How to DIY Your Own Katharine Hamnett-Inspired SJP T-Shirt Dress
So we were all wowed by the fashion from the SATC movie, and numerous "how to get the look" postings on blogs across the world followed the movie's release. (Yours truly is also guilty ;-)
So one look we here at Chic Steals were obsessed with was that effortless Katharine Hamnett "STAY ALIVE IN 85" tee that SJP was wearing in one scene as a mini-dress, with those unforgettable argyle thigh-highs and gladiator sandals. (We'll skip the thigh-highs ourselves.)
Since we're not about to go and plunk down 40 pounds (about $73 U.S.) for a t-shirt at KatharineHamnett.com's online store (yes, we're frugal cheapskates here), and given the fact that the lovely cobalt blue color SJP is wearing in the movie is not even available (and they don't ship to the U.S.-major bummer), we'll have to go one better.
It's a t-shirt worn as a dress. No problem. Find out how we did it...
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Okay, so we picked up this Men's American Apparel tee for $17 in XL. (Debating between XL and XXL took some time...but was ultimately decided by where the sleeves hit...for that SATC look, make sure they hit at the elbow or slightly below.) [You can also use just any old men's tee - or even snag one from a thrift store. But if you're buying - American Apparel is probably the way to go.] We cut off the ribbing at the neck (which left a round raw-edge neckline), and to make it look a little cooler we angled the cut so that it would fall off one shoulder in true 80's-style.
As to the length, you can see in the SATC photos that it's kind of gathered at the bottom (and safety-pinned, if you can make it out) so when wearing you can do the same over a black mini. (Being somewhat thrifty over here, we opted to actually sew a black strip of fabric on the bottom, stretching while sewing it so the t-shirt gathered naturally at the bottom. You can also sew it to a stretchy black mini-skirt you don't need or picked up on the cheap from a thrift store.)
Finally, as to the letters (which are the hardest part), we searched high and low for iron-ons from the fabric store but to no avail. (The largest they offered were 1.5" hi, and the Katharine Hamnett shirt letters are around 3.5 - 4" high.) So, from Spot98 came this vinyl heat-transfer material that you can apply with a home iron - we bought 3 sheets of 9 x 15" black vinyl ThermoFlex Plus (less than $12) and found it more than enough for the shirt letters. To make sure they were perfect (okay, so we're a little anal too) we laid the text out in Photoshop (Arial or Impact are pretty good fonts for it) and printed it out on regular paper to size it correctly. (It took a couple tries.) We cut out the letters and used them as templates when cutting out the ThermoFlex, and finally applied the heat transfers per the instructions.
So here's the final piece...which we're utterly thrilled with. If we were to do it again, we'd probably opt for a larger shirt size (the sleeves aren't quite long enough), make the black band at the bottom longer, and wait longer after applying the letters before peeling off the backing. (We just couldn't wait to see, and the letters look a little shiny in places since we didn't apply the iron long enough, or let cool down thoroughly - you can see the mottling in the second photo.) Anyway, trial and error is the name of the game - and we still have more ThermoFlex to play with!