Friday, March 18

Shirtlinks 3/18/2011

by Barbara Cliffe

Here’s what we saw in our most recent glance around the t-shirt-osphere:

When we were first introduced to augmented reality, we had a hard time figuring out how much use a holographic Will.I.Am or faux 3D pie chart would be in our everyday lives. But put it on a t-shirt? SOLD. Researchers at Cambridge University developed a new interactive app called Popcode and one of the coolest ways to use it is on t-shirts. Fast Company has a round up of some of the interesting projects that have already come out: a robot shirt with working “gears” and an interactive puzzle shirt.




The clever fellows behind the FauvelKhan design firm have come up with another way to play with your shirt. Well, on your shirt, really. They received the “bootstrap” award at this year’s SXSW for their interactive AiR Guitar t-shirt. The shirt lets you use your webcam to visit their site and rock out (virtually). It’s like Rock Band, but without all the annoying buttons! (via BBC News)

Think fake rock is lame, but tiny toy guitars are boss? ThinkGeek has you covered. Famous for turning their genius April Fool’s Day jokes into actual products, they’ve got a shirt guaranteed* to turn you into a miniature Springsteen or Van Halen. Their Electronic Rock guitar T-Shirt comes with fully playable guitar built in and an itty-bitty amp. Never ones to miss a joke, yes, it goes to 11. (Snarky Blogger's Note: If Barbara ever made it over to the main site, she would have known that Scott took video of this shirt in action about a year ago at Toy Fair. Just sayin', Barbara.) If your friends get jealous, they can join in with the Drum Kit Shirt or the Synthesizer Shirt. Hey, at least you’ll have each other.

So what do you think? Would you ever wear an interactive t-shirt?

Photo by Flickr user whartonds Used under a Creative Commons License

*They do not guarantee this at all.

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Friday, March 04

Gimme That Fold-Time Religion: T-Shirt Folding Theory

by Barbara Cliffe

The appropriate method for folding and storing your t-shirts is a deeply personal, highly sensitive subject. Forget politics or religion, if you really want to get a hot debate going, ask someone where they keep their t-shirts. On hangers in a closet? Folded in a dresser drawer? Wadded up under the bed? Each method has its devotees, who will champion their noble cause under the most dire of circumstances. This blog post is not for them.

This post is for the folks who are open to new ideas in the wild world of t-shirt storage. Let’s start with folding. By now, you’ve probably already heard about the super fast Japanese t-shirt folding trick. Another extremely quick option is the t-shirt folding machine, which is sort of like what we use in our warehouse (warning: that link goes to a hilarious infomercial). If you’re crafty, you can follow some pretty simple instructions to make your own t-shirt folder. If you’re really crafty, you can make a robot do all the work.

Once you’ve tackled the task of folding a massive pile of t-shirts, where do you put them? Those of us with limited closet space often opt for the drawer, but this can be annoying when you have to dig through a pile of shirts to get to the one you want. Earlier this year Apartment Therapy posted about filing t-shirts in a drawer to keep them organized. We think it’s a pretty nifty technique if you’ve got enough shirts to fill the space. If you’re really short on space, you could try rolling your t-shirts, like you would to pack them in a suitcase. Standing on end, they’d look pretty cool, and it’s the best way to maximize your available storage.

So where do you keep your t-shirts? Do you do any fancy folding or have a creative storage idea to share?

Photo: Laundry Day – looks familiar! by Flickr user antwerpenR
Used under a Creative Commons License

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Friday, February 25

Shirtlinks 2/25/2011

Here’s what we saw in our most recent glance around the t-shirt-osphere:

If you’re like us, when you think of Mickey Mouse you think "angry graffiti artist". Thankfully Disney’s merchandising folks have their finger on the pulse of what’s “crunk” and given us some totally in your face shirt designs. Poochy would be proud.
(Via Cartoon Brew)

SAY Media asked “Who are the people that shape our opinions?” and turned to 10 experts in 10 categories to find their answer. The SAY 100 is a thoughtfully assembled group of curators, who bring us the best of the internet and what’s happening now. We thought the design and style categories would be right up your alley since we follow many of these blogs daily. Do you think they picked a winning group of experts?

Talented shirt designer Jimiyo offers this blog post entitled How to Deal with Trolls. Wise advice for anyone on the Internet, but especially helpful for artists who put themselves out there week in and week out.
(Via Jimiyo)

Did you know about Shirt.What? Woot community member Bluchez created a site that has an archive of every shirt.woot derby entry, theme, and artist. It also has a leader-board that keeps track of various stats.

