Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Upcycled Name Your Tee

Riley's preschool chooses colors for each month, and since Riley's mom (uh... me) is very enthusiastic and spirited, Riley-girl has gotten a color-themed outfit pretty much every month.  This month's colors: black-and-white.  Black and white left me with a wealth of possibilities, but I'm very excited with what I came up with: the upcycled Name Your Tee!

I can post a tutorial on the structure of the top, too, but for now, I want to focus on the shabby chic name applique.

I decided on this design because, first of all, Riley is rocking her letters.  She can identify all 26 and is making great progress in what every letter says, too.  Not too bad for a three-and-a-half year-old, if you ask me.  Along with this letter lovin', she really likes being able to identify her name.  Thus was born the Name Your Tee top... in black and white, of course.

Two t-shirts, one that fits your child (bought or made) and one to chop
Dritz Wonder Tape
Basic sewing stuff-- rotary cutter, straight edge, sewing machine

Grab or make a t-shirt to "write" the name on.  Then grab another t-shirt in a (preferably) high contrast color.  Cut the second shirt straight off under the armpit.  Making sure to only cut through one side at a time, cut a 1/2-inch wide strip.  It may get a little dicey when you first come back to your starting point, but just work with your fabric.  It's knit, so it's workable; we're not going for perfection here, and you won't notice it in the finished product anyway.

I'm not sure how long mine ended up, but I probably went around this XL shirt 4 or 5 times.  It's better to have too much than too little!

Bust out your Wonder Tape.  If you've never used this, prepare to be amazed.  I don't put it to use too often, but boy, is it great for things like this!  It holds fabric in place (no pins needed!!), it won't gum up your needle, and it washes out in the first wash.  Sa-weet!

With your Wonder Tape, start "writing" the name on the shirt.  It can be a little wonky.  The tape won't show and will wash out later anyway.  I found it was easiest to cut off manageable size strips of tape (12 inches or so) and take the backing off both sides.  Place that; then just continue with the next strip.

 Take your strip of fabric and cover the tape.

See-- here's my fabric-ed "R" and Wonder Tape-d "iley"

Finish up the name...

My flash definitely bleached this pic out, but to sew out, I used a zig-zag stitch down the middle.  I wanted it to be a little "rough around the edges" and unfinished.  With the zig-zag stitch, the fabric will roll in a little but not totally on top of itself.

 Note to self: when photographing black fabric, roll with lint roller first.  Oh, and squint real hard and you'll see the stitching.  Focus on the "i".

Cute, right?  She's going to be the belle of the preschool black-and-white ball. :)
For good measure, the shoulder detail... to bring the top and bottom together.

Now go name your tee!

Check out the Somewhat Simple link party!

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  1. This is such a great idea! I love it, the shoulder detail is the perfect final touch!
    A few blog friends and I introduced a new challenge idea today and it would be so fun if you want to join. If you have a second, check in at to learn more, and feel free to email me if you have any questions!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  2. <3 this! thanks for sharing :)

  3. So cute. Riley and the project. :0 What a lucky little girl she is. Thanks for sharing your post on Motivated Monday at BeColorful


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