Summery Tee

Summery Tee ~

I've been saving a yard of this gorgeous, hand-dyed madder fabric for just the right project. When I put together this combination, I knew I had found it. This is also a great example of something you can make at my two-day hand stitching workshop in Gig Harbor, Washington with Bellissima Art Escapes in August. We'll be going over everything ~ cutting, stenciling, and stitching ~ step by step, so really, you REALLY can make it!

This is the fitted t-shirt pattern from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design book, by Natalie Chanin. I like to make this shirt a size larger than normal, because I don't like things too clingy. The top layer of fabric is natural and the bottom layer is a hand-dyed madder. Coral or persimmon might be good substitutes if the madder isn't available.

I used DMC variegated floss #4130, Chilean sunset, to backstitch around the new leaves stenciled areas; and Coats & Clarks button craft thread in dogwood for the construction. If this project is one of your first projects, I might suggest using the running stitch instead of the backstitch. The backstitch takes three times as long as the running stitch. This shirt is worked in the negative reverse applique technique, so most of the top layer is cut away.

This is a panel before I cut away most of the top layer.

Here are a couple before and after shots of cutting the top layer away.

I wanted a little more cream in the overall design, so I stitched some Alabama eyelets and French knots into the madder background. I snipped around the added embroidered "flowers".

I experimented and appliqued a few small cut circles of natural colored fabric. I knew the cut edges would curl up when I washed it. I'm on the fence about the results. What do you think? Here's a close up after washing.

Here's a few ways I'll wear my new tee in summer and into autumn. 

Here I've paired the shirt with a single layered, unembellished fitted tank dress.

The dress is among the first garments I had made and is one of my go-to pieces. It's so comfortable and cool in the summertime.

What will you be doing to keep cool this summer?


  1. Very nice! It's amazing how many different outfits can be pulled together with one statement piece like that shirt.

  2. Yes, so many ways to wear it. I really like that it's great for every day wear, and not just reserved for special occasion. Thank you!

  3. What a great color combo!! Beautiful..

  4. Love your creativity! Thanks for the excellent descriptions and pictures. Very clear.

  5. One of the great things about Pinterest is that they resurrect older posts and bring me new sources of inspiration. I pinned this idea and subscribed to your posts.

  6. Thank goodness for Pinterest; right? Yes ~ inspiration, a wonderful planning tool, and a picture really is worth a thousand words. Thank you for pinning and subscribing!