vintage cheer gear

For The Cheerios attending cheer camp last week, Saucy and Loopy fashioned cheer gear inspired by vintage rock tees. A quick trip to Superstore netted some kelly green cotton tees at a great markdown price.

Following some simple instructions found online and some tips from Supermom, a stencil was cut using shelf liner. Its adhesive backing makes the job way easy. You can also use butcher paper. Saucy found the megaphone online, downloaded the clipart and enlarged it before printing a master stencil on cardstock. The master stencil was used to cut an adhesive stencil for each shirt. When searching for clipart for this purpose, look for an image that is bold and not too detailed... you don't want to spend hours with your cutting knife.

Place the stencil on your garment. If you are doing one-of-a-kind work, just eyeball the placement. That's the beauty of distressed, vintage looking tees. Nobody expects them to be exactly the same. There's room for some error.

Check out the inside of the shirt. There's a piece of cardboard in there. It protects the back and inside of the garment during the next step.

In a spray bottle, mix household bleach one part to one part water. Cover any part of the garment that you do not want to alter. Using a fine mist, from high up, lightly spray the exposed cloth with the bleach mixture. Avoid soaking... soaking the material will lead to bleeding. If you want a little bleeding for effect then spray generously. Otherwise, a light mist from up above will do the trick.

For these shirts, a light mist from up above was used on the megaphone and then the adhesive was removed quite quickly. To create the distressed effect, a light spray was added all across the front. As a finishing touch, each megaphone was dazzled with a single Swarovski crystal.

The shirt was washed and machine dried before bleaching out the word rah!, that was a completely separate process. You can see here that the bleach was left on longer, achieving almost a completely white effect.

To add to the vintage, worn out look, yellow paint was splattered across the front of each tee lightly with a dry brush/splatter technique. Any fabric paint or acrylic pigment will work. Just like getting paint on your work clothes, the chances of it washing off are almost nil.

For a final embellishment, Loopy added a folded ribbon to the bottom hem of each shirt... just like one of her designer shirts has. She stitched them in place with a simple red x. Red thread is cute and unexpected, don't you think?

The final product. Times eight. This is where Saucy would usually show you a picture of The Cheerios gathered around wearing their tees at camp... but no. Do you want to know why?

In keeping with Saucy's latest theme of dissatisfaction, she pulled The Cheerios out of camp after one day. Why? Randomness + disorganization leads to the potential for injury. Or worse, not having any fun and then getting injured.

Saucy's all about cheerleading being very sporty and all that... if she were being honest with you she'd classify it as an activity with definite leanings towards being a sport but not completely a sport in the same way sports are sports. By this, she means that in a regular sport (she means basketball or football) where the athletes train and condition before they perform and aside from their practice time, cheerleaders need to practice and condition a little differently. And she knows that as a cheer coach she might take a little heat for saying this, but she's been around a while and has been coaching for about twenty years so she's entitled to this opinion.

So what is Saucy saying here? Cheerleaders work pretty hard, it's true. There's a fair bit of endurance involved, especially for the girls who lift, tumble and fly. Everyone dances and jumps so it involves at least as much effort as a strenuous dance class. Dancers out there, help Saucy out: it can be grueling. But running up and down the stairs a bunch of times at the start of the day and again at the end of the day is just going to tire someone out too much if they are facing a six hour day of cheering. And running up the stairs with a partner on their back? That's silly. Saucy is a firm believer in a solid warmup and stretch and then getting down to business so people get a good workout in at practice and they aren't so tired from doing situps and pushups that they could drop their friends on their faces. Because if you're coaching them right, they'll tire out at practice well enough without running laps. If you have a plan and use your time wisely, you'll tire them out while they're doing actual cheerleading things like tumbling and stunting.

Long story short, Saucy ascertained that this particular cheer camp wasn't very well planned and time was being filled conditioning. And guess what? Cheerleaders aren't really the kinds of girls that are hard-core into conditioning, or they'd be playing basketball. There, she said it. They will work as hard as the basketball girls in the long run for a two minute performance rather than a forty minute game but let's face it: it's also about being synchronized and having great expressions on your face and delivering a performance. So it's sporty, but different than a sport.

So after a day of running on the track, running back and forth on the mats and running up and down the stairs, Saucy said "enough" and took The Cheerios home. It was fairly apparent that there wasn't any material to be taught and no dance moves were forthcoming. Their parents paid good money for them to learn some skills, not run around like chickens with their heads cut off. It wasn't an easy decision because she's pretty aware that she could be sending the "QUIT" signal to them and that's not cool. But they can learn when to persevere and when something's not right, right?


froggy said...


Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia said...

Yeah, you are RIGHT! I hate that some camps do this to the kids. I know of some camps that basically have TV time. Yeah, no thank you. They can do that at home.
Very brave of you to take that step.

Kristy said...

Good for you Saucy! Cheer camp is supposed to be fun and you should leave feeling a sense of acccomplishment with learning new dance moves, practising new stunts and just simply building team spirit! You shouldn't leave feeling utterly exhausted!

Vanessa said...

First of all i LOVE the shirts! SIMPLY AMAZING!

Secondly, I agree with you for taking them out of the camp if their weren't any real benefits. I'm pretty hard on my girls when it comes to team fitness levels, however I know when enough is enough. If their smiles have faded and injuries happen that's a BAD sign and reflects poorly on the organizers. Hopefully they take it as a learning experience and become better for it.

Tracey @ BellaSkyDesigns said...

those are the cutest t-shirts ev-ah!

I am so inspired to make one for my girls! they are not cheerios, they are 8 & we are slackers so we haven't signed them up for anything, rather we have signed them up for years of telling therapists how neglectful we were for not signing them up for anything!

But I digress.....

love the shirts or as saucy says
luuuurrrvvve the shirts!

Tina S said...

Thank goodness!!! Finally a thoughtful and reasonable look at cheer as a sport. I totally agree. Not only that, the shirts are darling. I'm thinking of people who must have one now!

Buddy's Mom said...

Bravo Saucy! I wish more adults would stand up and say "enough is enough". When did all children's activities become so intense?

devin said...

i love these t-shirts! they are so vintage and adorable...i'm sure all the girls will love them!

alittlebitofscrap said...

Love the tips on the T! Hello that's fabulous! I'm gonna be passin' that along :)

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Adorable vintage-look t's! Amen to everything you say about cheerleading and camps. My daughter was an NCA All-American cheerleader for 3 yrs. and I would have absolutely FLIPPED myself (and no, I can't tumble) if she had been required to do that type of silly conditioning. Cheerleading is definitely a big-time sport now and I still love watching the competitions on ESPN! I'm sure your Cheerios ROCK!

Big TX Hugs,
Angelic Accents

Jerri-Lea said...

Those turned out great!!! CJ wants desperately to do cheerleading but I am struggling with finding somewhere that would be age appropriate, fun and able to trust my daughter with the instructors/ coaches. Any thoughts? We need a visit!! Only 8 more sleeps until I'm back at WORK!! Ahhhhh

Crista said...

You made the right choice! Conditioning has its place for sure, done properly (and regularly) it will reduce the risk of injury to athletes. However, there is a time and a place for it. For the past 4 years my daughter has been an all star cheerleader (in Ontario and Alberta) in high quality programs with highly certified coaches... practice ALWAYS follows the same pattern. After warm up and stretches they stunt - the athletes have the MOST amount of engergy at this point! Then they do jumps, motions, tumbling, routine run throughs etc. The END of practice is for conditioning and at no point have I ever watched them carry each other or do anything at all risky. That is just plain silly. Good for you for making the tough decision to pull them.

Absolutely LOVE the T-shirts. If you are looking for a fundraiser for your team I can bet you would be able to make shirts to sell at School!

J.M.B. said...

My daughter (an all star cheerleader) loves these, or should I say lurrves! We live in Georgia. I'm going to try to make the same for her team but finding plain tees is sometimes hard. Their colors are black, pink and white so would you start with a black tee?

And the conditioning is unnecessary like that! I agree with Crista. A nice stretch warmup to prevent injury and a solid stunt session is a good start. Plus, they'll pay attention at the start for that you don't have to tire out their brains too. They need to be on their games to stunt safely. We try to do a little conditioning twice a week because we want to keep reminding the teenagers they need a work ethic to be successful and conditioning prevents injuries but not if it's overdone. Way to go!

Saucy said...

Hi there,

If you are making black, white and pink tees I'd start with the pink tee... is it hot pink or magenta? Bleaching out a black tee might be sketchy, it might turn yellow instead of white so I'd test first if using a black tee. I'd be inclined to use a bright pink tee, do the bleaching and then afterwards embellish with black ribbons, buttons or a crystal - or the paint splashes.

It might be easy to find plain tees for crafting at a place like Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Good luck!

J.G. said...

I'm thinking, don't worry about the "quit" signal. Being a grown-up means recognizing that quitting is okay when it's a statement, not an excuse.

Also thinking: Saucy should be running the cheer camp, not just creating the cute practice tees.

printer business cards said...

Not bad! Thanks for sharing the tips with us.