In Praise Of The Undershirt

Where I live, this winter has been thoughtfully short on bitter, blustery weather. Even so, we keep our house pretty cool. So I’ve taken to wearing undershirts. Yep — just like Mom made us wear when we were kids.

Refashioned merino wool sweater into undershirt.

This one started life in someone else’s closet. When I found it in a thrift shop, it was a size too small for me, with a too-tight turtleneck and too-tight long sleeves.  But it was a nice, soft merino wool and it was a dollar, so I bought it. To refashion it, I cut off the turtleneck and sleeves and hand-stitched new stretchy seams at the neck and armholes. And it sure felt good on some of this year’s coldest days.

But it kept riding up. So last week while I was shortening the sleeves on a couple of new thrifted tops, I decided to lengthen the undershirt. I cut off the ribbed hem, cut off the bottom of a T-shirt I rarely wore, and Frankenstitched the two together. It may not be beautiful, but it stays tucked in now now.

Stitching like this gives me time to ponder things like: Do other women still wear undershirts, but we have on so many layers I just never noticed? Also, (I feel like Andy Roony here — “Did you ever wonder…”) why women on television wear sleeveless clothes in the middle of winter?

Spring is coming, so these questions might go dormant until next winter. In the meantime, I’m on the lookout for another merino sweater or two I can refashion. Because, always, winter is coming.

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin