A t-shirt jam session with Generation T's Megan Nicolay

(Video link) In non-entertainment news, I am a huge nerd for a cool t-shirt. Sometimes I buy them (usually from Busted Tees or Headline Shirts), and sometimes they find me. The latter shirts are generally men's sizes -- too big and shaped like a rectangle, but so groovy that I don't have the heart to throw it away. Fortunately, there are people out there who know how to fix such things! One of those people is Megan Nicolay, author of Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt (Workman Publishing) and its sequel, as well as the companion blog. Megan and I hung out in the Workman Publishing office recently to put together a instructional video on how to alter a gigantic potato sack of a shirt into something acceptable to wear in public. After the jump, a quick walk-through of another design.

T-shirts ahoy!

Here is the good news about fixing a t-shirt: you don't need a sewing machine! In fact, Megan is a strong supporter of hand sewing and offers up a few methods in her books. But if you're anything like me, you are prone to two things: hand cramps and severe impatience. If I can sew something on a machine in less than a minute, that's what I'm going to do. For the sake of speed, we used a sewing machine for this shirt, which started out like this:

And here is the step-by-step to make it fit my not-square-shaped body. First, we turned it inside out and cut the sleeves.

For this shirt, we left the neckline as is. If you want to cut a more feminine neckline, refer to the video for very easy instructions (that don't require sewing, just cutting). After preliminary choppage, we marked and measured after trying the sleeveless shirt on. To make sure it's even, fold the shirt in half -- symmetry will be your guide.

And then, we don't cut. We created new seams with the sewing machine before cutting off the excess, because, as Megan points out in the video, it's a lot harder to put fabric back on than take it off.

To make sure it wasn't too tight, we tried the shirt on. And then, we cut the extra fabric off.

And now, it's a shirt that's my size!

It's also timely. Happy 72nd Birthday, John Lennon!

For more information about Megan Nicolay's super fun and doable t-shirt designs, visit the Generation T blog, where you can also buy her books. And if you're in New York and want to get in touch with your crafty side, Megan will be appearing at Michael's craft store on October 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.

Special thanks to Kevin Davidson at Workman for shooting and editing our 100 percent on-the-fly video!


  1. Or, you can just pay BoingBoing a premium for a shirt that actually fits the bodies of half the earth’s population!

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