Thread: From stash
Also, the dark spots don't show up in the photos, but in real life, they are visible.
I left the shirt as it was and wore it a few times. Wearing it let me get a feel for how it looks and what I wanted to do. The difficulty is that there are dark spots, whether from stains or uneven dying I don't know, in inconvenient places such as just above and below the "headlight" area on one side. Any placement of appliqués or trim only highlighted that point. Not good.
After a few wears, I decided to embellish with "embroidery." I know how to do hand embroidery, but I don't enjoy the time it takes. I would love to be able to create designs with intricate curves and twistings reminiscent of henna art, but my artistic skills aren't that developed. Also, I know from experience how difficult it is to chalk an accurate line, especially on stretchy fabric.
With all this in mind, I opted for straight, evenly spaced lines coming from hem to shoulder. I started the first line over the dark spot in the center of the hem and guessed at how long I wanted the line. Twelve inches seemed good since that was the length of my ruler. I then moved towards the left of the shirt, drawing lines one inch apart and one inch longer than the previous line. Fortunately, it worked out and by the time I reached the sleeve, the lines were up to the shoulder line. As I moved towards the side seam, I decided to extend the lines over the sleeves. Why? Just because I felt like it.
When that side was finished, I moved to the other side and drew lines one inch apart with each line progressively one inch shorter. When the lines were drawn, not all the spots were covered, but it is my hope that the color and pattern of the lines will distract the eye from the discolorations.
I decided I needed a few more lines on the sides. On the side with the long lines, this meant that the lines would disappear into the side seam. That wasn't part of my original design vision, but I decided that it looked alright.
I made a mark at the center of the V and drew a line down each side of the shirt so that I would have a guide for where to stop my lines. My lines from shoulder seam to stopping line weren't straight and when I went to sew I saw how badly they were off. Most of the chalk had already rubbed off, too. The chalk shows up better in the picture and you can see what a mess it is from all the times I tried to get the lines straight and even.
I also toyed with the idea of extending the design to the back of the shirt, but for now I am uninspired.
As for the actual stitching, I used a zig-zag stitch to allow the fabric to continue to stretch. It was slightly difficult to sew these lines without stretching out the fabric, but the stretch stitch on my machine is slower than a button-hole stitch and usually tangles the thread so I don't use it.
To keep the zig-zag stitching from coming out, I use a straight stitch for 2-3 stitches, back-tack, then start the zig-zag. I finish by zig-zagging to the end of the seam, back-stitching with a straight stitch for 2-3 stitches, then forward stitching with a straight stitch for 2-3 stitches. That is, I back tack with a straight stitch at the beginning and end of my zig-zag seam.