Diane Gilleland x Mr. Cart: Reviving old T-shirts with fabric patches
We’re proud and excited to bring you the newest contribution to The Uncollection. (That’s Unconsumption’s do-it-yourself “ultimate lifestyle brand: all lifestyle, no products for sale” — any old item, object, thing, stuff, that gets a new life by way of anybody who wants to incorporate our logo into or onto it. You are encouraged to add your own stuff to The Uncollection, and post the results on our Facebook page.)
The second contributor to our artist series (following Tiffany Threadgould) is the fantastic Diane Gilleland: the Editor-in-Chief of CRAFT, she also publishes CraftyPod, a blog and podcast about making stuff. And as you’ll see, she’s pretty handy with the actual crafting, too.
Here she explains what she did, and how:
Old T-shirts seem to have a way of proliferating — most of us have a drawer (or back of the closet) full of them somewhere, and they show up at thrift stores regularly. So for my contribution to The Uncollection, I thought I’d make use of this ubiquitous raw material. I thought it might be fun to add contrasting fabric patches, making it clear that graphics are being deliberately covered up. And then I stenciled Mr. Cart over the patches.
Here’s one tee (above) before I started. I measured the screen printed area, and cut a big patch from another old shirt to cover it. I cut this patch about 1” larger on all sides than the graphic area.
To adhere the patch to a T-shirt, you can use one of two methods. For a small patch like the one above, on a different tee, I fused it to the shirt with fusible webbing. You can find this wonder-stuff in most fabric stores. Steam-a-Seam and Heat-n-Bond are good brand names to try. Just bust out your iron and follow the package directions to do the fusing.
Or, for a larger patch like the one I added to the orange shirt, you may want to sew it down. I just folded under ¾” on all four edges of the patch, pinned it to the shirt, and sewed around all four edges with my sewing machine.
Next, I printed Mr. Cart at the size I wanted him to appear on the shirt. I taped some freezer paper (shiny side down) to a cutting surface. and then taped the print-out on top of that. I carefully cut all the outlines with a craft knife.
(Hint: it’s easiest if you cut the central details out first, and then cut the outer lines. If you want your cart to appear in line form, then keep all the little interior shapes, like I’m doing here.)
Heat your iron and turn off the steam. Place your cut freezer paper, shiny side down again, on the T-shirt, placing the graphic where you want it. Iron the paper gently, and it will fuse to the T-shirt, creating a nice, precise stencil. Then fill the stencil in with some fabric paint.
When the paint is dry, peel away all parts of the stencil. Heat your iron again and iron the back of the painted design to heat-set the paint.
…And voila! we gave new life to an old tee without having to assume its marketing messages!
What an inspiring use of Mr. Cart! (Who, as we always disclose, may actually be Ms. Cart; we don’t know for certain.) Unconsumption thanks Diane profusely, and advises you to enjoy CRAFT and CraftyPod, and follow her on Twitter at @SisterDiane.