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  • Writer's pictureShelley Barnett

Wearable Art

I added a custom reverse-applique design to an off the rack shirt, to create a one of a kind piece.

The idea began with two green shirts I picked up on sale which, in turn, inspired the fern motif.

After completing my design, I practiced the embroidery stitches which were new to me.

Then I took a piece of the under fabric for the reverse-applique and ironed on fabric stabilizer to give it more weight.

Transferring my design to the front of the shirt, using chalk tracing paper and a stylus, took a couple of tries. In the end I didn't use the cellophane layer and put some stiff cardboard inside the shirt to press on.

Next I pinned the under fabric below the design with its right side facing up. This would later be revealed as the fern leaves in my motif.

Using coordinating colors of green embroidery thread, I began to stitch the outline of the fern. I used a stem stitch for the fern's stem and an outline stitch to go around each leaf.

By cutting away the top layer of fabric within the leaves, I revealed the under fabric which makes up the fern.

The completed reverse-applique fern was lovely but I wanted to add some straight embroidery to bring it to another level.

My design called for some unfurling baby ferns which I traced onto the shirt.

I stitched the baby ferns using the stem stitch with the lazy daisy stitch for the leaf buds.

I put some of the stems on top of my applique and had some disappear behind it. This gave the ferns more depth and realism.

Once my design was complete, I cut away the extra fabric from the back side of the applique.

I love the way this shirt turned out especially since it's only my second foray into reverse-applique. I am learning a lot and looking forward to trying a second fern design, as well as, a river stone motif.

Happy Stitching!


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