These Girl Gang Shirts are the Best Thing to Happen to Bridesmaids Since Kristen Wiig


Plus tips for how to make them yourself

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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Anyone who’s looked at wedding pictures on the Internet is probably familiar with the overwhelming phenomenon of bridesmaids in matching things: robes, tank tops, etc. But as soon as Najva and I saw these matching “girl gang” shirts from APW reader Sara, it was all over. Here’s Sara and her girl gang out of uniform:

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In uniform:

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I KNOW. Why didn’t you think of this? Why didn’t I think of this? We wanted to know more about the awesome crew that helped Sara get ready (and get tipsy) the morning of her wedding, and being awesome, Sara even included instructions on how to DIY your own #GirlGang situation:

Shortly after I assembled my bridal party, I sent a commemorative photo to my three bridesmaids—Kendal, Tiffany, and Jen—of two women in denim “girl gang” vests that I had found a few years earlier and filed away. When Kendal suggested that we make our own girl gang shirts to get ready in the morning of the wedding, Tiffany said she’d just mastered the art of freezer paper stencils and offered to show us the ropes. The weekend before the wedding, Kendal, Tiffany and I got together at my house to make the shirts. It was fun to get together and work with our hands in that otherwise hectic week, and it’s great to have one thing from the wedding I can wear over and over.

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I know some pretty amazing, take charge, badass women—a group that goes far beyond the ladies pictured here—and the wedding process really highlighted that for me. Tiffany made the sunglasses we’re wearing in the photos, Kendal learned how to use a plasma cutter to help make marquee letters for the wedding reception, and the women in my life threw me the best shower and bachelorette I could imagine. To quote the bag I made as one of Kendal’s bridesmaid presents (and Tina Fey), “Bitches get shit done.” Making and wearing the shirts was a way to celebrate that.

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Here’s how to make your own #GirlGang shirts: (Editor’s note: we recommend listen to this while you craft.)

1.Find a typeface you like (we used the website fontmeme.com), blow it up to be the font size you want, and trace it onto the non-waxy side of freezer paper (which is different from wax paper).
2. Using an X-Acto knife, cut out your letters to turn the freezer paper into a stencil. Don’t forget to leave a connecting strip for letters like “a” with a blank space inside. If you do forget, that’s okay, because you can just fill in any gaps later.
3. Iron the freezer paper onto your shirt, waxy side down. We started with a towel between the freezer paper and the iron so the freezer paper didn’t burn. Make sure it is thoroughly stuck to the shirt or the edges of your letters will be wavy. (Pro tip: If your lines come out wavy anyway, just cover them with glitter!)

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4. Use a foam roller to apply fabric paint to your shirt. Go for coverage.
5. Wait for your paint to dry. (Soon-to-be brides don’t have a lot of spare time in the week before their wedding—or, at least, this one didn’t—so we used a hair dryer to speed up this process.)
6. Peel off the freezer paper.
7. Fill in the connecting strip on any letters that needed one.

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8. Add any additional decorations to your shirt. We used gold glitter paint.
9. Wear and enjoy! (Pro tip: Girl gang shirts pair well with bubbly.)

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Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Stephanie B.

    “Kendal learned how to use a plasma cutter to help make marquee letters for the wedding reception”

    Okay, I love these shirts so much, but I love this EVEN MORE. A plasma cutter is BADASS!

    • scw

      she’s the best!

    • Emily

      Just had to look up plasma cutting…

  • eating words

    These shirts make me wish I had a bridal party!

    • Jess

      Literally rethinking my current thought that maybe I’d just have my brother stand up with me. Because I would totally deal with finding semi-cohesive dresses in order to wear these.

    • scw

      they’d work for a bachelorette too!

  • Meg Keene

    WHUT.

  • I am huge on female friendship & solidarity between women but I think that maybe people who are not in gangs should not use that language. Especially when you are white. (Not to say that POC are automatically in gangs, but that the stigma around that term is unevenly distributed based on race.)

    Being able to make jokes about gang involvement without fearing for your reputation, respectability, or your actual life is a privilege & I don’t think it is something to make light of. There are so many other phrases that we could use.

    (I see “girl gang” stuff everywhere, not just APW, but I think it’s worth saying anyway.)

  • Nell

    Totally goes in the “would wear again” category. I think I’d wear those shirts every weekend. . .

  • tr

    Really, this goes in the “would wear again” category?
    Umm…as with all bridesmaid gift ideas, knowing your audience is key here! These are really fun, but I’m pretty sure that if I gave these to my very J. Crew-esque bridesmaids, I would be getting side eye for the next twenty years.
    I’m not saying it isn’t a cute idea, because it totally is. Just make sure to use common sense and know your people. (I know I’m preaching to the choir on that, but this is the sort of thing that I can just see making rounds on Pinterest and leading to some seriously awkward moments!)

    • scw

      they weren’t gifts, we made them together on their suggestion (as the post says). but yeah, as with every other aspect of a wedding this is definitely a know your audience thing! I don’t think any of my bridesmaids would have been happy with matching robes or tank tops, and we all actually do wear these often.

  • CT

    I loved this idea so much that I had to recreate it for my bridesmaids, but I wanted to make these as a surprise, and you lost me at freezer paper and x-acto knives…so I turned to etsy and had these much easier iron-on decals made: https://www.etsy.com/listing/277596154/bachelorette-party-shirt-bachelortte?ref=shop_home_listings. For you all you #lazygirl brides out there – you’re welcome :)

    • scw

      it’s our first anniversary today so I’m looking at these posts and saw your comment. I hope your bridesmaids like them and I’d love to see photos/hear how it goes!

  • brakell-basicinvite

    Awesome gifts for any bridal party!! SO adorable.

  • Guenevere

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/299077a518abc3745a61fe2965ef932dcd0ca78b5297b5f6e11f169114472d5d.jpg Totally did this with my girls to get ready in – looked adorable!!!

  • Emily

    omg YES! This is the absolutely perfect gift for my bridal party (maybe even the boys?)