Abby's Flower Stencil T-Shirt

There are lots of tiny flowers and bits in Alabama Chanin's Abby's Flower stencil, making it somewhat tricky to work with, but I love it! The blossoms seem to float and hover about, like petals in the wind. Inspired by the beautiful couture dresses with appliqued organza butterflies and flowers, edges free-floating, I used the Abby's Flower stencil in conjunction with the Negative Reverse Applique technique to achieve these flowing edges.

I wanted the top layer to be white, so I didn't want to paint the stencil on. I used a gray Sharpie to outline the elements. I like the way it accentuates and crisps up the pattern shapes. It reminds me of the inked and quilted method.

Usually I try to stitch around all the edges of the elements, but there were so many smaller pieces that I ended up running stitches up the middle of some elements or hatch stitching some parts. I used a creamy colored floss to put French knots in the middles of some flowers.

After completing the stitching and cutting away all the negative space, I was stumped as to what color to use for the binding. I posed the question to the fun and helpful Alabama Chanin group on Facebook, The School of Making Stitchalong. If you haven't discovered this group yet, please look them up! There is a wealth of knowledge, wonderful conversations, feedback, and positive support from all the participants in this group.

White, ocher, suede, faded, or couched faded? I practically changed my mind with each comment. The overwhelming support was for the tone on tone, suede. My friend had the idea of suede trim, rosebud stitch, and white French knots. I stitched up the suede trim with the rosebud stitch.

I still need to get my book out to refresh my memory and get started.

Here's the neckline completely tone on tone. I liked it, was about to get out my white floss for French knots, then suddenly had the idea of using the beautiful cotton gauze tape in ecru that I had in my stash.

I used a very large needle and simply slipped it underneath the rosebud stitching. I'm not sure how it will launder, but if it's a fail, the ribbon can easily be pulled out and replaced. Also, this ribbon does not stretch, so don't try this in an area that you need to have stretch!

I may go in and put the suede binding on the hem. I wouldn't put the ribbon on that, though. I think it may cut me in half too much, shortening my frame up even more. For now, I'll wear this top with jeans, my basic suede pants and skirt, and over cream and white dresses. I may layer it up over a long-sleeved white T-shirt during the cold weather. This skirt would also be nice.

I'm happy with the little extra pop the ribbon gives, without adding extra busyness and fuss. If the shirt were plain, it might look cute to leave long tails on the ribbon and tie it with a knot or tiny bow somewhere along the neckline. I'll let you know how the ribbon fares in the wash with future updates.


  1. Oh, beautiful! You have some new techniques to try. Thank you, Elsie

    1. Thank you, Elsie. Please let me know if you decide to give it a try!