It all starts with a need for design. Typical. If you dream it, you can make it. It happens to me quite a lot. There’s a particular and very specific image in my mind and the only way to bring it to life is make it yourself. When it comes to T-shirts there are millions of designs in the shops but for every million available there are ten millions possible ones. T-shirts that make a statement. T-shirts that relate. T-shirts that mean.
I remember the first T-shirt I made. I was a teenager. And I was completely, utterly and absolutely in love. With Metro. The musical. I went to as many shows and as often as possible. I collected every single press release, article, interview and any brief note of the show itself or any of the cast. Not to mention I knew all the songs and I sang them. LOUD. Surely, I needed a T-shirt to make a statement. So when the summer 1995 came and I had time to spare I jumped on the little DIY project and for the first time (not to say the last one – but I am really lousy at sewing) trimmed, stitched and embroidered with all my heart to recreate the design that was only available on posters. And then I totally overwear it, as teenagers do with their favourite garments. The sun and the washing might have bleached it , yet I still do have it and, in fact, will be happily wearing it to the 25th anniversary of the show in a few days.
Pizza Friday is a real deal in our house. It happens, well, every Friday, apart from the very rare occasion when we opt in for fondue. It is our family movie evening and, to think of it, we watched hundreds of films so far, including 20 or more views of the Ice Age series and at least similar amount of the Shrek movies, mostly back in the days when those were the only movies the 3-year-old Natasha would watch. We love our Pizza Fridays and would not trade them for anything else. So when it came to browsing birthday gift ideas for Maciek, we thought a special, home made T-shirt would be just the right thing. We used stencils and fabric markers for the text and then let our creativity go – splashing paints and mixing colours to get that tomato sauce and pepperoni look.
Apparently, no one was expecting Frozen to get so popular and no one was prepared for such a mania. For the first time in … a long time, commerce was way behind the trends and demands. It actually felt great to be experiencing the long-forgotten need to hunt for items in the shop or to create home-made versions. It increased their value. It made them precious. It brought back the uniqueness. I came across a Frozen inspired design on Pinterest and thought it will work great for the little Frozen fan. In fact, I thought it will work great for both of us and made two matching ones. I used Avery Design and Print Online tool for T-shirt transfer sheets to create a mirror type design. The surprise and joy were one of a kind. And we received many complements on the T-shirts. Natasha has obviously outgrown hers yet I still have mine. It is most useful for all the moments when you want to Keep Calm and Let It Go.
Social events were a big thing in my previous office. Throughout 9 years I spent there we did many get-togethers in the office canteen to celebrate weddings, maternity leaves or to say goodbye always trying to make it special and show we cared. The one I remember most was a retirement of our finance director, Betsan. One of us came up with this T-shirt idea and soon everyone contributed. Paddy and Janice created the design. Carolines sourced out the T-shirts. I ordered the iron-on paper. Row brought in iron and was secretly ironing on the image in the storage room. And on the day we were all wearing the T-shirts and having scones.
There’s another T-shirt project in my mind so keep on eye out for it on Instagram.