summer staples: tee shirts

Only 5 more days left until the first summer kcw! Are you shopping for fabric? Digging out patterns? Making lists? I’m pretty sure a tee shirt or two has made it onto that list. There is nothing my kids love more than a comfy tee shirt. Tara from girl like the sea is here today to show us some of her amazing tee shirts! The first shirt I saw of Tara’s was this hot pink lego number. Right then I knew she was 1. an awesome mom and 2. a great maker.  When I asked her to do a post on summer tees, I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it would be this good! You might have to put one more shirt on that list…

girl like the sea

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Hello noble sewists! I’m shocked and awed and a little paralyzed over being included in the KCW extravaganza. Somehow I got handed the opportunity to give a little t-shirt sewing inspiration before everyone overheats their sewing machines and burns some midnight oil writing blog posts in a few short days.

First I’ve got a new creation of my own to show you, and I’m almost as excited about it as my kids are! These two ideas for tees have been stuck in my head for a while, and they decided to collide and become one fun piece of kid wear…..

The Kids Cape Tee

KCW cape tee

Sewn for my 4 year old daughter (who’s unphotographable because of a wicked red nose from a summer cold), but modeled by her small younger sister, this is a Rae Flashback Skinny Tee with a slightly scooped out neckline and short sleeves. I fashioned a cape in a drapey knit and sewed it into the shoulder and neckband seams for built in imaginative fun.

One of my daughter’s favorite things is to swoop around with a cape and other accessories, pretending to be one thing this minute and something else the next. A cape and be so many things to a little person, and I wanted to capture some of that magic and symbolize it on the shirt.

kids cape tee

Just a tiny list of the many adventures a child can have with something as simple as a cape to make them feel bigger than the real world around them. I used fabric sharpies to create the notebook paper effect (I’ve been DYING to do this on a shirt), and hand-written to-do list.

KCW cape tee

My kids both love love love this shirt, and a disgruntled little sister has let me know several times that she needs one too. Clover, who is  the true owner of it, has asked me over and over again to read it to her,  eyes lighting up as I read off the different scenarios to her.

I’ve got a baby due to arrive sometime this month, but after that I would like to get a tutorial put together for the cape shirt if anyone is interested.

In some ways it can seem a bit silly to go to the trouble of making a t-shirt for your kid when there are tons of super cheap ones you could just buy in a store. But there is also a very rewarding feeling when you’ve made something so cute and wearable for your little person.

Other advantages are that you can choose your own material, avoid the ubiquitous branding and colors for kids, upcycle great things from your closet or the thrift store, and ever importantly you can put whatever you want on it! Even something you might never find otherwise. Some examples of things I love about making tees for kids:

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1. Sanae Ishida Maritime Outfit  2. Max California Bat Shirt

This gorgeous, stripey (seriously, you have me at stripe)and comfy tee from Sanae Ishida is so classic and cute. And hello, you mustard skinny tee with seriously awesome hand drawn bat from Max California.


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1. Cirque Du Bebe boys tanks

Something I’ve never used, but love the look of is the use of transfer artist paper for really artistic and unique graphics. Sophie at Cirque Du Bebe is a pro at pairing great fabrics and graphics on her boys.

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1. A Little Gray wolf tee,   2. Craftiness Is Not Optional cap sleeve tee

Embroidery is also a great option for customizing a tee, like this one from A Little Gray.  Just one of the great tees from Craftiness Is Not Optional – this cap sleeve balloon shirt.

film petit: ferris bueller's day off

1. skirt as top Cameron tee

I’m a big fan of sticking something unexpected on a kids tee too, which is why I adore this one from Skirt As Top. She used one of my favorite tricks – the freezer paper stencil – to make this for her son.

And a few of my favorites from the Girl Like The Sea Archives….

KCW photos

Now that I browse through my creations I realize how much fun it is to geek out with a freezer paper stencil on a piece of jersey knit ^_^

KCW photos

1. black lego tee  2. pink lego tee  3. striped shirt

KCW is nearly here! Got get those patterns traced and cut, and your imaginations running wild!

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Thank you so much Tara! We will wait patiently until you have that baby and then we will demand a tutorial for the awesome Kid Cape Tee!

This article has 11 comments

  1. kristin

    Tara, you’re awesome!! Love ALL of your tees (and everything else you do) and I’m so glad you squeezed in a post here before little dude is born!! Thanks so much for including my Cameron tee, too. 🙂

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