Hi! I’m Aurora Lady. I created a t-shirt company that focuses on feminism, DIY, and love. Yesterday Jen, Daisy, and I shared a photo shoot that we worked on together, featuring my “Girl Gang” t-shirt. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you a little DIY I put together. Think relaxed, loved, rock’n’roll…. even a little bit vintage-y. This one is a head turner, but it’s so easy to wear you might forget why people are looking at you with a slight smile.
When I created my first t-shirt series, Feminasty, it was very important to me that it have the opportunity to reinvent itself in the hands of everyone that embraced it. DIY is my jam– it’s a way to give new life to something you love that might not be just perfect for you yet. The do-it-yourself ethos is something that radically empowered me as a young person, saddled with lack of funds and a lot of gumption. I thought very specifically about what sort of material the shirts would be printed on (ethically made in the USA), the shape (it had to work on folks of varying body types, from small to xxxlarge– I’m working towards even more sizes!), and the style (flowy, comfortable, dirty-living ready).
I wanted each shirt to not only be able to handle a DIY, but to inspire you to create a DIY!
What you’ll need:
- a t-shirt, white or light colored. This particular DIY works better if you use a shirt sized larger than what is fitted. The more fabric you have to work with, the better! (Get the Girl Gang tee here)
- Rit liquid dye in the color of your choice (I used fuchsia)
- sewing needles (You really only need one, but I loose these babies like crazy and therefore would feel like a jerk not telling you to have a few on hand)
- thread in the same color as your t-shirt
- latex gloves (if you’re a DIY rebel, you don’t technically need these. The RIT dye will stain your hands though!)
- small pearls with a hole straight through the middle (5-10, depending on your penchant for pearls)
- large pearls with a hole straight through the middle (5-10, depending on your penchant for pearls)
- butter knife
- 1-quart plastic cup (something you don’t mind getting stained by dye)
- rhinestones with back clasps (I used some made by Bedazzler)
Dip Dye-ing Your T-shirt:
Start in an area that you won’t mind getting color on. You can always lay out old towels or rags to catch whatever dye might get everywhere.
Fill your cup with warm water, about 3/4 of the way full.
Add a drop (and I mean ONE DROP!) of dye to your water. Be careful! It’s easy to go overboard. Your aim is to give the shirt a light coat of color. You don’t need much dye at all to make this happen.
Gather one edge of your t-shirt in your hand and run under faucet of clear water. You are wetting your shirt before you dip it in dye– this allows the dye to travel up the shirt, adding more of a gradient effect to the shirt, and not a hard delineation of color.
Once wet, go ahead and dunk that corner of the t-shirt in your dye cup. Set a timer for about ten minutes, and then check on your t-shirt.
Is it dark enough for your tastes? Leave it in longer if you want a richer color. Keep checking every five minutes and pull it out when your color is achieved. Heads up– your t-shirt color will be lighter when it dries.
Pop that t-shirt in the dryer (after 6pm, of course!) or hang it on a line for a few hours if it’s sunny. Dry that sucker out!
Unraveling Your T-shirt
Cut the bottom hem off from your shirt. Who needs hems? Not you, that’s for sure!
Here’s where the magic happens. Start by picking at the bottom edge, where your hem used to be. Your threads with come loose with persistence. Do your best to pull out the threads from side to side, rather from top to bottom. This creates a longer stretch of unraveling.
Eventually your unraveling will taper up to a point. You can keep unraveling til this finite point. And then start over in a new area.
This unraveling technique is easy and fun, but it takes a LONG time. It’s great to do while waiting in a doctor’s office, in line at the grocery store, or marathoning episodes of Daria.
I chose to unravel huge areas in the front of my tee, and in the back. I also made small areas of unraveling along the neckline and along the sleeves.
Adding Pearls and Rhinestones to Your T-shirt:
I chose to add stones and pearls randomly all over the top of the shirt. I scattered them so that they were a bit denser towards my shoulders.
Attach these only in areas that HAVE NOT been unraveled. The unraveled areas of fabric are uber delicate.
These stones are the easiest thing ever! Just press the prongs through your fabric, so that they’re sticking out of the INSIDE of the fabric (basically, so that your jewel is on the outside).
Press gently on the prongs, so that they lay flat against the fabric, using your butter knife.
Pearls are your finishing touch! Simply thread your needle with thread (about 10 inches long) and create a knot at the end. Poke you needle where you’d like the pearl to be in the shirt, back to front, so that your knot is right up against the back of the fabric and your thread is fully out the front side of the fabric. Thread your pearl through and then poke your needle through the opposite way. Do this two times for each pearl, and then tie off your thread with a knot.