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!

  7. I just started making AC patterns. My first was the swing skirt. Then the fitted tunic, fitted top (I haven't yet figured out how to put the trim on so it lays down in front like on the models). I'm so impressed with all of your makings! Are you still doing classes? In that I want others to do this with I am sharing my enthusiasm about hand sewing. Loving it!

  8. Hi Kelly~
    How exciting that you're loving hand stitching! It is quite addicting; right? It's such a pleasurable past time, while creating beautiful, useful garments. I'm no longer teaching classes, and I do miss the camaraderie of gathering with other makers (one of the reasons I wanted to teach!) If you're on Facebook, there is a wonderful community called The School of Making Stitchalong, started by AC. There's a lot of great information, sharing of ideas, and generous doses of encouragement.
    You mentioned about your trim not laying down. Does it flop forward a bit in front? If so, when you're basting your binding on, slightly stretch or gently pull the binding just a tad while pinning it on (but not so tight as to create gathers or puckering). This will create a slight tension on the fabric and keep it snug against the skin instead of flopping down. Does that make sense? I enjoy talking stitching, so if you ever have any questions, please ask. I like helping when I can.
    Thanks for visiting my blog: It's nice to meet you!

  9. Thanks for the reply Patti! Yes it is quite addicting and I am really quite taken with it. I'm going to do an intro class in my area just to create a buzz in our area for this as I never knew that hand sewing was such a thing until recently from a video that Natalie Chanin did on Craftsy. I spend my days as a handyman/management type activities, I am trying to have more time for this and yoga. Thank you for the tip on FB I did not know they had that on there. Thank you so much for the help on the binding. One thing I may have done wrong is I pinned on my binding and didn't baste (3 different garments) and yes you have it correct, they do not fit snug to my body. I am putting what you said in my book so I can try that technique to see if it works. I'm looking forward to my next fitted top, if I get it right I'd like to make a dress after I saw one of yours on your blog site. I would think that you get lots of requests to purchase as well.
    You may not be teaching classes but you're still teaching. I think it's important to pass down our skill and craft. Thank you for passing yours on.

  10. You're very welcome on the tips. Thank you for the kind words. I also started by not basting the binding, and was happy when I switched as it made the process soooo much easier than trying to sew a more complicated binding stitch amongst all those pins! Please keep me in the loop, and let me know if the "tug" technique works for you or if you have any other questions. The videos are a wonderful learning tool. You can watch again and again and really hone in on things.
    I hope to see your name pop up over on the FB group.

  11. I will look at the FB group soon. I'm actually enjoying reading so many things on your blog site. I just read about the yellow poppy dress naturally died with Golden Rod you bought in Alabama Chanin Factory and the pants pattern which totally sounded like me (I looked for the pattern at the Mercantile place link). It's probably good I couldn't find it as I have patterns here that I want to make but will pick the pants pattern up if I run across it. I'm guessing the videos you mention are on FB? I will check them out and I'll let you know about my next binding experience on the neckline.

  12. I think Natalie has a few videos on Craftsy that I was thinking of, or at least she did before Craftsy underwent a couple company changes. I"m not sure what they offer now. I've not seen any videos on FB. Some of the members of the group have wonderful blogs if you follow their links. There's always questions being asked and lots of spot on answers. It's a very sharing community.