Shredded Threads
October 17, 2007 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Help me make this retro t-shirt.

Okay. Here's what I want to make.

Remember back in the 80's there were T-shirts that had been sliced into thin horizontal strips up and down the front or back, and the "T-shirt noodles" were interwoven up and down, creating a revealing, hair-band, hot-rod, bartles and jaymes sort of loose crocheted look? These shirts often also featured fringe cuts on the sleeves or the hem, with pony beads strung on them.

What do you call these and where can I get instructions on how to make them, or good pictures of them at least?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My local library had a few t-shirt crafting books one of which I'm sure will hve the design you're referring to. I know what you're talking about but I have no idea what it's called.
posted by jessamyn at 4:42 PM on October 17, 2007

FWIW, I already have Generation T, and this design is not represented.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:51 PM on October 17, 2007

Yeah, you're probably not looking for the t-shirt crafting book of today as much as you're looking for the t-shirt crafting book of twenty years ago. Try your local public library.
posted by box at 4:55 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I think I know what you mean, but can you give us a picture? It's the basket-weave kinda look, right? Okay, I'm gonna give this a go...

I'm pretty sure you're gonna need two t-shirts for this. The first t-shirt is the one you'll actually wear, and what you need to do with it is make vertical slices all around the body, from the hem to the neck/shoulders. DO NOT cut the hem or the neck/shoulder seams. In fact, you should probably stop at about the armpit area. So basically, instead of "fringe" these are just gonna be slices, still connected at the top and bottom.

With your second shirt you want to cut horizontally all the way around to make strips to weave into the first shirt. It might be cool to have two contrasting color here but whatever floats your boat will work. Start by just cutting the hem off the t-shirt, and then snip it somewhere (along the seam, maybe) so that it's one long piece instead of a circle. Keep going from the bottom of this shirt up until you have as many strips as you want or need. This works best if the strips you are cutting and the slits cut into the first shirt are relatively uniform in width.

Next, take one strip and begin weaving it into and out of the still whole t-shirt you cut the slits into. When you get all the way around, tie the two ends of the strip together and let them hang at the side or in the back as fringe.

Keep weaving until you get the look you want. The weave can be tight or open, you decide. Once you're done weaving, cut the sleeves into fringe, add your beads if you want, and have a happy Halloween!
posted by Brittanie at 5:12 PM on October 17, 2007

They were "monochromatic rags" (done with grey, black and white t-shirts) in the Adrian Mole books, but a Google for that phrase brings up nothing useful...
posted by kmennie at 5:21 PM on October 17, 2007

Here are some drawings for you:

Shirt one
Shirt two
Final product

P.S. FEAR my MS Paint skillz.
posted by Brittanie at 5:28 PM on October 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Damn, that looks like some ugly shit. Great Paint though, Brittanie!

I searched woven t-shirts, braided t-shirts, beaded t-shirts, crocheted t-shirts, fringed t-shirts, retro t-shirts, vintage t-shirts, 80s t-shirts, even Bartles and Jaymes t-shirts (although I don't understand the connection). I swear I was alive (an adult already, even) for most of the 80s, and I don't remember ever being exposed to any t-shirt as fug as these seem to be. I can't wait to see an actual photograph of one.
posted by iconomy at 5:34 PM on October 17, 2007

I found a post on another site where someone asks about the same kind of t-shirt, and towards the bottom someone links to a photobucket slideshow of photos of instructions, if that helps. One of the commenters describes the shirt as "a bit of a White Trash kind of thing, usually combined with sliced fringe and pony beads, and worn with Daisy Dukes in Southern beach towns". We need to find out what the style is called though.
posted by iconomy at 5:46 PM on October 17, 2007

You can also try here, either posting or poking around the memories.
posted by cashman at 5:50 PM on October 17, 2007

Oh man, I recognise the kind of thing in the slideshow iconomy posted, it's like strips of the shirt plaited and twisted up together. Also don't know what it's called though.

I bet someone at the teeshirt surgery livejournal community would be able to help.
posted by shelleycat at 5:57 PM on October 17, 2007

Okay, on second thought, if the idea you're thinking of is similar to the LeomDesign shirt wrap top in iconomy's first link, then this is waaaaaaay easier than the other instructions I gave you.

The slideshow in the other link is kind of hard to see, but the instructions in the forum there are pretty well-written. It's kind of like how you save a dropped stitch by re-weaving it when you are knitting something.
posted by Brittanie at 6:05 PM on October 17, 2007

Very helpful, iconomy. I think I'll need to try it a few times to be sure... the photobucket slideshow doesn't look like the finished product, which you can see in this pic I grabbed from the site recommended in your link. I'd love any further tips anyone here has on how this is accomplished, especially how to make a good looking finish, how to control the width of the "ladder" or how to make nested ladders.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:16 PM on October 17, 2007

I remember the sliced dangly bits with beads on them... but not the weaving part. I think there's a famous picture of Farrah Fawcett wearing it -- maybe from 10?
posted by loiseau at 6:31 PM on October 17, 2007

Oh, the stoner girls with their skin-tight jeans, knee-high laceup moccasins, and these shirts. All that blue eyeliner. All that hairspray. I loved those girls.
posted by padraigin at 6:31 PM on October 17, 2007

Ambrosia Voyeur, the shirt in your link doesn't seem to be woven -- it's just cut. I'd use masking tape to outline the vertical edges of the shape, fold the shirt along the vertical centerline of the cut area (don't fold the front inside unless you want to cut it too), pin through the taped area, and make cuts perpendicular to the fold. The cut areas will roll up on the edges when the shirt is washed.

I recall some 80's variant on this that looks sort of woven, but the technique used is more like knitting or crochet. Each cut section was looped around the next the same way many people store cables and lengths of climbing rope.
posted by yohko at 10:59 PM on October 17, 2007

Bo Derek was in 10. Not Farrah Fawcett. I only remember beads being in her hair, though...
posted by miss lynnster at 5:13 AM on October 18, 2007

I don't know why there really aren't good instructions online somewhere. Basically, as you cut and slash the shirt, it gets larger, so then you tie the bits together to tighten it. All the rocker chicks in my high school did this, yet I can hardly find photos online. Here's one.
One more. Horrible, horrible flash site, but in this woman's gallery, she shows a cut and tie shirt under "wrap shirt" (she's in Santa Cruz, BTW).
posted by oneirodynia at 2:26 PM on October 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

"One more" shows some great designs. The kind of intricacy I'm going for. YAY!!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:27 PM on October 18, 2007

« Older Legalities regarding publishing other people's...   |   Where on the web to talk about books? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.