Two years ago, Amulet Books (part of Abrams Books, just like STC Craft is) released the fourth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series--Dog Days. The Abrams marketing department went all out promoting the book, even organizing a cross-country ice cream truck tour. One day that summer, all Abrams employees walked into their offices to find a bright yellow Dog Days T-shirt on their desks. Just a little gift to get us excited about the book. And truly, I thought it was a very sweet gift. But deep down, I felt a little bit guilty because, well...I don't wear T-shirts. Pretty much ever. Let's just say that the boxy sleeves and straight waist of a standard tee don't do me any favors. So I took the shirt home and it sat in a drawer. I thought to myself, maybe I should hang onto the shirt and take it to Antiques Roadshow in 40 years when it will have become a true collector's item. But then, as summer 2011 rolled around, and I came up with an even better idea. Being a craft editor, I was, in fact, a little embarrassed that I hadn't thought of it earlier. I decided to cut up that boxy tee and turn it into a cute girly tank.
I first considered using the corset pattern from Alabama Stitch Book, but those tanks require cutting up an extra-large shirt and the Dog Days T-shirt was a trim ladies medium. Instead, I reached for a fabulous all-purpose T-shirt transformation book--Save This Shirt--which was, incidentally, the very first STC Craft book I ever helped edit.
I settled on the design for Fit to Be Thai-d, a tank with a high front (so I could preserve the Dog Days logo), and an ornate laced up back. One of the first steps is to spread out your T-shirt, place a tank top that fits you really well on top of it, then trace around the edges. Once you've transferred the shape of your tank, you pin along the shoulders and sides and stitch along the tracing lines on a sewing machine.
I realized about halfway into making the shirt that I wasn't going to have enough material on the sides (or the bottom for that matter) to do the fancy lace-up ties in the back. Yes, it's true, even craft book editors sometimes skim the instructions and make silly mistakes. But, never one to be discouraged, it was at that point that I strayed from the pattern and improvised! I trimmed away the excess material from the neck, shoulders, and sides, and tried on the tank to check the fit. The top looked nice, but I didn’t like the way it fit at the hips. I wanted it to flare out a bit more like a tunic. So I cut slits up the sides and then cut out two triangles of fabric from one of the sleeves. I sewed the triangles into the slits, and voila, instant flares. And now I have a lovely tank to wear during these last long dog days of summer...perfect for barbecues, picnics, water balloon fights, naps in hammocks, and of course, eating ice cream cones.