While I certainly enjoyed an American Thanksgiving feast, I also indulged in a crafty binge over the holiday weekend. I’ve been craving embellished tees, like these from JCrew, for quite some time, so I finally just decided to figure out how to make some myself.
Armed with $5 tees from Target, coordinating thread and ribbon, and a few beads and jersey scraps from my craft stash, I cut, pinned, and stitched my way to fancy t-shirt ownership. It took a little patience and reverse engineering, but I’m delighted with the results:
Click past the jump for directions to make your own embellished tees!
- basic tee or tank
- coordinating ribbon and matching thread
- jersey scraps in matching or coordinating colors
To make this corsage tee, I grabbed an old white t-shirt and cut out about thirty heart shapes to create “petals.” I layered, folded, and pinned those shapes up one side of the neckline.
While hand sewing would have been possible, I decided to carefully maneuver all of these layers through a sewing machine. For most clusters, I unfolded the hearts, sewed a line down the center fold, and then let the “petals” fall. I also ended up hand-tacking a few petals into place later to defy gravity in necessary places.
Ribbon Necklace Tee:
To make this ribbon necklace tee, I folded and pinned a length of ribbon around the neckline of a tee. I made sure to leave excess lengths of ribbon on either shoulder to tie behind the neck later.
I sewed the ribbon down using my sewing machine, running a stitch down one side of the ribbon. It took a while — lots of pivoting! — and I had to be careful to stay near the very edge. I was frankly a little at a loss as to what to add for embellishments. I ended up cutting heart “petals” out of some of the eggplant colored jersey left over from shortening a maxi dress.
I folded, pinned, and sewed these petals just like I did on the corsage tee. Things still looked a flat, though, and I decided the tee needed some subtle sparkle. For one version, I hand stitched on a couple of pearl beads. For the other, I added little translucent turquoise beads.
Looped Ribbon Tank:
This tank with the ribbon “collar” probably took the longest of any of these projects. The process was the same as the ribbon necklace tee — loop, bunch, pin, stitch — but because the ribbon was narrower there were a lot more loops to sew.
I ended up hand stitching about half of the ribbon and then tried machine stitching the rest as an experiment. Next time around, I think I’ll soldier through and hand stitch the whole thing as it does produce a nicer end result. Like the corsage tee, the tone-on-tone color scheme of this tank helps to elevate the $5 tee and $2 ribbon into something special.
I think I might have a new obsession. Plain t-shirts, beware!