Stitches over time

At the end of the summer, I made my son go through his drawers to find all the clothes he’d outgrown. Among the clothes were T-shirts that his sister is just getting big enough to wear: shirts with dinosaurs and dragons and Lego Batman — and a handful of plain white T-shirts. During the fall, it occurred to me that I had embroidery floss (from making butterflies for her sweater a couple years back) — so why not embroider one of the shirts?

Why not, indeed? Just because the last time I remember embroidery was learning how to do the chain stitch when I was six? Or because most embroidery is done on woven materials, not cotton knit? Or because I had no plan but instead was making it up as I went along?

Minor details, all!

Between Internet searches for instructions and a couple books from the library, I figured I could find my way.

I started simply — scroll stitch and feather stitch around the sleeve hems. A little cross stitch at the neck. Then more elaborate — a Portuguese stem stitch rainbow.

I started jumping around — a bit of lavender chain on one sleeve, flowers below the rainbow, a rocket, pink ladder on the other sleeve, stems and leaves for the flowers.
Embroidered sleeve and shoulder.
embroidered rocket ship and rainbow

The largest section of embroidery (and possibly a mistake to have decided to do) is black space above the rainbow, which is done with a woven fill stitch. I ran out of black embroidery floss and could not find more (always sold out when I visited the store), so I went with a reasonably thin black yarn with metallic thread laced through.
Start of the woven fill embroidery
Eventually, the shirt was done.
The finished embroidered shirt
The stitches pucker a bit in places, and if I do this again I’ll both use fused backing for stabilization and watch my tension better. Still, I’m happy with the end result — and more importantly, so is my daughter.