T-shirts by an Over Achiever

(I made the shorts some time ago, also of hemp.)

Poor husband, I told him months ago I’d make him some new shirts of hemp jersey and then proceeded to find other projects to occupy my time.  He lives in t-shirts and shorts.

These shirts are of the same hemp jersey as my Model T.  For the first one, I used the undyed, unbleached fabric.

I use Kwik Sew 3299 for his T-shirts, with one small change to the construction.  Rather than inserting the neck band in the round, I stabilize and sew one shoulder, insert band, and sew the other shoulder.  I find it simpler and quicker to insert flat.  A t-shirt for him takes me about 45 minutes from cut to finish.  I leave the bottom edge unfinished as per his request.

I dyed a piece of hemp jersey his favorite shade of blue for the second shirt.  For the first time in my life, I matched the serger threads.
With a nod to his monkey t-shirt fixation, I experimented with stenciling.  The tutorial from Spoon Graphics provided guidance.  To make my stencil, I cut a piece of freezer paper down to the size of regular printer paper (thank you, rotary cutter).  I printed the design (in pale gray) on the matte side of the paper.  I was apprehensive about cutting the stencil, imagining a time-consuming, frustrating experience.  Fine motor skills developed through sewing must transfer to stencil cutting.  I traced the outline of the design with the blade, no more difficult than using a pencil.
I chose to create the design before sewing the shirt.  I marked the CF of the shirt, and marked the center of the stencil, then ironed the stencil on to the shirt.  The shiny side of the freezer paper adheres to the shirt and helps make a sharp image, but it lifts off with relative ease and no adhesive residue.
Australians, you can find freezer paper at your local quilting shop.
I used spray paint to create the image, it’s important to spray it from several different directions for even coverage.  Allow it to dry completely.  After that, I peeled off the stencil and sewed the shirt.   I washed both shirts with fingers crossed, but the image remained fast.
This process yields exciting results.  I’m excited, anyway.

He really, really likes the shirts- a coup.  While he’s a man of simple tastes, he is also very picky.


  1. oh, they look smashing! I'm really curious how the stencils hold up long-term. I was looking at freezer paper at the grocery store the other day thinking I wanted some but couldn't remember why. Now I remember!

  2. Very cool stencils. Did you use actual spray paint or something for fabric? I bought some freezer paper the other day intended for some silk painting- if I ever get the nerve to try it.

  3. Try it, Liza, you might be really surprised how easy it is. I used regular spray paint, it looks and feels like a regular t-shirt decal.I'll post some follow-up on both the fabric and the paint. I have husband testing bamboo fabrics, too, may post the results soon.

  4. Well done! By the photo it looks like you might be in Burringbar. Are you flooded in? I was flooded in Christmas day and now again today. I'm so tired of this rain.

  5. We are in Burringbar. The water keeps steady just slightly over the crossing, not enough to cut us off. Since we're on a ridge we're not flooded but 14 of us are caged in the house… We had a morning of family portraits planned for the beach, but it's impossible in this weather. I'm all for still doing them, but no one else wants to.

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  7. These are great, love the stencils. The only fabric paint I’ve used is the one where you paint it on and iron it to make it “fast” I painted strawberries on my kitchen curtains with it once to match the ones on the border, they were the cheapest cream cotton you could imagine but they looked good.. lol. X

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