Monday, June 18, 2012


Some of my regular followers may remember when I received the pattern and book from Nancy Zeiman regarding T-shirt adaptations.  If so, you may have wondered if I am ever going to make something with it.  Here it is!!

Funnily enough, when I bought the book & pattern, I also bought several yards of a lovely wedgewood blue knit that Nancy recommends  for this project.  When I searched my stash for that fabric (and found it, BTW),  I came across this lovely muted purple that is soft, fine, and has wonderful drape.  I could not for the life of me remember buying it!!  It didn't appear to be a remnant of another project (fairly straight-cut edges all around), but it is of such sumptuousness, that I can't believe I didn't buy it with a project in mind.  Maybe I did.  who knows??
Anyway, by then, I had decided which shirt I wanted to make from the book, and there was more of the blue than I needed, but not enough for 2 projects for me, but the amount of purple was ju-u-u-u-u-u-st right!  It was then, that an idea was born.
I wanted to start experimenting with design alterations with the simplest to do - the surplice wrap - but I wanted something more interesting than a solid-colored surplice shirt.  That's when I decided to embroider it.
I selected a simple-seeming trail of flowers, and decided to use just one color of thread for the design.  I love the purple/green combination, and this meant that the shirt could be worn with many more skirts and pants, than solid purple might.
This design, however, elevated my simple shirt to not-so-simple embroidery.  The embroidery design is straight.  Neither my body, nor the shirt's front are.  Would I successfully angle the flowering vine across the left front, without running across a boobie, or stitching off the edge of the fabric???

It took some hard thought - but I did it!!

First: I fused a piece of lightweight knit interfacing [from - Thanks again, Pam] to the one sizable scrap I had, then I used tear-away stabilizer in my embroidery hoop, increased the image by 20%, and stitched the design.  Perfect!!!
After cutting away the excess stabilizer,  I put more stabilizer in the hoop, and using the sample as a guide (that is: placing the sample over the exact interfaced spot on my shirt that I wanted to embroider), I carefully positioned the shirt's LF in the hoop, such that the curved shirt front, was straight, but not quite straight-looking.  I knew it was right because I had my sample to guide me.  {Okay, I'll admit, I crossed my fingers, and held my breath until it was done}

The stitching came out of the hoop perfectly positioned on the LF, and on my frankly zaftig chest.

However, I had some tension issues during stitching, and, despite careful stabilizing, there were some bare patches in the center of a couple of flowers.  Distinctly white little spots in some, but not all, of the flowers.  Again:  not a problem!  I had intended to embellish each flower's center with a tiny green crystal bead, anyway.  I did SO!  The pretty green crystals covered the tiny oopsies perfectly.

I am very happy with the results.  All of them.  The pattern adaptation was a breeze thanks to Nancy Zeiman's very excellent instructions.  The tricky (for me) embroidery went well, also thanks to Nancy.  This time, help came from her book Machine Embroidery with Confidence, which I recommend to anyone who has an embroidery machine.  She covers every situation, question and problem that might come your way, instilling confidence all the while.

I have worn this a couple of times to rave reviews from all  --  except my husband, who bought me the embroidery machine in the first place!  Go figure!!

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