So it is total bullshite that if you are a lady larger than a US size 12, it becomes nearly impossible to find trendy t-shirts that fit – let alone t-shirts that are well-made, ethically-made, and/or affordable. Men’s trendy tees typically go up to a 3X and that 3X corresponds to a man who is genuinely a fair bit larger than the average dude. My husband and I are both the same degree “overweight” and he easily can wear – and therefore find – a medium or a large.
Women’s clothing is different. I’m a US size 16 – one size larger than the average US lady – and I am almost always too big for the 2X sizes at these shops. And that’s if 2X is even an option – it usually isn’t.
“Just buy a men’s shirt and wear it!” inevitably says some ignoramus who assumes I can’t do Life right? Sheesh. Wearing a men’s/”unisex” (unisex meaning: men’s) garment, with my build? RIDICULOUS LOOKING AND HORRIBLY UNCOMFORTABLE
It’s a bummer, and I’m fed up.
I do like this recent crop of trendy literary tees. Unlike my many band shirts, I have actually read – and I love – the books depicted on the t-shirts I wear. Last night I took this men’s 2X and made myself a two-layer skater-style LS tee. It took me about an hour and it is super boss.
I am sitting here thinking how awesome I am. Actually I am thinking how goddamned cold it is. Photo credit: Nels Hogaboom, the sweetest 10 year old child EVAR!
Some tips for those who want to redesign t-shirts:
1. Learn how to sew with knits. There are all sorts of great resources for this – including some of mine – but mostly, it takes time, patience, and persistence.
2. Find a handful of perfect patterns for you. May I suggest Jalie – their t-shirts are perfectly drafted and most patterns come in a huge size range so you can make tees for your friends.
2. Buy a men’s size shirt in your corresponding ladies’ size – or one size larger (so for me, a 2X, the men’s 3X is ideal). A shirt with side seams often has better grain to work with.
3. Expect surprises. As a woman favoring a slim-cut pattern, my shirt shape is quite different from the men’s crewneck shirt: I have narrower shoulders with more of a slope, a deeper neckline, a smaller waist, a smaller sleeve, and larger hips. Usually these changes mean the motif on the resultant shirt will not line up like the first shirt. You can colorblock the new shirt using another shirt or fabrics if you want the motif in a particular place. Sometimes creativity is needed – for instance I got the neckband of this tee shirt, from the hem of the original.
4. One nice thing about t-shirt surgery is my final shirt is not only better-fitting, but far better made than the original. That feels pretty good – not going to lie! And of course: it’s the only t-shirt out there like it. #bombtastic