. I’ve utilized this for many of my sewing projects.
In addition to owning these tools, I’d keep an eye out for thread cones for Serger sewing machines. They last a long time. Beginners tend to think they need to buy every color in the spectrum. I recommend buying red, white, black and blue. If you need a specialty color, keep an eye out at the 2nd hand stores. A lot of times, people will buy the color, use it once and then donate it.
Also, look for fabric remanents in the tapestry section and craft section of your 2nd hand stores. There’s a lot of nice fabric donated every day. I also pick up vintage 80s bedsheets. In high school I made a dress out of Star Wars bedsheets. I still wear it when I fight my foes. As you can see…I become a mighty warrior when I wear this dress…meet Nerd Rage. Roller Derby girl, of geeky death!!!
If you’d like to know more about repurposing tees. A couple of great books would be Generation T & their follow up book, Generation T: Beyond Fashion. You can buy them from Amazon or your local bookstore.
Thanks for reading today’s blog! As always, I welcome your comments!