Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The art of the cut

Zumba recently launched a new line of clothes for the fall. Hence the big summer sale. They call their new collection The Art Of The Cut, advertising clothes that are "pre-slashed". Wait...pre-whatnow? That name implies two things: 1) that people buy Zumbawear and then slash it, cut it up, and otherwise alter it to suit themselves, and 2) that now they don't have to because Zumba has already taken care of that part. Well alrighty then. Not too long after the fall line was released, Zumba posted videos to Facebook as a "how-to" for cutting up this stuff. The pink hoodie cost $64, and the purple t-shirt costs $29. Is anyone else going, "Holy smokes!!" or am I the only one?

I understand that some people like to make their look unique and personalized, but I personally can not imagine spending that much on fancy Zumba clothing and then...gasp...cutting it up. Thinking about doing that to what's hanging in my closet makes me want to cry a little. So I decided to do some searching online to find out if this is really true, if people actually do this to their stuff. I really had to see it to believe it because no one in any of the classes I've ever been to has shown up wearing a top they've cut up. As it turns out, this is a real thing.

There are videos! I mean besides the ones that Zumba has posted. I watched one of a girl cutting up her Party In Pink tank top. The exact same one that I just bought with my birthday gift card. Choke...gasp. Once I got past the shock, I realized that she seemed to know what she was doing. She had pins and everything. I watched her video a few times and came to the conclusion that this was not her first rodeo, as they say. I also noticed that she had a second tank top sitting off to one side and while she didn't do anything with it in the video, I kinda think it was in the on-deck circle. After seeing this video, I started browsing around, and watched a few more. The more of these I watched, the less crazy the idea of cutting up a shirt seemed. Here's why: the girl cutting up her Party In Pink tank top was sort of unique. In the majority of these videos, the shirt being attacked was A) not in fact a Zumba brand shirt, or B) a gigantic Zumba t-shirt that was intended for a man, in size XXL. Okay, that I can kind of understand. So it got me thinking along the lines of, "Gosh, I sure wish I had a man's giant Zumba shirt I could experiment with..." and from there it was only a hop, skip and a jump to, "Hey, don't I have a stack of dull-ish tank tops upstairs I'm planning to get rid of? Hrmm..."

I sorted through them to find that grey one I hate the most. If you don't remember the reason why I hate it, it's mentioned towards the bottom of a previous post. After locating it, I took it downstairs, grabbed my sewing box, and fired up that first video of the girl cutting up her Party In Pink shirt. If you're interested, it's here. I paused and rewound as needed, but I did to my hated grey what she did to her pink. I have photos!
Step 1
Step 2
Here's what the back of the shirt looked like originally (please excuse the shadows). Pretty dull right? I've -almost- been able to let myself forget I used to dress like this for class every week. Sigh... Honestly, it wasn't hard to take scissors to this thing. So, like the girl in the video, I matched the side-seams together and pinned it on a diagonal.
Once I could get past the fact that she was cutting up a Zumba brand shirt, and one that I also own, I actually kind of liked what she did to it. So I cut the back of the shirt into strips about the width of my thumb with the ones closest to the bottom being shorter, and the ones higher up the back being longer. It looked something like this:
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
See? Easy. Take that hated grey! Yeah, I was starting to get into it at this point... Something about this process actually felt kind of good when applied to this particular shirt. After I slashed it, I did this weaving thing that the girl demonstrated in the video. You grab the topmost strip, twist it to make a loop, then pull the next strip down, up through the loop. Then, twist -that- piece into a loop and pull the next one down, up through. Repeat until you get to the bottom. If that isn't clear and you want to know, scroll back up and watch her video. At the bottom, she tied hers with a string. I used a safety pin for ease of undoing as needed until I decided I was finished. Which I thought I was after Step 4, but then I tried it on and decided it needed something else. So I undid it to lay it flat again so I could cut it up some more. I had seen another video of a tank top being turned into a halter top and I thought, "If it needs something else, why not do both?" Go big or go home, as they say. Besides, what did I have to loose, it was just the hated grey after all...
Step 6
Step 7
So I cut the back apart, as you can see in Step 5, and then sliced that in half to make straps I could tie together - Step 6. After that, I neatened up the straps a little bit, cutting off corners and also that edging around the neckline and what used to be the sleeves - Steps 7 & 8. Those scraps that you see in Step 7, I saved them. I was advised in more than one video not to throw scraps away because "you may need them". Seriously, one lady said she made bracelets out of them, though she didn't say how. Too bad, you guys know I likes me some bracelets. Someone else was using scraps (the sleeves from the man's giant shirt) to make a bikini top. Really? Yeah... No, not gonna happen even if I had one of those XXL's handy.
Step 8
Finished Back
Finished Front
So then I had what you see above. I went and tried it on and... It was only okay. Somehow, I still didn't feel it was done, but I was out of videos I liked. Time to get creative! I decided that it was the back piece that needed to change. It was still five inches of plain old blah so that had to change. Now, where did I leave my scissors? I didn't want to weave it. I figured that trying to weave something new into what I already had wouldn't work. So I slashed the shirt straight across instead of on the diagonal and when I had five strips, I cut each one in the center. Then I put the shirt on and I tied them back together making sure I was matching up the right ones; best to use a mirror. Finally done! I was satisfied with it. Let me tell you, the shirt sure fit a whole lot better too. It was still pinned at the bottom loop though, and I wanted to change that since I wasn't likely to need to undo the weaving anymore. Remember those scrap pieces? I cut one of them up into two thin strips. I used these to tie the last loop to the bottom of the shirt and that's what you see in the finished pictures. So then I modeled it for Bry, "Well, what do you think?", and he responds, "It's nice, but... It's still a grey shirt." Hrmm... Touché sir, touché. I think I'm going to buy some really bright ribbons and figure out how to braid them in. Yeah, I know only the back will be decorated, but here's the thing with that - the only person who sees the front of me in class these days, is the teacher. Take that hated grey.

Best advice: Today it's more "food for thought". Is there a way you can take something you hate and turn it into something you... I was going to say love, but I still need to go ribbon shopping. Into something you don't hate? Take something that works against you and change it so that it's the opposite?

****I need to add to this post. I wrote this the day I did the shirt which was actually a couple days ago. Since then, I've had the opportunity to wear the shirt to dance in. I put it on last night for practice just to test it out and it works really well. Why test it you ask? Well... When you're wearing a shirt that's basically tied in place it's best to know before wearing it out in public whether it will hold together through strenuous activity; and Zumba can get pretty strenuous. A few Monday's ago, I El Blablaso-ed the elastic right out of my braid! El Blablaso is a really fast merengue... Anyways, back to last night. The shirt stayed where I put it which is more than I can say for my hair clips. Those things slip and slide the moment they get damp. Grr, but better them than the shirt am I right? So I'm pleased with the performance of the shirt, now I just have to get it decorated to make it class-worthy. On today's agenda, a trip to the fabric store!****

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