Saturday, March 30, 2013

4. Is it Spring yet? No? Then let's do some reverse applique...

Mad snowfalls, freezing nights and grey dismal days - no, this is not my idea of spring. Three weeks ago it was warm enough to go in a spring coat, now I have had to resort to winter woolies. Not that I hate woolies, but a change would be nice.

In anticipations of days to come I did a "small" refashion.
I had to use the quotation marks. Because isn't this what all the refashion tutorials tell you, "it only took half an hour", "it was nothing", and the like?

Well, I won't lie. This took me two days, and only because I have spring break and can sew for hours on end.

A friend of mine cleaned up her closet and I was fortunate to get some nice t-shirts. One of them had holes and it was also too short, the second was way too big.

To make a shirt that would fit just right I overlapped the two and sewed the layers together. I used machine for this step, as the purely hand stitched layers I had done in the past disintegrated too fast.

Here you see my sketchy marking lines.

I am preparing here for the reverse applique, a process where part of the top layer is cut off to reveal the color underneath.

After stitching I cut holes (as per design). At this point I was getting lazy and contemplated leaving the  design as is.

Machine sewing had taken several hours, cutting likewise, and I wasn't looking forward to hand stitching.

I am glad I did, though. It looks so much more finished now. The stitching "only" took like four re-runs of Project Runway.
I first did my layered embroidery tee-shirts in 2001/2002 when we were living in Brooklyn. It must have been in the water, because Project Alabama was starting their similarly reversed embroidery clothing around that time. Then the founder eventually sold off, went another route and became this lovely supplier of make-it-yourself layered embroidery items.

I don't have all the fancy utensils that are required by Alabama Chanin way of design.
There are lovely projects out there, I found this blogger's work very refreshing. She also works with refashioned t-shirts.
And here is a great entry by another blogger.

Doing a happy dance here which made the photo slightly out of focus. Note how the design curves towards the center, I like that very much.

Back is just plain.

and here is the inside view (when everything was finished)

 Would I do this again? Two free t-shirts into a fabulous conversation piece?? Heck yes! It was not a quickie, but the result is so worth it.


  1. That does look labor intensive. I like the stark one without the hand-stitching as well. What a wonderfully elaborate design you created.

    1. Thank you Pao. The stark one definitely has a distinctive look and could be used as is. The stitching adds softness which is not always right. I should try it some day.

  2. The AC book has been sitting on my shelf since last Christmas. I used to do a ton of applique BC (before child) and really miss it. Your shirt is lovely--the colors are so chic.

  3. Purple tends to read chic, doesn't it? Don't worry about crafts, you will get to them later, just enjoy the first years.

  4. Very cool way of upcycling. Chapeau! Thanks for the link, now I will visit your blog much more often.