And be sure to check out this week’s Best Loser winners, courtesy of Shirt.Woot regular thatrobert.

What sites are burning up your scroll wheel lately?

Photo: Fremont Troll by Flickr user angela n.
Used under a Creative Commons License

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Friday, February 18

Shirtlinks 2/18/2011

by Barbara Cliffe

Here's what we saw in our most recent glance around the t-shirt-osphere:

Shirt designer Kari Fry shows you how to turn a t-shirt shirt into hangable art. If, like us, you have more t-shirts than you can possibly fit into your closet, Miss Kari has a helpful tutorial that'll have you decking out your home in style. As long as you choose shirts you haven't covered in a layer of spaghetti sauce, that is.
(via Compete-tee-tion)

We helped sponsor an episode of Put This On, from one of the greatest blogs teaching men how to make themselves presentable (pictured below). Check it out if you've ever wanted to replicate a barber-smooth shave at home or learn the secret to getting yellow stains out of your shirts' armpits.

Our friends over at Best Losers picked their favorite loveable losers from our most recent Derby. They always have an eye for the the great artwork that slips through the cracks in the cutthroat world of the Derby. What do you think about their faves from Derby #186: Oddball?

We were saddened by the news that Emptees will be shutting down on March 1st. Emptees has always been a great resource for us and for our designers. It's been the home of many of our greatest discoveries. We wish the Big Cartel folks the best of luck in their future ventures, and can't help but wonder what the next great portfolio site will be. Some say Band Job will pick up the slack. Artists, wherever you're relocating, let us know.

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Thursday, July 24

Shirt.Woot Partaay: The Out-Of-Towner's Guide

by Barbara Cliffe

For our Shirt.Wooters traveling to our birthday Shirt.Woot Tee Party this weekend from far-away lands like Belleville, Festus, or Washington D.C., we offer this humble guide to our fair city. Hope you enjoy it!


In case it’s been a while since you’ve been to St. Louis, have we got a treat for you! I-64 (known affectionately as Highway 40 by the locals) is closed for a good chunk of the city. Fortunately, Google maps is on top of it, so use this map to get yourself to our party.

Places to Stay

Our favorite place to put up guests is the Cheshire Lodge, which offers a taste of Jollye Olde England right across the street from the World’s Largest Amoco Sign.

If you’re not into wacky theme rooms and decorative suits of armor, you might try the more upscale Chase Park Plaza. It’s stylish, modern, and home to a couple of nice bars and restaurants as well. Ask for a room with a view of the park.

For a more nostalgic experience, you could try out any number of creepy old motels along Route 66. The Coral Courts have sadly moved on to greener pastures, but there’s still several other lodging options along the Watson/Chippewa streets that once made up this historic byway. Look for neon signs and boasts of “Air-Conditioning”.

Other Points of Interest

St. Louis is home to many delightful attractions, so many in fact, that we had to narrow it down to just the free stuff. We don’t know what this says about our city, but we’re either thrifty or spoiled, and there’s a lot more free stuff where this came from.

Grant’s Farm is one of our favorite local attractions. It’s weird and wonderful; containing a large animal preserve, Ulysses S. Grant’s cabin, a vast collection of carriages, a mechanical band, and a German style Biergarten complete with free Anheuser-Busch samples.

Currently, we’ve got two complimentary brewery tours. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery and Schlafly Bottleworks offer guided tours of their establishments, complete with free samples of their wares.

Dedicated to art and free for all, the Saint Louis Art Museum not only has an extensive collection of German modern art, mummies, a haunted African effigy, and a huge stainless steel tree; but is also home to one of the nicest views in the whole city, looking over Art Hill and down to the Grand Basin. This is also the place to get your fill of Degas, Picasso, van Gogh, and Monet.

The world-class Saint Louis Zoo houses tons of animals (quite literally) from penguins to hippos in state-of-the-art environments designed to keep the animals happy and get you up close to their habitat. Currently the zoo has a baby elephant, a baby giraffe, a bird-eating tarantula, and a bald chimpanzee. There’s also a miniature train that you can ride around the park!

For the morning after the party, we suggest Soulard Market, the best place in town to see real St. Louisans in their natural habitat, plus there are those tiny little donuts for breakfast.

