A Day of the Dead refashioned tee

I know I’m technically a day late for Dia de Los Muertos, but if Mexico City can hold their official celebrations today, then so can I!

This project actually started life in a market in Brittany two years ago, where I bought a pair of sugar skull print leggings off a market stall for a grand total €3. But they were “one size fits all” and “made in China”, which means that really, “one size fits most Chinese people”, so the fabric stretched over my thighs making the print pale and unattractive. I still liked the print, though, and the jersey itself was soft and surprisingly nice for the price, but I didn’t wear them much.

So when I came across these leggings when I was switching over to my winter wardrobe last weekend, I pulled them aside and thought they’d be a great candidate for refashioning, especially since we’d planned to attend the British Museum’s “Days of the Dead” festivities. So I cut them apart along the inseam and unpicked the coverstitching, and I was left with a sizeable amount of fabric:

I took my basic tee sloper and my long sleeve fit perfectly into the leggings piece with only a few inches spare at the bottom (added to my scraps pile). Then I sifted through my jersey stash, and after a brief, ill-chosen combination of burgundy, mustard, and black (way too “German flag”, and thrown in the bin!!), realised I had enough of some royal blue ponte to make the body and neckband.

Photos taken before work on a very foggy morning with my phone camera…

I cut out the fabric before work one morning, and then sewed it together in under an hour, just in time to wear out to the British Museum on Friday night! It’s a pretty basic/boring make but it’s one I’ll actually wear instead of some leggings that were just languishing in my trouser drawer. I resisted the urge to somehow add a bit of the skull fabric into the body of the shirt, either by way of a pocket or an applique, which I think would’ve just felt too juvenile and homemade.

I don’t really “do” Halloween most years – I really only make a costume if we’ve been invited to a specific party, so this is definitely more up my street – a nice nod to the season that won’t look out of place worn any other time of the year. There’s so much waste involved in most Halloween costumes, both in the time and materials for something you’ll likely only wear once, so this feels a bit more responsible, too.

The British Museum event was a disappointment, though. The projected visuals and sculptures were outstanding, but it was difficult to find any of the installations that were outside the main hall (no signage, and you had to cross-reference several maps!). But the worst was that the promised “Mexican street food” turned out to be hummus with Doritos on top. I wish I was joking. And the only booze options was Desperados (disgusting tequila-flavoured beer). No regular beer, no wine, no spirits. Which is just crazy considering it was a late night event in the centre of London, which meant there was a constant stream of people leaving to go get food and drink elsewhere.

But at least I got to pose with the giant skull in the lobby, and the face painting artists did a great job (damn my sensitive skin!). Plus we were able to try out the new DF Mexico Diner location, conveniently located right around the corner. So in the end it was a pretty great night out!

My skeletal sewing figurine, bought in Oaxaca in 2013. Just because I love showing it off!

Did anyone else celebrate Day of the Dead this weekend?

Leave a Reply