Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Generation T: Where high fashion meets bum comfort!

T-shirts are an integral part of my wardrobe. They're soft, comfortable, and my favorite way of displaying fandoms and/or art. The problem I run into, however, is that t-shirts are generally not made for ladies with, shall we say, "ample" bosoms in mind. Or even just with ladies in mind.

Let me rant to you about clothes for a minute here. I know you can go out and get "girl tees" which are specifically designed to fit lady parts better than your average tees, but think about how those work. A guy's t-shirt with a cool design on it can run you anywhere from $5 to $10. Maybe, if you're shopping at Hot Topic and you see one that you really love, you'll spend about $20 (because you just have to have it). The same t-shirt made to fit women? $20. No, they do not have it for $10. If it is made to fit a woman better than it fits a man, it will cost more. How unfair is that? And what about the sizes? If guys are buying a t-shirt, the cost of sizes extra-small all the way through extra large is exactly the same. Once they start hitting that 2XL or higher, they get charged a dollar or two more. Well, sorry guys: if you're 2XL or higher, that makes some sense. After all, that is LOT of shirt and requires more material. Women's t-shirts work in pretty much the same way, except that they are made primarily to fit thin women. And even then, if you're a skinny lady, prepare to feel fat because these are essentially children's sizes. So sizes XS to XL are the same, and they start charging more from 2XL and higher. But it isn't really more fabric that's at play here. For example: I fit into a men's medium. I can get in it with no problems. It covers my boobs, my stomach, has a nice length to it; it just doesn't fit nice. It doesn't hug my curves or anything. In a women's sizes, I'm suddenly an extra-large. The 2XL would fit better, but I don't want to pay more money, so I squeeze into the smaller shirt. Does it fit better than the men's shirt? Sure. It hugs my curves, that thing is on me. Is it more fabric? NO! I didn't suddenly need more fabric because the shirt is 2XL, but I'll still get charged more. Yet it's the same amount of fabric! Maybe even less!

This is a long rant. I thought you were going to review a book?!
I am. I'm setting up context. Keep your shirt on. OR, take it off and alter it to fit your needs!

Nice segue.
Thank you. My point is, I don't like paying more for a shirt just because I have boobs. That's where Generation T: 108 ways to transform a T-shirt by Megan Nicolay comes in. I came across this book at a Barnes & Noble many years ago. At the time, I worked at a GameStop and we would receive promotional t-shirts constantly, but never in the sizes that we actually needed. They were always way too big, and never in women's sizes. Finding this book was like an answered prayer! It includes 108 different ways to cut, slash, resew or no-sew your shirts.

I can't sew!
So maybe it's not high fashion. But it could be!
That's okay, because you don't always have to! One of the things I pulled from this book that I do constantly is simply cutting out the collar to men's shirts I like. Men's tees always feel too tight at the collar, and by simply cutting it out I have made the shirt fit better and also look cuter. Sometimes, that's all you need to do. This book taught me not to be scared of using my scissors. Many of the projects also have "no-sew" alternatives. Maybe you like a corset-style shirt, or you want to cinch up the sides of your favorite tee, but you don't want to sew? No problem. Instead of sewing up the sides, simply cut off a length of fabric from the bottom of your tee, poke some holes along the sides, and weave that length of fabric through the holes. Tada: No sewing! And if you're interested in doing a little bit of sewing, but have no idea how to start, the first chapter will take you through the basics. The writing and directions are easy to follow, so you should have no problems following along! There are so many cool things about this book, that the only way we'll get through them is if I just start listing them off, so:

  1. There are places for you to write in this book. There is a place in the first chapter where it tells you how to properly take your measurements, and gives you a spot to jot them down.
  2. There is a section toward the back of the book where you can sketch out your own ideas for how to alter t-shirts. There are pictures of plain tees already on there and you can just sketch away at them.
  3. The projects are not limited to shirts. Yes, they all start with a t-shirt, but they may very well end up as skirts, arm warmers, quilts, or pillows. There is even a pattern for a wedding dress.
  4. Speaking of "wedding dress," let's talk difficulty. This book contains a nice mix of patterns ranging from easy to challenging. The more challenging patterns, like the wedding dress, might be something you just work your way up to.
Wow! It sounds like you only have nice things to say about this book!
Well, not quite. I definitely have more great things to say about this book than bad ones. There are a couple of things I'm not super thrilled about, but they don't stop me from enjoying it. The first peeve I have with it is that none of the models look like me. Not at all. As I flip through the book, I get the sneaking suspicion that not a single one of these women is as short as I am (and I'm not exactly minuscule at 5'2", just fun-size), and my boobs are definitely bigger than all of theirs. This may seem like an odd thing to get annoyed at, but when the point of the book is to alter clothes to fit you, it'd be nice if you could see some of the items on a person that shares your body type. But the models are all models: mostly tall, all thin, all relatively compact in the chest area. Because of this, I can safely say that there are some patterns here that would only look good on models. That leads me to my second annoyance: the patterns are not universally usable. 
In any craft book, there will always be patterns or projects that are not your favorite, or that you simply have no interest in making. It happens. But I would like the option of being able to make the majority of them. I think I have 3 alterations, in a book of 108 things to do, that I really like and use on a regular basis. Some of these, again, just won't work for me because I find bras (at least sports bras) to be necessary. I'm not going to lie: I almost made the t-shirt wedding dress for my wedding. I absolutely adore the skirt, and the top was really nice also but it is not big boob friendly and I just couldn't come up with an alternative that would work for me. And there you have it: my only frustrations with this book. It is still well-worth the money I paid for it. I almost never bother buying t-shirts that are already fitted for women because I find it more fun to resize my own, and with Generation T I have the tools, inspiration, and encouragement I need to really make my tees my own.

That still sounds like fun! Anything else I should know about it?
Yes. While this book keeps total newbies who don't own a sewing machine in mind, some of these projects will move along a lot faster if you own a sewing machine (a basic one is fine, no need to get crazy), and know how to use it. Sewing things by hand is annoying.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves t-shirts, crafts, and has even a passing interest in sewing and altering their clothes. I would not recommend it for guys, though, since there aren't enough projects geared towards them to keep them entertained. Maybe you thought that was obvious, but I just wanted to make it really clear. There are actually a couple of patterns for things you could do, as a man, to alter your t-shirts but they consist primarily of just frankensteining a couple of them together. I think that's it. One pattern. Maybe two. 

And that's it, guys! I hope you enjoyed the review! Happy reading, crafting, and wearing!

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