*So* not on my to-do list…

This *so* was not on my list of things to do this morning.

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But while my tea is brewing, I have a thought, and that thought quickly multiplies. What if, I copy some of the techniques on my frilly-sleeved La Redoute black tshirt, and apply them to the Hello Kitty tshirt that’s been in the mend/alter/bring back to life pile for the last couple of years? Hello Kitty jumps the queue.

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I cut the sleeves off and overlock them using a narrow hem, stretching the fabric like mad to get a frilly edge. It’s called a lettice hem – here are some good instructions, if you’re interested.

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Then I cut through one layer of the bottom hem of the tshirt and lettice-hem the resulting lower edge, again. From the leftover sleeve material, I cut two long cucumber shaped ovals, and lettice-hem the edges. Finally, I straight stitch the frills to the existing armscye-sleeve seam. They flop over quite pleasingly.

The End.
Now. Where was I?
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Swan t-shirt

marina in swan tshirt

A train journey, some minor preparation and FINALLY I’ve put the broderie anglaise to use.

A few years ago, a friend spotted a skip full of ribbons and other adornments, allegedly outside Luella Bartley‘s workshop, post-bankruptcy. One of the spoils was a 6m length of beautiful broderie anglaise, about 4 inches wide. And she was kind enough to give it to me!

broderie anglaise

NB – the google suggests that this might not be broderie anglaise: it could be either the cambric and organdy shown on Juan Boluda’s website. I have to say, I wouldn’t know the difference. Any suggestions?

I’ve imagined a billion projects that it could adorn, but none of them felt right or came to fruition. Until I met a funky-dressed 18-month-old at my local children’s centre, sporting a swan-embellished t-shirt, tail feathers fashioned in net. Aha. My swan shall have Bartley tail feathers.

swan in progress

I drew the swan from a google picture, and cut it from a scrap of white fleece. Beak from a scrap of yellow dyed canvas (‘duck‘ actually, which pleases my pun-loving heart no end). Folded the tail feathers by eye. Both body, beak and tail feathers handstitched, using blanket stitch, on a train trip to Devon. Took over an hour to do, but afforded me some real satisfaction and quality thinking time… Sometimes handsewing gives you so much more than the finished article.

swan close up

A little project with a big return on the effort, an effective way to use up scraps, and a most pleasing symmetry: the tshirt design that I ripped off  gave me inspiration, was H&M. Check the label and you’ll see….the black t-shirt I embellished is by…. H&M.

And the biggest bonus of all? My daughter WEARS it.

swan tshirt finished

About me


I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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