Friday, May 13, 2011

just a couple things i made

*Update:  There have been a lot of requests for a full tutorial for making this shirt.  I will make one and post it by the end of the day.  Sorry for the delay!

My attempt at copying this shirt:  (From Kate Spade, for somewhere around $200):

It used to be a long-sleeved striped t-shirt, but I cut the sleeves off and used the material to make strips that I bunched up and sewed into circles on the front of the shirt.  In the very middle, I stitched a small square of fabric just to fill in the gap.

Now for the tutorial.  Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures during the initial process, but I re-made the shirt so that you can repeat the process if you would like.  I promise, if you have used a sewing machine before, it's a pretty easy project.

Start with a long-sleeved (preferably striped) tshirt.  Cut off the sleeves, and then cut the sleeves open along the seam, as shown:  (Let's pretend this shirt is actually striped, kay?  Okay.)

Cut the ends off of the sleeves (since they are most likely not striped) and then cut one sleeve into 2-inch wide vertical strips (so that you are cutting through the stripes) and the other sleeve into 2-inch wide horizontal strips (along the line of the stripe).  You will end up with two stacks of fabric strips looking like this:

Start with the strips that have the longer stripes on them.  (The ones on the bottom in the picture above.  The strips themselves will be shorter, but you will have more of them so it'll all even out.)  Lay them out in pleats in a circular pattern on the front of your shirt.  (If you need help, you can trace a cup or something to make the circle.  I'm a teacher so I used a compass, but if you don't have a compass lying around, anything round will work fine.)  The only things to be careful of here are that (a) your circle is centered and (b) you cover up the places where your strips overlap so it looks like one continuous line of fabric.  Pin the pieces into place and stitch onto the shirt.  (Don't stitch through the back of the shirt.  That is annoying to fix.  Trust me.)


Now take the other set of strips with the shorter stripes and repeat this process.  Make sure that this layer is both centered and covers the stitches on your previous circle of pleats:

Repeat this process, alternating between stripes until you reach the center of your shirt.  Then take a scrap of striped fabric, bunch it, and stitch it to the very center of your flower.  You can add a little bead or embellishment in the middle if you want. (You can see a small one in the picture above.)

*NOTE:  It helps A LOT if you iron after sewing on each layer of pleats.  It will give you a much cleaner look and will help the fabric lie flat and stay in place.  I'm lazy, so mine's a little messier.

Your final product should look something like this:

If your fabric is really flimsy and you want the flower to lie a little more flat, you can use some liquid stitch to secure some of the more unruly pleats.  Overall, the project should take no more than 1-2 hours.  Best of luck, and let me know how they turn out!!!  (Again, sorry for the delay.  Oopsie.)

The earrings I'm wearing were made by Elena Henson herself. (Have I mentioned how great that kid is?  Okay, maybe not so much a kid anymore but I still remember her as my 15-year-old student.  It's always nice to know that the kids I'm teaching end up doing awesome things with their lives.  It probably has nothing to do with me (I'm pretty sure we have her parents to thank for that) but it still feels pretty darned good.

 A pillow:  I used some deep purple scrap felt and stitched it to an off-white dinner napkin that my mom bought on clearance for about 25 cents.  (I bunched the felt as I was stitching to give it some dimension.  I also added another (skinnier) row of felt to the ruffles kind of stand up on the pillow.  Incidentally, napkins fit almost perfectly around most standard-sized throw pillows.   So after attaching the felt, I stitched three sides of the napkins together, inserted the pillow, and then stitched the top together to close it off.  Very cheap, very easy.  That's my kind of project.


  1. Such a cute shirt. Love it!

  2. Love your shirt! The stripes are great!

  3. I love this! Ruffles make everything beautiful. So cute!

  4. I just wanted to let you know I featured this over at Blissful and Domestic. Stop by and grab a button.

  5. Those are great projects! I love the t-shirt, you did an amazing job on it! Way to go, girl.
    Hugs, Cindy

  6. Yours turned out amazing!! That shirt is fantastic :)

  7. Ok I am now a new follower. I now just went through all the projects and man am I inspired. your blog was such a great one to stumble upon. I look forward to seeing more cute projects. You have a great blog here:>

  8. Hey sorry I think I have done like a million comments on your blog today, but I do have one more. You have a bunch of cute ideas. Have you ever thought of doing a blog swap or guest posting. I am doing a hair week in June and would love if you would want to be a guest blogger with a hair accessory or something let me know what you think:>

  9. looks really nice! i have striped fabric and going to try!

  10. Too cute!! I love your blog! I'm your newest follower :)

  11. We featured your amazing knock off shirt over at Come check it out! Have a great weekend!

  12. LOVE the shirt! I'm a newbie sewer (with lots of enthusiasm) and you can see my first project over at
    I'm going to have to follow your blog now to see what fun and inspiring ideas you post. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Love your version!!!

  14. Where can I find the full tutorial? Love the shirt!! I would love to make one!

  15. I featured you today on my blog!! Come grab a button!

  16. I love this!I can't wait to try it!

  17. Very cute, but I'm not seeing how / where you are making PLEATS. It looks like you have taken the arms of the shirt apart and cut into 2" wide strips, and then just sew the chunks onto the front of the shirt in a circular shape. Are you sewing the arm strips together and pleating that? If not, where are the pleats being formed? I'm not understanding where / how the pleats are formed. THANKS.