Tag Archives: tops

The Moon Made Me Do It

For my latest project, I began with two organic cotton American Apparel T-shirts that my husband no longer wore after updating his business name and logo. I’d saved them with plans to dye them, but decided I liked the color for now. It’s similar to an old favorite J. Crew top that lost it’s life the same day as my toddlers first ER visit last spring, but that’s a different story…(the final images are true to color, it’s more mauve)

09-12-16 original tee


The idea of thread sketching my own image and text onto a tee has been marinating for a while but when I saw a T-shirt with a large moon printed on the front, the idea of using all the phases in a row along with a related quote came to me and I was off and running. Here are a couple images I gathered for this project. When I saw the quote “The moon made me do it” I knew that was the one, so funny…so true, haha!

1, 2, 3



I used the same pattern as my last two racerback tanks which was hand drafted based upon a shirt in my closet. Using raw edge applique and the scraps left from cutting out the tank, I patched over the front and back logos as well as a few bleach spots. I used french seams at the shoulders and side seams, then 1/2″ binding to finish the edges. Pretty easy, especially since this is my third version. I don’t have a pattern for the binding but based upon the success of my first and epic fail on my second, I was able to compare the stretch of this fabric to the other two and make an accurate guess. I think it came out perfect, although it was a bit stretched at the front neck by the time I took photos. #nursingmomproblems

09-12-16 tank back

To create the image on the front and the quote on the back, I used water soluble interfacing, freezer paper, a circle stencil and free motion sewing. For the quote patch on the back, I also used a piece of heavy weight stabilizer to keep the fabric sturdy enough for all the stitching. It was trimmed down to size after the letters were stitched. Once the shirt was complete, I threw it in the wash to remove the remaining interfacing. I snapped a few step by step photos as I worked:

09-12-16 applique 1
09-12-16 applique 3
09-12-16 applique 409-12-16 applique 5
09-12-16 applique 609-12-16 applique 709-12-16 applique 809-12-16 applique 9

I tweaked my pattern a little to bring the armholes up to hide my bra, which is great because my other two require cute bralettes that will intentionally peek out a bit and that’s not always practical. I’ve worn it a few times already and love it, but I’m still considering going back with darker thread to accentuate the moon images more. Maybe with hand stitches like my 3rd inspiration image.

09-16-16 moon shirt front09-16-16 moon shirt back

This was a really exciting project for me because it was the first time I combined my art techniques with garment sewing to create a truly functional piece of wearable art. The cherry on top was accomplishing that with recycled fabrics that may have otherwise ended up as rags. I’m excited to delve deeper into this marriage between disciplines as I continue to create my handmade wardrobe. I know this piece is just the beginning!



Vintage Simplicity 8262

04-23-16 70's pullover blouse

Scored this 70’s sewing pattern at the local thrift shop for $0.69 a couple weeks ago and couldn’t wait to sew it up! I love all of Isabel Marant’s gorgeous versions of peasant tops and this looked like a perfect pattern to test out, learn some construction techniques from and then alter to a couple different variations for my wardrobe. I used fabric I had on hand from a bag of discards someone gave me just to test the fit, but as it turns out, it’s totally wearable. I’m not exactly sure what the fabric is, I even poked through my Fabric Identification Notebook from college in an attempt to figure it out, but it’s definitely synthetic, has a faux suede type of soft finish on the outside and I like the color. I opted for the version without the neck tie or belt and the only pattern modification I made was chopping the sleeve to align straight up from the side seam.

05-16-16 Vintage Simplicity 8262 front

I made a couple of mistakes. First I forgot to trim the seam allowance when sewing french seams and had to trim off a notch that ended up poking through to the right side. Then I decided to overlock the sides and arms from front hem to back hem before sewing up the side seam and after the fact I realized binding would have looked much nicer, especially where the loose fit of the sleeve allows it to show from the outside at certain angles. Since my muslin ended up being a worthy addition to my closet, I’m planning on tearing out the side, armscye and front facing seams to bind those last edges and add embroidery or embellishment of some sort. You can see what I mean here.

05-16-16 Vintage Simplicity 8262 inside

And last but not least, the back. On a future version I think I’ll remove some gathering ease from the back and concentrate the gathers at the center but I’ve already worn this as is and like it enough to leave that part alone. Overall I’m happy with the length, fit and shape of the hem. It’s easy to throw on, casual and comfortable but makes me feel more pulled together than a basic tee.

05-16-16 Vintage Simplicity 8262 back

I’m really interested in blending my artwork with fashion, bringing slow textiles and slow style together so I’d say this top is far from complete but a great blank canvas for further exploration and expression. I also plan to make another version where the pattern pieces are cut, printed and embellished before final construction but I’m hoping to find something to upcycle for the base fabric so I’m not ready to begin yet.

When I relaunched the blog, I was equally excited about all my sewing / learning endeavors but I’ve quickly become obsessed with making clothes and already have 4 more patterns to test. I’m really looking forward to printing, dying and embellishing to create my own textiles, making a garment and then using the scraps for stuffies and cloth dolls. I think when it comes full circle like that the inspiration will strike. In the meantime, my slow style series might see a little more action than the others, but we’ll see.

Cat Shirt Refashion

Back with my first refashion of the series. There’s something so good about these tee shirts, but also so bad, am I right? Well, I saw a gray eagle version transformed into something wearable, cool even, at a little boutique downtown…for $78!!! I’m not cheap if something is well made and will get lots of mileage, but for a tee shirt refashion when I know how to thrift like a pro and sew? Nope. Picked up this gem a week later for $1 in all of it’s thick cotton glory. I’m a cat person for life (as is my husband) so YES!


It was boxy, had a terrible drape, and was totally unflattering, but it’s a great color with a nice subtle tie dye effect and unique playful image. This cat deserves at least 2 lives (haha, nerd alert!)

Cat Shirt Before

Initial Design:

The original plan was to tailor the tee down to a nice fit and flare racerback tank and finish the edges with lace. I chose this crochet lace from my stash but thought maybe it was too cute paired with the cat so I dyed it dark gray to tone it down. Then I top stitched it onto the raw edge which stretched the neck out and made it unwearable. Not only that, the inside wasn’t finished to my liking so I tore it out was back to the drawing board. (I never snapped a photo of the gray, but you can get the idea here)

Cat Shirt First Design


I ended up encasing the raw edges with some gray jersey I had in my stash. Scrap from the removed sleeves was used to add a little extra flare to the side seams. Darts and side seams are all finished with my serger so on the inside it looks pretty darn close to RTW, except the top stitching on the encasing didn’t land perfectly on the inside ditch all the way around. Something that would have made this perfectionist quite happy, but overall it’s very nicely finished and should hold up to lots of wash and wear.

Cat Shirt After

I’ve already worn this a half a dozen times and received compliments every single time. I got called a nerd once (endearingly by a friend), but that only made me love it more! In terms of slow fashion, something that excites me about this shirt is to see it go from thick heavy cotton to that authentic perfectly worn look over time. A look only achieved through dedicated wear of a beloved item. I can see this someday with beautiful hand stitched mending and patches, filmy and comfy as pajamas…but these things will come with time. Right now I love it just as is.

I plan to get myself in front of the camera to share how I’m mixing and matching my new pieces, but this week I only got as far as realizing that we do in fact own a tri-pod before switching my focus to teeny tiny dressmaking. That said, there’s a good chance some sweet little dolls will make their appearance before I do 🙂