We can’t forget the Arch, of course. A mighty minimalist sculpture overlooking the Mississippi river, and probably the only thing most folks know about our city. There’s also the museum under the Arch, which is free (although rides up the Arch to peer out of dangerously precarious windows are not). Westward Expansion! Canoes and stuff! Taxidermied buffalo!

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Wednesday, July 16

This Week in Shirt: T-Shirt Survival Techniques

by Barbara Cliffe

Much like Michael Scott in Episode 411 of The Office, we’re huge fans of Les Stroud’s series, Survivorman. It’s really crazy and kind of inspiring to watch him wander around alone in the harshest possible environments, like the Arctic Circle or Sahara Desert, making water from his own urine and eating weird bugs. (Apparently, a big part of survival is the ability to suppress your gag reflex.)

If you’re ever stranded in the wilderness and find yourself in a survival situation, you probably won’t have any of the things you’re supposed to carry with you at all times: a Swiss army knife, flint, iodine tablets, a large-brimmed hat, a helicopter. But you probably will be wearing a t-shirt. With the right know-how and this handy guide, your t-shirt is at least as good as a large-brimmed hat.

Here are our top ten ideas for T-Shirt Survival Techniques. Oh, you should probably remember, we’re not survival experts here. We work at the internet, where the most dangerous aspect of our day is the potential for getting Rick Rolled. Use any of these techniques at your own risk, or better yet, not at all.

  • Tie it to a stick and wave it in the air to attract the attention of a rescue squad.
  • Rip off the bottom inch and fray it to use as kindling for a fire.
  • Use as a bandage to cover open wounds.
  • Fashion it into a rudimentary sling for hurling stones at potential enemies.
  • Tie the large opening closed, tie the sleeves together and use as a sack for transporting your supplies. You can also hang this in a tree to keep your food from attracting bears.
  • Dip it in water, don’t wring it out, and take it along while you’re walking. It’ll stay wet for a while. Slurp out the moisture as necessary to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Use it to catch your lunch. It will work as a fishing net or you can dig a small but deep hole, cover it with the shirt, and pile leaves on top of the shirt to make a small-game trap.
  • Stuff it with dry leaves and grass and leave it out, far from your camp as a decoy to distract and confuse predators.
  • If it’s cool enough, you can use it to barter with hostile tribes and corrupt border guards.
  • When napping in the wilderness, wad up the shirt and put it under your head for use as a pillow. Alternately, you can use it as a hammock, if you’re extremely tiny and your shirt is extremely large.

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Friday, July 11

Shirt.Woot Partaaaay – St. Louis

by Barbara Cliffe

Who likes to rock the party? We like to rock the party. To celebrate our first birthday, Shirt.Woot is throwing a party and you’re invited. We’ve found a familiar St. Louis hot spot to host our shindig, and we couldn’t be more excited. Meet us out on the patio, under the stars, next to the koi pond, inside the big tent on Saturday, July 26th.

What can you expect?

  • Meet the Rejectorator!
  • Rock out to sweet party jamz!
  • Enjoy St. Louis’ finest cocktails!
  • Play games!
  • Win prizes!
  • Wish we gave out good prizes instead of worthless crap!
  • Swap regrettable shirt purchases with others of similar size!

What can’t you expect?

  • Convincing the Rejectorator to reconsider your failed Derby entries.
  • Live monkeys.
  • Ponies.
  • A magician.
  • Clowns and/or mimes.
  • Polka.
  • Crashing at our place.

We’ll let you in on more info as the party gets closer, so check back to find out all the juicy details. We’re really thrilled to be turning a year old, and couldn’t think of any nicer way to celebrate than with you, our rabid adoring fans. See you there, k? We’ll be the ones with the shirts.

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Wednesday, July 09

This Week in Shirt: Where You Keep Your Ideas

by Barbara Cliffe

If your elaborate system of scribbling down your thoughts on bar napkins, gum wrappers or the inside of your palm hasn’t worked out as well as you’d planned, perhaps it is time to reconsider where you keep your ideas. Maybe it’s time to branch out into something a little more self-contained, something with bound pages and a proper spine… at least until they figure out better design programs on the iPhone or some sort of direct brain to Photoshop mind meld.

