Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Embellishing to cover stains--tutorial!

I am so excited to share a tutorial with you, the first one since I started working full-time in January.  I love doing step-by-step tutorials but it does take time to do fun little projects that I can share with you and do instructions on!  So I am super glad to bring you this one, a technique for covering up stains on otherwise perfectly good clothes =).

I bought this cute Ella Moss tee at Goodwill on sale for $2.50--it is flattering, cute, and such a great brand!  I love her striped tees and tanks.
It looks fine sitting or hanging, but when I put it on I noticed a very visible stain on the left-center front.  It's funny, you can see it on the tee also, but it was soooo much more apparent when I looked at myself in the mirror from a few feet away.  Must be something about the stripes...
I bought it anyway (did I mention, $2.50 for Ella Moss? ;)) and brought it home to be embellished/mended.

I thought about ideas to cover up the stain in a cute way, and my favorite was adding black knit flowers around the stain and up the neck.  Asymmetrically/artistically, since it's a less structured tee to begin with.  The tie neck and blousing at the bottom make it a candidate for an organic trim pattern, rather than something structured and on the straight lines.

I had some 1" wide swatches of three different types of black knits, left from another project, although still all free from JoAnn's.  1" was really all the width I needed for making petals and flower centers...
So, here's the tutorial.

  • Cut out the flower shapes you want.  Or stars, or ruffles, or whatever.
  • Place the largest petals as a base layer on the tee where you want them.  If they're really unruly, you can put spray adhesive on the back before laying them down.
  • Carefully pin the petals down (not necessary if you used spray adhesive).
  • Sew along the outside edges of the petals or shapes to keep them down for good.  I used contrasting white thread!  If you had a colored shirt you could use one of the colors of the stripes.
  • Trim all your threads.  Trust me.  Do it.  Before you add more layers...
  • Add a second layer of petals.  You don't have to, but it really makes it more fun to have a more 3-D shape.  You don't need as many petals or shapes on this top layer.  Pin or adhere them down.
  • Do your topstitching on that layer.
  • Trim threads (back and front!).
  • For fun, add a decorative center!  If it's on a fancy top, you could hand-sew some beads or sequins on, but for this simple tee I just did a machine-embroidered star in the center of the flower.
  • Wear!
I love the open neckline.  It's so easy with a black and white tee, since I can easily find black fabric and white thread, but this would be super cute on a more pastel or netural tee.

Like I originally thought, you could add more flowers going up the necklines.  I hope it doesn't just look like a shirt with a flower on the boob...

After I finished this project, I looked around in my saved "embellished tops" picture folder and found some of these cuties from Anthro over the seasons:

(See?  Striped things are super cute embellished!)

Love that last one.  I have seen so many nautical stripes in stores this season, and I loooove them.  This makes me want to do more tee-embellishing (one of my specialties, you may remember if you've been reading a long time!).  How about you?  Do you have any tees or tops that you could try out some fabric love on??


  1. Really Cute! Sharing on Facebook.

  2. This is so much better than the Hello Kitty stickers I used to keep handy in High School to cover little stains from lunch!

  3. Thanks! I love when you share...

    Haha, what a practical use for stickers ;)

  4. that is really cute! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I've been meaning to do this with one of my favorite skirts. I really like your use of a contrast thread, and may take that idea for my project too. Thanks!

  6. i LOVE it...even more than the original shirt!!!

  7. Very cute...I'll have to give it a try. :)

  8. Anonymous3/28/2011

    This is such a good idea, I'm a thrifty person and there are always awesome things with stains I find but I dont ever have any idea what to do about it so I usually put it back on the rack. Now however this tutorial will make me come home with more shirts. Thanks! :)


  9. This is a great tutorial and great idea. I also shop at thrift stores and this is a great solution for those otherwise fab pieces. Thanks for posting this.

  10. I think the flower breaks up the stripes and makes it easier on the eyes - the top is much better now!

  11. I did something similar to cover a hole a button made on a sweater. Your looks cute!!

  12. A perfect tip for the thrifty. I'm sure I'll use it at some point, on shirts that I've stained myself. Accidentally, of course. It's a shame to be so messy.

  13. This is great - I'd never know you were covering up a stain if I hadn't read the post!

  14. Anonymous3/29/2011

    What a great find! And, I am so impressed by your creative solution for the stain. Looks great! And... now it's one of a kind! Thanks so much for stopping by Emily A Clark and reading about my painted chair. I appreciate your comment!

  15. What a wonderful idea. I do this at ones...

  16. Wrote about this: http://vitamargarita.blogspot.com/2011/03/saaa-manga-bra-ideer-sa-lite-tid.html

  17. Love love love this! I am expecting (my 5th) baby and have more cute shirts with milk stains than I care to admit. Now I can jazz up my current wardrobe and wear my favorite shirts WITHOUT looking like a total mom-zombie!

  18. That is really cute! Great job!

  19. Anonymous4/04/2011

    LOVE this! So cute and easy!

  20. that is really cute! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Great Idea! I have this sweater that I love, but unfortunately I got some stains on it. Know I don't have to give it away.



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