I absolutely love t-shirts. And any other garment made of t-shirt material—dresses, skirts, tank tops. Last year, when I started noticing all the elaborately embellished t-shirts for sale in my favorite stores and catalogs, I decided this was a grand improvement on the wardrobe basic, which I like to think one can wear anywhere and for any occasion, depending on what you wear on your bottom half.
But $80 for a ruffly tee?!? Even I don’t love t-shirts that much. And thus I started making my own embellished t-shirts with inexpensive, plain tees. I mean, isn’t the idea of an embellished shirt that it looks a bit one-of-a-kind and handmade? Who wants to pay eighty bucks for something that was put together by some machine in China?
So, my latest Etsy listings are in fact embellished tees, all hand-stitched by me (except for the actual shirt, of course—I’m working on getting to that point, but at present I am unable to sew anything but straight lines on my sewing machine, therefore neck holes are a bit of a problem…). I have decorated a rainbow of shirts with tulle, cotton fabric, and ribbons. I even ventured into the children’s department and made a few for little girls—what is more cute and girlie than pink tulle?—, and some onesies for babies. I think the necktie onesie is my favorite!
I love the process of making these—I actually pin on the tulle or ribbon or fabric, then try on the shirt to see what it looks like on a person, then I re-pin until it looks just right. I then use tiny little stitches, or in some cases decorative X stitches, to tack everything in place. This inevitably changes the final look of the design, but I like that it evolves until the last thread is tied off. Actually, I guess you could say the shirts evolve each time you wear them, as you pair them with jeans, or shorts, or skirts, blazers, cardigans. Oh, how I love functional art!
Of course I am biased, but I think they are pretty adorable, and I wear the ones I’ve made for myself all the time. Miraculously, they wash and wear very well—I made sure to try mine out for a while to make sure they wouldn’t fall apart before listing any. Check them out here, or e-mail me if you have a request for a customized shirt! More to come soon.