30 May 10 • SCB

While I try to avoid excess and live simply, there’s one thing I feel like you can never have too many of—striped shirts. Am I right? Timeless, classic and a staple of my wardrobe all of my life, I am always ready to add another to the pile.

Last week, stuck at home with a sick kid on a day that was more dead-winter than almost-summer,  I thought I’d create a little summer for myself and hope the weather would eventually follow suit. I was inspired by a shirt in the J. Crew catalog that arrived that day, but limited to the materials I had on hand. I started with a white slub-cotton tee (something that I thought would be a great basic, but never really ending up wearing). For the stripes I used a dark teal fabric paint left over from another project. If I had my druthers and the ability to make a trip to the craft store, I would have done something more tone-on-tone like off-white or tan, although I am very happy with the result.

I created the stripes by masking off with painter’s tape. I wanted the shirt to look uniform from afar, but slightly irregular and handpainted on close inspection, so I eyeballed the stripes as I went along. With a little more time and a ruler, it would not have been hard to make very uniform and even stripes. As you can see here I ran out of painter’s tape and switched to masking tape, then ran out of that, rummaged around and switched back to painter’s tape. Both worked fine. I only added stripes to the front of my shirt. This was part laziness, part design choice. It would not be hard to continue the tape lines around the back (allow the first side to dry completely before painting the other side, of course). I ended my stripes at the chest to mimic a classic St. James tee.

The fabric paint I used was Jacquard Textile Color which I have found to wash and wear well. It is important to keep the paint from bleeding through to the back of the shirt. I created a cardboard form from a box that fit tightly in the shirt. Once I laid out my tape lines, I  brushed on the paint (you don’t need a steady hand for this, but you do need to take care that you don’t splash or splatter the paint on other parts of the shirt). After the paint is dry, remove the tape and heat set with an iron (follow the directions on your fabric paint).

That’s it! You’re ready (to wait) for summer!