Isn't it fun to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary? Well, that is just what you can do with a plain white t-top! This pattern is so versatile because you can use any color combination, any kind of fabric, and all sorts of embellishments to make your t-top uniquely yours.
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Step 1: Getting Started
For this "shabby chic" look (which would be perfect for mom, too!), I chose fabrics and embellishments that were subtle shades of rose, sage, ivory, and gold. And, of course, one of my fabrics had great big roses on a soft pink wallpaper stripe. I included some polka dots, a sage green calico with tiny rosebuds, an old-fashioned small floral stripe, and a rosey-peach colored paisley with green accents.
So, let's get started! You will need a t-top of your choice and size, lots of scraps of several fabrics, and lots of snippets of ribbons, lace, and rick-rack. You will also need a selection of beads or beaded ribbon, buttons or charms, and lots of thread for the applique.
LIST OF SUPPLIES
1 T-Top (short or long sleeve, or tank top)
5 or 6 different coordinating fabrics, 1/4 yd. each
Coordinating ribbons, lace, rick-rack, beads, buttons, charms, etc.
Matching or coordinating threads for applique
Step 2: Prepare the T-Top
Begin by turning the top inside out and applying fusible interfacing to completely cover the area that you will be working on. This is especially important when working on t-shirt knit fabric so that it doesn't stretch while you are stitching on the crazy patch design.
Turn the top right side out. Measure and cut a rectangle of plain white fabric the size that you want for the front design. I made a size 6/7, and my rectangle was approximately 8" high by 7" wide. This covered enough of the front of the t-top but left plenty of room all around. You could make yours bigger or smaller, depending on the look that you want and the size that you are making.
Place the fabric rectangle on the front of the t-shirt to be sure that you are pleased with the size. Begin your crazy patch design with a patch that has five sides. Place it approximately in the middle of your white rectangle.
Step 3: Begin the Crazy Patch Applique
Now, choose your second fabric patch. This one can be a fairly random shape, just make sure the sides are straight and one side can match up to one of the five sides of your original patch. I always like to lay it out first and see which side seems to match the best. Don't worry if they aren't the same length. You can adjust that later.
Place the second patch on top of the first patch, right sides together, and stitch both patches to the white fabric rectangle ONLY (Do not attach to t-top yet!). Flip back and press thoroughly, and add any ribbon or trim to this first seam.
Continue on with the third patch and ribbon or trim, making sure to completely enclose the intersection between the first two patches in the seam of the third patch.
As you get closer to the outside edges of your rectangle, be sure to trim off any excess fabric from your patches to keep your edges straight.
Step 4: Finish Crazy Patch Applique
Continue this process until you have completely covered the white fabric rectangle, trimming away all excess fabric from the patches to keep your edges of the rectangle straight.
If you want to do any decorative stitching, now is the time to do it. This can be done on your sewing machine or by hand.
Step 5: Stitch Crazy Patch Applique to the T-top
When you have completed the patches on the rectangle, measure it side to side and top to bottom to be sure it is even. Trim if necessary to make the sides even. Then place it on the front of the t-top and measure to be sure it is centered.
Press the rectangle onto the front of the t-top using fusible web to hold it securely in place while you stitch it on.
Using an applique stitch, attach the rectangle to the front of the t-top. Set your sewing machine for a wide, close satin stitch. On my machine, that setting is 3.6 for stitch width (on a scale of 0 - 5.5) and a setting of .30 for the length of the stitch (on a scale from 0 - 5). This will produce a satin stitch that is wide enough to enclose all the raw edges of your applique, and close enough to give a nice, smooth finish to your applique.
Begin your stitching in the middle of one of the sides of the rectangle so that you can match the ending stitches easier. Back stitch a few stitches to tie off and connect the beginning and ending stitches using a few straight stitches.
Step 6: Final Step to Complete Crazy Patch T-top
If you want to add another applique to the t-top, repeat the process of pressing your design onto fusible interfacing for stability, cut out, and press onto the t-top with fusible web. Stitch all around the design with the same satin stitch that you used to attach the crazy patch rectangle to the front of the t-top.
After you have stitched on any appliques that you want, turn the t-top inside out and trim off all excess interfacing.
Press carefully, and your crazy patch t-top is finished!