I’ve always loved a sketchbook. It’s a little less sappy than a diary, not as formal as a travel journal and a great means to spend the time on public transport while looking busy enough not to be bothered by fellow passengers. Beisdes keeping my own book of drawings, snippets torn from magazines and paint samples (what, everybody does that, right?); I also love to look through other people’s sketchbooks. The Moleskinerie photo pool [sometimes NSFW] allows folks to post their own sketches and browse through shared designs. The quality certainly varies, but these fans of the ubiquitous black book allow you to peer into their projects, doodles and daydreams.

Ted McGrath, recently named one of Print Magazine’s New Visual Artists for 2008, invites visitors to his website to page through his sketchbooks, complete with vibrant line work and ragged edges. You can also check out some of his finished design work (like the awesome sketched-over fashion spreads of Ralph Fiennes for Esquire Russia) and spot the final application of some of those early, rough ideas.

If you’re truly a D.I.Y. enthusiast, even keeping a sketchbook may not be enough for you. You’ll probably want to build your own. If you’re looking for something super-portable and easy to make, you might try one of these playing card notebooks. There’s two versions outlined, with variations for skill level and desired permanence of the book. You can add or subtract as many pages as you’d like, so you never have to feel guilty about not finshing one of those 100 page monsters from a big box store.

Of course, if you’re a dedicated pen on palm type, you might try these temporary tattoos. At least then you’ll have some straight lines to work with.

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Thursday, June 26

This Week in Shirt: Design It Yourself

by Barbara Cliffe

Sick of cookie-cutter CD packaging? Tired of standard stationery? Bored with bland wallpaper, websites, throw pillows, or even (gasp) t-shirts? If you’re looking for a way to break out of the mass-manufactured marketplace, try joining the growing movement of designers who insist you can design it yourself.

Co-authored by Ellen Lupton, the director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s MFA Graphic Design program, and her graduate students, D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself is a terrific primer for the new to DIY crowd, and a compact resource of inspiration and information for even the craftiest folks. Filled with images, diagrams and final products, this book has something exciting and manageable for any skill level.

Broken down into sections such as Basic Design, Books, Business Cards, Flyers and Gifts; D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself lets you start to consider the things around you that you use everyday and determine if there’s a way that you can make them more personal, more functional, more fun. Not only are there many projects outlined in the book, there’s also interviews with artists and designers. Working designers describe their creative process, their sources of inspiration and what excites them about putting their personal stamp on a project.

Even if you don’t have the resources to machine embroider tote bags or the time to produce your own zine, D.I.Y.: Design It Yourself has ideas that you can use. The next time your cat gets lost or you outgrow an old shirt, you just might think twice about that opportunity to get your own thoughts, ideas and inspiration out there into the world.

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Thursday, June 19

This Week in Shirt: Vigilante Design Justice

by Barbara Cliffe

In a world of uncertain grammar, in a time of desktop publishing, typos and bad design threaten our very visual existence. At every turn we are faced with glaring examples of misplaced apostrophes and overused stock photography. Our video games pass the abuse of language on to the next generation, our warning signs are full of nonsensical information, and even our somber remembrances are mocked by errors carved into stone. When everyone has access to design programs bad things can happen [potentially NSFW]. In the hands of non-professionals, design can be harmful to a brand or even the unsuspecting public [also, potentially NSFW]. During this reign of gruesome visual onslaught, to whom can we turn? What can we do to stop it?

In an effort to quell the raging storm of bad design, we can turn to the Design Police for their convenient, downloadable PDF of admonishing red flags. Print these out on sticker paper and hit the town, reprimanding evildoers for high crimes against communicative, logical and interesting design. With warnings such as, “Turn off the CAPS LOCK” and “Microsoft Word is not a design tool,” these sharp and witty stickers get the point across quickly. If only I had these in my former career as a graphic design instructor.

If typos are the subject of your ire, then consider becoming an honorary member of T.E.A.L., The Typo Eradication Advancement League. This team of typo-correcting vigilantes took to the road this Spring, correcting misused grammar and educating the perpetrators of the errors in their ways. Their mission? Simply ” stamp out as many typos as we can find, in public signage and other venues where innocent eyes may be befouled by vile stains on the delicate fabric of our language. We do not blame, nor chastise, the authors of these typos. It is natural for mistakes to occur; everybody will slip now and again. But slowly the once-unassailable foundations of spelling are crumbling, and the time has come for the crisis to be addressed. We believe that only through working together with vigilance and a love of correctness can we achieve the beauty of a typo-free society.”

Now you have the tools. You have a network to support you and guide you. Go forth and correct! (And if you do manage to fix anything, please post in the thread… I’d love to see your work.)

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