Feeling crafty? Just in time for Earth Day, you can learn to reduce, reuse, and refashion your old T-shirts into new clothes and more. Megan Nicolay, the New Yorker behind the Department of Craft, an NYC-based craft collective, has written two books that teach you how to turn a T-shirt into everything from new clothes to baby gifts to pet toys.
In Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt, Nicolay repurposes and reinvents the standard tee from tired to terrific. The book starts with an introduction to design terms, tools, measurement, materials and stitches, making it accessible to beginners. Projects include slightly modified tops requiring no sewing to much more intricate fashion products like the sexy "sidewinder" skirt and the two-piece "teeny bikini," with variations suggested for many projects. Each project is imaginative, crafty, and very green.
Nicolay's second book, Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways To Transform a T-Shirt, shows you new ways to turn an old tired tee into a hot new items. There's a basic primer on techniques — knotting, sewing, braiding, lacing — plus a full tutorial on embellishing. As the title suggests, this book goes "beyond fashion" in its array of projects. There are some clothing pieces, halters and tank tops, gaucho pants, a baby-doll dress, twisted shrug and a hooded scarf. But Beyond Fashion also includes baby gifts like the baby jumper, bib and blankie; home décor projects such as the plant hanger, wine cozy and toilet seat cover; gifts for guys: grill mitts and bolo ties; as well as pet gifts: doggie tee and stuffed cat toys. Projects range from the simplest no-sew to intermediate, and all have easy-to-follow illustrated directions — plus, how to throw your own Tee Party.
Both books make great gifts for folks with lots of tees and a little bit of time.