DIY: Embroidery on T-Shirts

Channeling my inner athlete with OESD’s Tula Pink Presents: The Imaginary Menagerie. The collection features fanciful animals, bold botanicals, and versatile icons. I couldn’t wait to try these designs out on some t-shirts I wanted to embroider. 

I love the look of embroidery on t-shirts. It’s a unique way to customize a wardrobe staple. The embroidery collection features fun little icons you can add to pockets and collar lines in no time. Check out the steps below to see how I made these little tees and try some of your own. 



DIY: The Ballet Wrap from T-shirt

The ballet wrap is a classic piece and can be versatile to wear. A workout top for yoga, a casual cover up post workout, or for just a top for the day. Even as a dressy occasion depending on the t-shirt you use (embellished sequins, metallic knit, etc.)

I went with a classic grey as I'm going for something I can wear with my running leggings and not look like a basic "runner" mom as I live in the Boulder, CO area. :)


Bonmarche Unveils the 10 Most Inspirational Female Fashion Icons

A lot of research exists on which women young girls and women across the United Kingdom are inspired by. However, Bonmarche, a UK fashion retailer, targets women over 45 in particular, and very few studies have been completed into their style inspirations. The company has aimed to change this and can now reveal women like Meryl Streep, Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren, and Jennifer Anniston are looked to by their target demographic for their style and lifestyle choices.
Women like Ariana Grande and Rihanna are recognized not just for their music, but also their unique style, something that many young women aim to emulate. However, what this forgets is the huge group of women who are over the age of 45, who have no desire to look like a 20-something young girl. Yet, many fashion houses completely ignore this demographic, focusing solely on the younger audience.
UK fashion retailer Bonmarche, however, offers clothing lines specifically targeting the more mature woman. To ensure their lines are relevant, they have recently completed a new study into the celebrity women that their target demographic looks up to. They surveyed several thousand women, all aged 45 and over, across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Some very interesting results were revealed.
Bonmarche also wanted to know the extent of change in style icons across different age groups. Hence, they divided their participants in three categories, being age 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and 65 and over. The first interesting element of this study was that the top 10 women in each of these categories were the same. What did change, however, was the top 4, and also the percentages of ‘votes’ associated with each of these four celebrity women. 
The top 10 celebrity style icons for women aged between 45 and 54 were revealed to be:
1. Helen Mirren, an inspiration for 19.2% of women.
2. Jennifer Anniston, an inspiration for 16.3% of women.
3. Meryl Streep, an inspiration for 14.5% of women.
4. Joanna Lumley, an inspiration for 13.5% of women.
5. Nicole Kidman, an inspiration for 10.3% of women.
6. Elle McPherson, an inspiration for 10% of women.
7. Julie Walters, an inspiration for 8.1% of women.
8. Jane McDonald, an inspiration for 5.9% of women.
9. Salma Hayek, an inspiration for 5.4% of women.
10. Ruth Langsford, an inspiration for 4.8% of women.
The same 10 women, as stated, were mentioned consistently across all age groups. Asking why these women were seen as someone to emulate, women mentioned Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep’s sophisticated style, Joanna Lumley’s uniqueness, and Jennifer Anniston’s golden tan, shining hair, and healthy lifestyle.
In category of women aged between 55 and 64, there were some small changes. The top four remained unchanged, but Helen Mirren increased her percentage of votes to 20%, whereas Jennifer Anniston dropped to 15.5%. In both this category and the 45 to 54 category, there were no differences depending on the geographical location of the women who were surveyed.
In the 65s and over, however, two big changes happened. The first was that women in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland placed Helen Mirren in first place with 28.4% of the votes. Jennifer Anniston, meanwhile, dropped to fourth position. Yet, in Scotland, the opposite happened. Anniston climbed to a firm first position with 27.8% of the votes.
According to Bonmarche’s online marketing manager: “As women grow older, their tastes and influences change, but one thing remains constant: a desire to look great”.
These results have enabled Bonmarche to develop a collection that is more relevant to their specific audience, offering clothes that are both sophisticated and ‘girl-next-door’, while also offering their customers more information on healthy living, focusing on their customers’ inner beauty as well.


DIY Corset Top

The lace up trend is a fun detail and easy update to do on an oversized/boxy t-shirt like I did into a corset top.  Try this simple tutorial on an oversized shirt, collar shirts, corsets, collars, and hems. I always have my Dritz Eyelet Pliers and eyelets on hand for projects like this. I also used their new 2-Part Eyelet Kit.


DIY Fringe Seam Tee.

Supplies: Jersey, 
Small tshirt.

My fringe sleeve/seam shirt tutorial (here) was a hit...unfortunately though, double sided fringe is a one time find. So here is a great way to get the same effect and I just used old jersey. 

DIY Below:


DIY: Embroidered Lace Chokers & Headbands.

 OESD's Embroidery Online has been my go to for designs ever since I started machine embroidery. They have any type of design you can imagine. I was browsing their website and came across these stunning Freestanding Lace Chokers & Headbands set by Mo's Art Design Studio.  Each design features intricate floral detail that are elegant enough for a wedding day and trendy enough for everyday.  The appliqu├ęs can also be great embellishments for clothing, belts, and more.

DIY steps below and see just how simple it is to create these!


