How To Make A Corinne Day-Inspired Spiderweb T-Shirt


I was looking through some old Corinne Day editorials the other day when I came across an image Day shot of model Rosemary Ferguson for The Face in August, 1993. The story, called “England’s Dreaming,” was styled by Melanie Ward and it’s pretty much amazing (at least based on the bits and pieces I could find online). But a particular t-shirt Ferguson wore in it really drew me. I couldn’t tell if it was ugly or not, but I liked it. And I wanted to make one.

Which was weird for me, because anything involving a cut-up black t-shirt is so not what I think of as “my style”; much as I wish I could pull off (or, you know, afford) all the very interesting deconstructed monochromatic things by Yamamoto and Margiela and Rick Owens I coveted, and spent a lot of my spare time sewing (mostly) unsuccessful imitations of, in high school, I’ve come to accept that these days I’m more one for a plain vintage day dress. And I kind of despise the whole 90s throwback Thing, a cultural mode which seems to exist so patently just to camouflage a lack of new ideas. (Free idea available to anyone who would like to pre-empt the fashion industry’s Wheel of Nostalgia: the ’00s party, where everyone has to dress “boho” and wear those silky cargo-parachute hybrid pants that it was trendy to tuck into the ankle ties of your pointy-toed high heels in 2003. And you must play Chicks on Speed and the Hives and “Jenny From The Block” until all the guests cry.) Why did I like this weird shirt? This weird shirt that — wait, where were Rosemary Ferguson’s nipples? What on earth was cool about it? To my eye, I guess it had a kind of witchy, Rodarte-FW-’08-y kind of air. And sometimes it’s nice to have things in your closet that say, “I would let you wear me even though you haven’t washed your hair or shaved your pits in five days.” (Sometimes I feel a little, well, judged by my vintage dresses, embodying as they do the recondite beauty standards of previous ages.) Eventually I was like, why question it? Spiderweb t-shirt. Awesome.

So this is a t-shirt DIY, which is perhaps the simplest kind of DIY. You take a t-shirt, and you cut it up into something else. If you don’t like this spiderweb t-shirt Corinne Day photographed in 1993, you don’t have to make one. You could take a t-shirt and do some awesomecool cut-up-and-braided Mark Fast shit, or you could take a t-shirt and fringe it, or you could snip hearts into it, or you could spraypaint it, or you could cut it into strips and stretch the strips till the edges roll up and knit the strips into a tea cozy, if you really wanted. There are as many kinds of t-shirt DIYs as there are bugle beads on a piece of Valentino couture, but this is the t-shirt DIY I decided, for whatever reason, to attempt this week. Do I need to explain what you need? All right, you will need: 1) A t-shirt 2) A pair of fabric scissors and 3) Tailor’s chalk (optional). I figured this was a perfect use for an old Handsome Furs tour t-shirt that I haven’t actually ever worn in public. Click any photo to enlarge.

First cut off the sleeves.

Then, mark out a spiderweb pattern with the tailor’s chalk. Cut out the negative space between each thread of web. Leave the back of the shirt intact, but cut off the ribbing at the neckhole. I’m pretty sure you get the point. My shirt had a design on the front, so I turned it inside out.

And then you wear it. The end.

If there’s something you’d like to see as a DIY project, just email me me your suggestions (or tell me on Facebook). In the meantime, to check out past DIYs — including how to do a ’30s-style moon manicure, how to make a fascinator, and how to make a leather envelope clutch — click here.

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