Clothing that sends Mixed Messages

Here’s an idea about how to make your clothing work a little bit harder for you. Your t-shirt can say one thing, while your sweatshirt says another, and together, they combine to say something entirely different. With a clever choice of words and the flip of a zipper, you can tune your message to suit your mood.

Raw materials

The components are simple and inexpensive: iron-on letters, a t-shirt and a sweatshirt.

I don't take orders

Iron your message onto your t-shirt first. Try it on with the sweatshirt so you can mark where the letters for the second message will go.

Binary sweatshirt

You can use pins to mark where the letters should line up. Iron on your second message. And that’s all there is to it. It was easy, so we decided to make another one.

Of course, easy is relative. The hard part is coming up with the phrases that you’re going to use. We had a lot of time on our hands to brainstorm during a middle school band concert, which is when we came up with the Binary / Ordinary / Orders combination. Another that we like has “HE’S A FLAKE” on the tee and “SHIRT” on the sweatshirt, which combine to reveal “SHE’S A FLIRT.”

(We also came up with many more that are only marginally suitable for the delicate ears of our readership, like the one with “FUNNY” on the sweatshirt– with the zipper betwixt the ‘U’ and ‘N’– and “HACK MY BUFFER” on the t-shirt.)

One helpful tool for creating mixed messages is a crossword dictionary, such as this one. When you have two parts figured out, e.g. REST becomes RESIST, you can go look for words with the correct middle letters, SI. Our short list included BASIC, CESIUM, DESIGN, FUSION, and VISION.

Rest Resist Design

Here’s how our second one came out. The larger letters were easier to work with, especially when taking the zipper into account for kerning.

Don't be ordinaryIf you make a mixed message ensemble, we’d love to hear about it. You can post pictures in the Evil Mad Science Auxiliary on flickr, or let us know about your clever and witty messages in the comments below. And the message we’ll leave you with is “don’t be ordinary.”

6 thoughts on “Clothing that sends Mixed Messages

  1. I imagine Scrabble/Upwords cheating^H^H^H^H^H^H helping programs could be of considerable assistance, too.

    Of course, the vagaries of cloth, weather and human movement mean that, a lot of the time, you’ll be saying things like ION’T BAKE ORINARY, like a fiercely independent person with dyslexia, and confusing everyone you pass.

    This could be considered a feature rather than a bug, though.

    1. Well, I’ve seen "I don’t bake ordinary" which works just fine for me, so I’m going to call it a feature. Now you just have to come up with a message that makes even more (understandable) messages depending on how many t-shirt letters are visible. Actually, the amount of space open can be restricted by partially zipping your zipper, so it’s not that much of a problem.

  2. This concept needs a “Name” to define it (like pallindrome, etc.)

    I thought of this idea about 30 years ago. I put it onto a t-shirt for my “public speaking” class presentation. It caused quite a stir (back then…)

    My version of this concept used two different type sizes to offer a “double” message (or a message contained within another message.

    Here it is:

            Sxxist      (replace 'xx' with 'EX' - it thinks my post is Spam)
  3. absitively posolutely winnaful!
    cross the slogan tshirt with the mad fold-in
    what youve made s friggin bootifill
    now zippers reveal spliced grafitti
    good god lenore
    youve invented [drumroll please]

  4. Velcro anyone? I would think this could help keeping the bits in place. Alternatively, magnets. With magnets you couldn’t even tell a difference when you weren’t wearing both at the same time.

    Or you could sew them together, and then when you zip the jacket up it crumples the tshirt slightly.

    Are these ideas any good? :)

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