How-To: Lacer Lace Tee inspired by Diana Eng’s designs.

by Istarbel on October 17, 2011

photo by Ricardo Louis

In my previews post I talked about Diana End and her wonderful eye for both technology and fashion. Her stuff has actually made me want to try and make some things on my own. I still haven’t tried the Fibonacci Scarf but it is definitively in my To-Do project list and when I do I will try my hardest to give you all a How-To to that. For now I made an attempt to make one of her beautiful Lacer Lace Tees. Mine is low tech and it is not as well thought off. The pattern is one my mother and I hand drew, next time I try it I might look into copying and organic pattern to see how they hold up.

You will need:

  • T-shirt or top you wish to update
  • sharp scissors (smaller is best and I cannot express the sharp part  enough.)
  • a drawing utensil (sharpie type is best or tailor chack if using on black fabric)
  • Patern (this is optional it depends on how confident you are on your hand drawn skills)

 Step 1: Pattern

The first is to get your pattern on your shirt. I tried this twice. The first time in an old t-shirt of mine that had gotten a whole in the most inconvenient place. I discovered that it was better to draw the pattern in the in side, so turn your shirt wrong side out before you begin. This makes it so that if you make a mistake or decide to change the pattern on a whim because you decide to make an extra nip her or you don’t want to cut that particular hole there you wont get purple stains on your shirt. I realised quickly is that a tighter smaller pattern is better. I think this is what Diana ran across and why the cell patterns are a smart choice. Another thing too keep in mind for this stage is that t-shirt material is stretchy. So even if on the shirt it looks small, once you put it on it will look much bigger. The last tip for this step is to make sure you like your design before you cut into it. Sharpie is not as permanent as they will want you to think… cutting is.

Step 2: Cutting

This step is fairly self explanatory. You cut out the pattern you drew. However I have a few useful tips. For starting pinch the fabric and cut a small slit that will allow you to get the tips of your scissors through the fabric and will make it easier to manipulate the fabric. In this step I looked at my pattern and added little swoops and wholes here and there where I felt they were needed. It is important while cutting whether it be the pre-established design or you are improvising on the shirt, to keep in mind that t-shirt stretches. This means that a whole that is 1/4 of an inch can and will stretch to more than twice its size. Another thing that is good to keep in mind is to be sure you are only cutting on one side of the shirt. It sounds obvious but I am the kind of person that will sow things to the shirt I am wearing and cut two sides of a shirt.


Step 3: Wearing it

When you are happy with the design just put it on. I found this technique way too addictive. After being done with the neck of the shirt I started with the back. Since the design is more or less organic no one can say where it has to end and I can just keep adding more and more. Diana Eng’s shirt are machine washable and have been researched to have a certain amount of fraying and distress but still not loose its shape. My design has no research whatsoever I have already washed it once and while I didn’t notice anything to be alarmed it did have some distortion. I have been advised about certain products that might help if you don’t want this to happen. Fabric stores sell a special glue to keep fabric from fraying and in absence of this there is always clear nail polish, who’s uses keep outstanding me.

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