31 Days · DIY · Kids · Thrifts

31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 20: Leaving Summer T-Shirt (and a Pumpkin One, Too)

I’m getting a late start on this post today. I’ve tried to have every post for 31 Days ready to go the night before, but not today. We just got back from a week-long trip to Tahoe, and I crashed early last night before I had a chance to write.

The trip was wonderful! We had a great time with family, taking hikes, swimming, and just hanging out. And, of course, I have a story:

On Tuesday, we decide to make it a beach day. (BB kept asking, “Where’s the ocean? I don’t think he’s ever seen a lake like that.) We take a picnic and blankets to Zephyr Cove. We park in the lot and walk about 20 yards to the sand. There aren’t many people – we’re there in between seasons – but it isn’t deserted.  We’re sitting on the beach, enjoying our lunch (I’m spoon-feeding carrots to BG) when I see something move out of the corner of my eye. In what felt like several long, drawn-out, foggy minutes, my brain slowly forms thoughts. “Hmm, look at that large animal…it’s not a dog…it’s barreling down the hill toward us…now it’s very close to us…HOLY (expletive) THAT’S A BEAR!” At that moment, the bear changes his mind and heads back into the woods. (I say “woods” – it’s a 10 yard wide wooded strip between the parking lot and the beach. Again, we’re not in the middle of nowhere!) Amazing. I’ve never been so close (10 feet maybe) from a bear.

Well, except for the time Husband and I are camping, and I wake up in the middle of the night, and Husband says, “Well, I don’t think it’s a bear.” You don’t think WHAT is a bear?! I was just snoozing away happily. “That breathing outside our tent. I don’t think it’s a bear. Probably a deer.” We still don’t know what that was, but I think that’s the best wake-up line I’ve ever heard.

Anyway, on to today’s project. A couple of years ago, I wanted to make a pumpkin t-shirt for the boy.

I used a thrifted orange t-shirt to create a pumpkin applique. I sewed the pumpkin down on a black t-shirt and did some extra stitching to add lines to the pumpkin.

This fall, I wanted to make another one. I chose an oak leaf because I love the shape, and because it’s really easy to sketch a stylized one.

I started by digging out the leftover mustard yellow t-shirt pieces from my cardigan. I sketched the design out with a pencil and cut it out.

Next I played around with the position of the leaf on a navy t-shirt. I pinned it in place and went over the vein lines of the leaf with chalk.

Starting at the stem, I stitched the leaf down, using 1/4″ edge allowance, and then stitched over the chalk-marked veins. (When the shirt is washed, the chalk with disappear, and the edges of the leaf with curl a little bit.)

This is such an easy technique, I’m tempted to make 20 more – a turkey for Thanksgiving, a tree for Christmas, a black bear for the good Tahoe memories.

The possibilities are endless!


This post is part of a 31 Day series. Find all the posts in this series here.


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4 thoughts on “31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 20: Leaving Summer T-Shirt (and a Pumpkin One, Too)

  1. Wow…what a story. I have seen one about 20 feet away and that was a little too close for comfort. Really cute..I think you should do one for every season and for sure a bear one!

  2. Love the leaf shirt! And thank you for not telling me about the bear until after you got home. Less worrying that way!


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