Wardrobe Stories: DIY applique decorated T-shirt

It has been a grey and miserable Saturday here today in Canberra, so I thought it was a perfect time to kick off my Wardrobe Stories again, as no one needs to see an Ensemble Post about my sweatpants.

This t-shirt is one of the first DIY projects I ever did. I purchased the shirt from the Bega Salvation Army store in high school for maybe $2.50? I grabbed it because it was blue and because it was already worn-in and exceptionally soft. I think it had a tag when I bought it but I cannot remember. I do, however, remember that I did not buy the shirt with a view to making anything out of it. I just liked the shade of blue.

One weekend I was bored and feeling creative, and so I raided my growing collection of sewing supplies, most of which were stolen from my mother (sorry mummy) or purchased from the local op shops. I had a pile of rectangles of fabric I’d pulled out of a fabric sample book of my mothers (again, sorry mum); and I decided that I really wanted to sew these to the front of the shirt in a grid pattern. I asked my mum for help, and she showed me how to affix the fabric with iron-on glue and pins, making sure they were spaced evenly, and then helped me to sew them on.

I loved the shirt, and honestly I still do to this day. It fit me better when I was younger and 20 kilos lighter, but it is even softer today than the day that I bought it. It has, however, deteriorated significantly over the 12 years that I have owned it for. As you can see from these photos, the stitching around the neck and hem has come undone and there is a significant hole at the neck now. The material is incredibly pilled. I’ve also lost one of the original fabric samples entirely, replacing it with a fabric that shrunk, and a second sample is barely hanging on by a few stitches and what remains of the iron-on glue.

I don’t wear the t-shirt out of the house anymore on account of how wretched it looks now, but the thing is, I cannot bring myself to part with the shirt. I have loved this shirt for 12 whole years. It has accompanied me to high school classes and university lectures, on holidays, to the movies, shopping, and I’m fairly certain I even wore it on a date once. Hell, I’ve worn this t-shirt to my 9-5 Public Service job I think, and likely not even on a Casual Friday! I think I’ve received more compliments on this shirt in my lifetime than any other garment I own!

And I just don’t want to throw it away in the trash, or worse, for someone else to find and wear, or to use as a rag.

So, I am thinking, and I know how ridiculous and sentimental this is; but I am thinking of having the shirt FRAMED and hanging it in my office space. Because it’s not just a shirt that I have literally loved to death; it’s a testament to my own creativity and ability to actually make something, instead of just buying it.

What do you think? Should I keep the shirt? Is it crazy to get it framed? Is that crossing into new territory of vainglorious exploit? Weigh-in on my inner monologue in the comments below.