What do you do when the rad concert t-shirt you turned into a one of a kind, hand-sewn, work of strappy-backed art gets a hole in it? You make due with what you have, that’s what! One of my favorite sayings is “When life hands you lemons. . . you freeze ’em and throw them back so it really hurts like heck.” Or something like that.
What is design but making something where there was nothing before? So why did I let myself get all bent out of shape when the shirt I had just made ended up with a hole in it? (Stupid Cat!!!) I was just about to list it on Etsy when I noticed the anomaly, and I just let it hang in my sewing room for months. (Thanks to that lack of decisiveness that creative people are often plagued with.) I didn’t want to darn and mend it and then sell it. I didn’t want to list it with a hole in it. I felt like a flower over it may be too out of place. So I just left it. Ever been there?
But I did the brave thing and finally got it out. A flower was my only option for true repair that didn’t look awful, so that’s what I went with. It may not be part of my original design or intention, but aren’t happy accidents the part of design that I’m always touting, anyway? So now I have a kick-arse (Can I say that?) Led Zeppelin shirt that, yes, has a flower on it, and I love it. It’s edgy and pretty. Together. And because of that, in a happy accident kind of way, it embodies my whole design aesthetic. Thank you, fate. (I don’t actually believe in fate. That was a literary device lest you think I’m totally naive. I do like to personify ideas and attributes to sound like I’m talking to them. I also like to over-explain what I’m doing. You’re welcome.)
Who knew such a tiny hole could cause so much anguish?
Luckily, I had some scraps from the fabric I used to make the godets for this shirt. (The little triangles I added to the sides.)
I cut out a shape that would work for a flower-It was already there. I just tidied up the edges a bit. If you’re using this post on a tutorial to make an easy flower, take any jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric and cut it between 6-12 inches and taper it so one side is wider than the other. I liked the curved edge for this flower.Using a running stitch, sew near the bottom edge of the fabric all the way across. Don’t worry about the stitch being perfectly even. Unless chaos kills you inside. Then you can be perfectionistic if you want to.
I used Button & Craft thread. It’s heavy duty stuff. It’s cheap. And it will last. Highly recommend it!
After you’ve stitched the edge, pull the thread to gather the fabric so your flower crinkles up. Cute, no?Using the same length of thread, sew the flower together. Just take the needle in from the back and out the front and vice versa. Make sure your stitches aren’t noticeable and don’t sew down that cute fullnes in the middle of the flower! Once it’s sewn together adequately, secure it with a knot in the back.
You’re done with your easy flower! Now you can sew it onto a garment or accessory, or you can hot glue a piece of felt with a safety pin to the back so it’s detachable. I used black thread for this flower so you can’t see any stitching and since there are so many flower options, I’ll probably do a whole post on easy flowers and break down exactly how to sew them together for newbies.
I mended the hole before I attached the flower so it wouldn’t fray.This was the shirt’s original design.
And this is what I ended up with. I’m actually more it this way. You know, after all that unnecessary worry and feeling like I couldn’t possibly make a flower work.
And here are some of the details I love about this top.
The braided binding. Boy, this stuff takes forever to make, but it’s so versatile, strong, pretty, and unusual! Plus, this shirt was entirely hand stitched and it lends itself to that medium.
The godet panel and hi-lo hem.
And this beautiful contrast stitching. The hem stitch is a stretchy one that I learned from one of Natalie Chanin’s books. Love her!
Also, if this 2 for one post wasn’t enough for you, here are some other ridiculous and fun lemons quotes. Enjoy:
If life gives you lemons, keep them, because, hey, free lemons!
When life hands you lemons, slice those suckers up and grab some vodka.
When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Then life will be all like…What?!?
When life hands you lemons, make grape juice, and sit back and watch everyone wonder how you did it.
If life gives you lemons, sell them and buy shoes!
Unless life also hands you water and sugar, you’re lemonade is gonna suck.
When life hands you lemons, freeze them and throw them as hard as you can at the people making your life difficult. (Okay, this was the one I was thinking of earlier. I got it totally wrong!)
When life hands you lemons, it’s time for tequila shots.
When life gives you lemons, make bacon. Discard the lemons.