DIY: Nui Shibori with Indigo

A little different than tie dye, Shibori is a Japanese method of dyeing patterns by twisting, binding, wrapping, folding, and stitching. The main dye used for this technique is Indigo because of its easy to create resist patterns on fabric. Jacquard Products makes it simple to create this ancient natural dye using their Indigo Tie Dye kit here

This Indigo Tie Dye kit has all the supplies you’ll need for a successful dye session and it has enough to create plenty of designs. It also includes tutorials on the basic techniques of shibori. You can’t go wrong as they all turn out great and the indigo blue is my favorite, can't you tell? 

You’ll also need natural fabrics. For this I used Organic Cotton Plus's white Sateen here, to date this is my favorite in the way it takes the dye. It really makes a difference in the shade of the indigo when using 100% organic/natural fabrics. My designs were much more vibrant and the resist portions were bold. They offer all types of natural fabrics from silk to knit jersey.  The fabrics are sustainably made and eco-friendly. You can read more about them here

Below I share with you my tips for a successful Indigo/Shibori session and some unique techniques that create stunning results. 

Make samples from small squares to experiment with before the final fabric. 


Have a plan: Before preparing your vat and your fabric have a plan. I use to just go with the flow but now I like to have set designs and projects in mind. It keeps things organized and then later on your not wishing you had more of a certain pattern or less of other patterns. 

Create Samples: I use test squares of 12x12 in. of the fabric I intend to dye. That way they're small enough you're not using too much fabric but large enough you can use them for projects (i.e. bandanas, pillows, zipper pouches, purses, quilts, baby booties, etc.) Especially if you have nice fabric or a project in mind you’ll want to create samples to get close to your desired results. Also keep in mind scaling for bigger patterns and how you’ll want to adjust the pattern size. This is a good time to experiment with different patterns and also test techniques you want for specific projects.  Again, it’s great to have a plan as to what you want to do with each square. Then I’ll set aside 3-4 samples for the very end that I can experiment with. 

Take notes! How long you should leave the fabric in? What fabric did you use? What binding techniques you used and the steps (I’l take photos not only for my blog but for myself). This helps especially if you’re using several different patterns…Jot down suggestions for next time or dyeing larger pieces of fabric. 

Have a project in mind: For this dye session I had specific projects I wanted to use the fabric for.  I usually sketch out the design but also can change things up along the way. Before dyeing my fabric I cut the pattern pieces out and then dye each piece.

Don’t rush! Shibori and Indigo dyeing is a process. The vat stays good for a few days and the Jacquard Indigo kit you can dye up to 25 shirts so that’s a lot of dye to use and plenty of time. If you want lighter shades of indigo save those for the end when less dye is available. It’s a process of binding and using stitch resist techniques so take your time. I enjoy keeping my hands moving so I put in a good movie and get to it.  I also have kids so I save the techniques that take time for evenings when they're sleeping. 

Wear clothing and shoes you don't care to get messy.  You will get dye on you no matter how hard you try not to.  So wear clothing and shoes that you don't mind getting indigo on. For me I just wear a previously dyed indigo shirt (with no set pattern) and flip flops. I always wear gloves but my hands still get dyed because I choose to remove the rubber bands and thread with bare hands mainly because it can be difficult with gloves on. 

Dyeing time: For me I leave mine in for a good 2-3 minutes and will remove it from the vat and let it “oxidize.”  If I want it darker then I put it in again for a minute or so…If you want a lighter shade you can just quickly dip it in, agitate it a bit and then remove it.  Also if you want lighter shades for certain fabrics, save them for the end when there is less dye left in the vat.  You can even add more water at this point and it get some lovely light shades of indigo. 


 Now for some Nui Shibori (stitch resist dyeing).  This is a simple running stitch used on the cloth, then pulled tight to gather the cloth.  Each thread is then secured by knotting before being dyed. It’s a bit more time consuming but allows for control of the pattern you’d like to create. Full video below or follow the steps.

Komasu Shibori: Fold your fabric in half. Create a template or free hand and draw triangle shapes along the folded edge and the raw edges.  I use a water erasable pen as it disappears in water.  Then use a running stitch with heavy weight thread (for buttons or denim) and trace the marks.  Pull the stitches on the side without the knot till they're nice and bunched up and knot the end a couple times. Once they're all scrunched use rubber bands around the tips.  Dampen the cloth (you don't want it soaking wet just barely damp) and place in the Indigo vat.  I wanted a deeper shade of blue so I placed mine in for 3 minutes.  Let the dye oxidize and then I let it dry till it's just a little damp and then remove the rubber bands and stitches with embroidery scissors. 

Here is a pattern I had cut out and dyed using this technique. I'll be sharing this project in another post soon. 

Stitch Resist: Creating Prints

This is similar to the one above but in this one you will create a design on paper first.  I then placed it underneath my fabric and traced it with my water erasable pen. This time though I used a running stitch but I folded the fabric while I did it as shown in the photos. I also did an individual set of stitches for each petal (or section) for when you pull the threads. Scrunch it up and dampen it lightly. Place in the Indigo vat for 2 - 3 minutes or until you've achieved the shade of indigo you like. 

These were my favorite of the samples and final designs.  They're different from your basic shibori tutorials and easy to customize.  I'll be using some of these in my new studio and even a cute theme for baby Louie's room.  I'll be sharing more on that later. 

Shibori is a fun summer activity for my boys' and I and we look forward to doing it each year. My boys' are becoming pros and at the end of the dye session (usually lasts 3-5 days) we take the sheet we used to protect our deck and dye it together to finish off the vat.  It's a great new bed spread or set of curtains...

Check out Organic Cotton Plus for more natural fabrics, supplies, notions, and dyes. 

& Jacquard Products for more textile dyes and products.