Smells Like Teen Spirit Cheerleader costume

Selfie wearing the "anarchy" tank top I made for a "smells like teen spirit" inspired costume.

Selfie wearing the “anarchy” tank top I made for a “smells like teen spirit” inspired costume.

I went to a grunge-themed party in late January and since I don’t have any plaid flannel or ripped jeans in my wardrobe (currently…) I decided to go an entirely different way, and looked at the cheerleaders from the Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit video.

I originally was just going to use a purchased tank-style men’s undershirt for the tank top, and add my own painted Anarchy symbol, but the material of the shirts (Hanes) was so thin that my bra showed too visibly through it, and of course being a men’s cut, it was horribly unflattering on me.

I ended up grabbing a tank top from my closet, laying it down on some four-way stretch knit from my fabric stash, and knocking it off. (I didn’t want to use the shirt itself, since I really like that shirt, and likely won’t wear the Anarchy tank very often…) I think that I got the four-way black stretch knit from my former teacher, which means it would have been free to me. It may also have been bought for another project.

Construction

Construction was super easy… I sewed the shoulder seams and side seams, and then got some four-way stretch wet-look fabric (which I use for a lot of my t-shirt refashions) to use as a binding. I cut strips, fold those strips in half right-side-out, sew the strips raw edge together to the right side of the tank tops along the arm holes and neckline, then turn the seam allowance to the inside of the garment and top-stitch with a twin-needle.

Sewing folded wet-look spandex raw edges together on the edge of my tank top. This will bind the edge.

Sewing folded wet-look spandex raw edges together on the edge of my tank top

Twin needle stitching has two lines of straight stitching on the right side, and a zig-zag stitch on the reverse, so it has a little bit of stretch to it, while appearing like professional coverstitch stitching on the right side.

top-stitching the armhole binding on my tank top using a twin-needle.

top-stitching the armhole binding on my tank top using a twin-needle.

I used the same twin needle stitching on the hem, folding the hem in place, pinning it (I could have pressed it or basted it too) and then using the twin needle to stitch it in place.

Hemming my tank top using a twin needle. This replicates a cover stitch - usually reserved for manufactured garments.

Hemming my tank top using a twin needle.

Fabric painting

For the Anarchy symbol, I looked at the video to see the general shape of the “A” shape. I noticed that the horizontal line was only on the right side of the “A”, and the top of the “A” didn’t go outside of the circle, while the bottom legs of the letter did go outside of the circle.

Anarchy symbol marked in chalk on my tank top.

Anarchy symbol marked in chalk on my tank top.

I used two rolls of tape (masking and painters.. lol) to get the inner and outer circle, then measured the width of the ring, and used that measurement to make the “A”. I drew this in chalk on the left side of the shirt (like in the video).

Using Tulip Puffy paint to draw the outline of the Anarchy symbol on my "smells like teen spirit" cheerleader tank top.

Using Tulip Puffy paint to draw the outline of the Anarchy symbol

I put a box lid wrapped in a plastic bag inside the tank top, and traced the chalk outline with Tulip brand Puffy paint. I’ve used this before, and found that it has really good coverage, and lasts through many washings before needing touch-ups, so I figured it would work well for this project too.

I filled in the Anarchy symbol with Tulip Puffy paint

I filled in the Anarchy symbol with Tulip Puffy paint

Once the outline was done, I waited a few minutes, and then filled in the outline.

The paint takes about 4 hours to totally dry according to the instructions, (though it’s 72 hours before they recommend washing) but I let it dry overnight. Then… to the steam iron!

Steam makes the paint “puff” up. The puffed paint also has a matte finish. In retrospect, I actually really like the shiny finish, but the matte is nice too.

I paired the tank top with a black latex circle skirt (my second choice would have been the black pleather/pvc circle skirt from Torrid, or my pleated black skirt), a black pvc underbust corset, and a pair of faux Doc Martin boots.

Selfie wearing the "anarchy" tank top I made for a "smells like teen spirit" inspired costume.

Selfie wearing the “anarchy” tank top I made for a “smells like teen spirit” inspired costume.

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