Upcycled Clothing: Something From Nothing
I made this cotton knit tunic from a pile of old t-shirts I had stashed away.
These are the garments I started with. The lines on the white tank top are my marks for hand stitching.
I wanted to do a sort of border row as an edge for the hand stitched areas. But, I did not want to stitch through multiple layers of fabric when stitching in this detail. I don't use any sort of stabilizer when stitching on knits, and I also don't use an embroidery hoop. I used a chain stitch and a threaded herringbone stitch for this part. Here you can read my tips on How To Embroider Without a Hoop.
I marked my lines with a water-soluble pen and finished those two rows of stitching. I hand painted another old white t-shirt with a silvery gray Lumiere fabric paint, and after heat setting the paint with an iron I basted it in place behind that center area of the top. I marked random shapes on the plain top layer of fabric, stitched around them with a running stitch, and then cut out the top layer of fabric to reveal the painted layer underneath. This technique is known as reverse applique. It was so much fun cutting the top layer away to reveal what was underneath!
After finishing the top, I basically had a tank top with embellishment. I wanted to have something more versatile that I would actually wear, so I decided to add a skirt to the bottom. I went back to my stash of old plain white t-shirts and started marking off strips in different widths I could paint, cut apart, and sew back together in a random pattern. I use the Springtime, Ink Splotches, and Small Stones stencils.
I had all the strips stitched together in a large square, and then I added a border made from the striped shirts all the way around the bottom. I cut a circle out of the center of the pieced square and attached it to the top.
Note: If you want to know the math to calculate the size of the opening and length of the skirt, you can email me.
The really fun part is that I get to wear this garment! I can wear it during the summer with short leggings underneath, and I can wear it in cooler weather with longer leggings and layer a lightweight top underneath.