I have a shockingly bad record with keeping t-shirts clean when eating. I cannot be trusted with spaghetti bolognese, or pizza, or anything at all droppable. Whenever anything falls off my fork en route to my mouth, it will invariably fall onto my capacious bosom, and the mark will be right there in front, for the whole world to see. So I end up with a shed-load of t-shirts which are perfectly fine except for a very noticeable stain that I haven’t been able to shift in the wash. I’ve been holding onto these t-shirts for a while now, in the hope that I can do something with them, rather than throwing them away.
This pretty minty green long-sleeved tee had a couple of grease-spots on the right breast, and the paler green was from a camisole with some other indelible mark. The nice thing was the fabric on each of them was the same sort of weight, and I thought they would work well together.
I didn’t have any specific plans in my head when I put these two together, but I’m a girly kind of a girl, so I started out by cutting some flower shapes out of the paler camisole, and positioning them on the darker tee, to see if I liked it.
I sorta kinda did, and I could have gone all out for a straightforward appliqué job. But the jersey flowers were curling up, and although I *could* have appliquéed them and they would have stayed flat, I realised I liked the idea of the petals curling- it seemed organic, natural. I thought I could sew the flowers with a bit of gather in the centre to give them a more 3-D quality. And because I have plenty of beads in my stash, I fished out some clear seed beads to add to the mix.
Up Close & Personal with those flowers
I wasn’t happy with just sewing the flowers on at the centre, especially as the jersey fabric is quite floppy. So you might just about be able to discern that I sewed along the middle of the petals as well, for stability and control. The other issue I struggled with was where to position the flowers. As far as I was concerned, they needed to be distributed in an aesthetically pleasing cascade, so long as they also covered up the grease spots! Since the spots were a bit awkwardly placed, the flower placement is probably not the formation I would have favoured, if stain-concealment hadn’t been a factor. But I think it works.
The “good as new” t-shirt in action!
My chest is big enough without needing to attach big 3-dimensional flowers to it (though I have done so in the name of belly dance costuming!), so I like that the t-shirt is still essentially flat. It’s got texture and interest, but without too much bulk.
We’ll have to wait and see how it works out after repeated washing. I’m expecting the cut edges of the jersey to get slightly unravelled, but since it contains lycra (or something lycra-ish) and it’s a knit, I’m not desperately worried about it, and a distressed look will be ok with this.
I’m thrilled that I’ve taken two t-shirts that I was never going to wear again, and made them into one that I certainly will.
And talking of bellydance costuming, the photo above was taken at the Jewel of Yorkshire bellydance festival, which I was attending in Shipley (Saltaire, to be precise) this weekend. I spent a fair amount of time chatting with a couple of costumiers, and rummaging through their wares, to see how they’d beaded them, or decorated them, or finished them, or lined them, in fact generally blagging as much inspiration as I possibly could. And it has definitely reawakened my wish to finish the pink & black costume UFO. I’ve got a show at the end of April, and I’m hoping I can get it finished in time to wear there.