Picture of Charles Mackintosh shirt

I bought a purple flannel shirt in a sale for almost nothing ( 3 euro). When the bright cellophane came off the color was not so purple as I had thought. A drab misty purple-grey. Boring! Now more than a year later I only put it on once, and my colleagues wondered what had been gone wrong in the laundry. "Nothing I said, its purple". They looked at me with eyes that spoke:"Yeah, and the moon is purple too!".
So the shirt had to go, or with some arts and craft brought back to life.

Here is what i did to revive a not so old but unloved shirt.

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Step 1: What I used

Picture of What I used

  1. A boring shirt
  2. A sewing machine
  3. Yellow cotton ( crochet) thread
  4. Yellow sewing tread
  5. A seam ripper
  6. A hand needle with a big hole
  7. Bleach
  8. A small plastic bottle with pointy nozzle
  9. A white pencil or tailors chalk ( not on the picture)

I didn't buy any of these. All were in the house. The small plastic bottle I once bought in a artist's shop, to make lines on canvas with very fluent paint.

Step 2: Prepare

Picture of Prepare
front linestek.jpg

I took off the pocket with a seam ripper. It was a bit fiddly and I had to practice my ZEN skills, but without any damage it came off in 15 minutes. With a white pencil (tailors chalk would have been more professional) I drew a circle and made some lines to mimic a Charles Rennie Mackintosh flower design.

On the shirt, over the place for the pocket I drew 5 parallel lines ( as in the Mackintosh example).

Later I made 5 horizontal lines on the back, to cover up a bleach mistake I made, but all for the better.

actiasluna9 months ago

The neon effect is striking... and what a way to make a boring shirt interesting.

Lakes5710 months ago

Wow, I thought it was EL wire! :)

Nice effect!

thereyno10 months ago

perfect color illusion! :)

wizgirl10 months ago


maka10 months ago

Love it! I'm wondering a couple of things about this project. First of all, I wonder if a bleach pen would work for bleaching the lines. Also, it seems like the bleach could change the color of the yarn, and therefore I wonder if the bleaching could be done first.

Ruud van Koningsbrugge (author)  maka10 months ago
I am not familiar with a bleach pen, Please try it and let me know!
The yarn acts as a guide, and therefor its easier to stitch on the yarn first. The other way around is possible I think and prevents the yellow yarn from discoloring. You could also test the yarn first.
Bleach pen

I will definitely give this a try at some point! Your result is just stunning. Bleach is a migraine trigger for me, which is going to make me resistant, but the end result looks like it will be worth it!
FamilyGuy200610 months ago

I have a couple shirts 'pre-bleached' that I need to now ad spots of bright yarn and a continuation of the design. The 'pre-bleaching' process happened without my approval. This post treatment is very approved. Great Idea. Thanks for sharing it. Great job documenting it. Nice photos.

Thanks for your comment. Sounds interesting: "bleaching happened without my approval". The family is O.K. I hope? :-)
dmastin10 months ago

very nice idea, i like it cuz you can make the old new again. would work great on t shirts. well done!!!!!!!!!!!!! dave

SimplerSimon 10 months ago
Wow. That looks amazing. I thought it was LED wires when I saw the first pic. Need to go experiment with some bleach on my less than great shirts.

that's what i thought and it would have been a pretty awesome many people have LED clothes?!? i assume the pic was taken in blacklight maybe?

Ruud van Koningsbrugge (author)  fixfireleo10 months ago
The picture was taken with normal daylight, no spot and certainly no blacklight. It is just luck that the bleach gave this reddish color witch looks like light emitting from the yellow line. No light trick involved!
kishida10 months ago

Nice idea and it looks good. Like you said, it looks like it has a neon glow, especially in pictures.

Pizzaface10 months ago

I thought it was LED too. Did you know it would look like that when you started? You have a great imagination. And apparently the gift of foresight. It's awesome and I can't wait to try it.

Billrose10 months ago

I think it a great idea. But I think you might have to credit Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Wife. Margaret for the design. No the man himself.

Ruud van Koningsbrugge (author)  Billrose10 months ago

Never to late to learn. Thank you for the extra information.

macintosh did more of the geometric designs, more masculine. Margaret did the flowing designs, more feminine. But its good to see the 'MacIntosh' used for a shirt and fashion.

Yes it was Margaret who designed the rose.

qboid10 months ago
That looks very nice. Ideas are flowing! :)
wilgubeast10 months ago

So cool. Like crank_girl, I also suspected EL wire. This is even more accessible (and much easier to launder.)

crank_girl10 months ago
Great 'ible! Initially I thought you'd used El wire cos the colours let off the shirt.
DeandrasCrafts10 months ago

This is so awesome and much better than the plain shirt. Nice work.