Put a Bird on It!

I've been wanting to make some artful but very wearable pieces to add to my 'retirement' wardrobe.  Now that I don't have to wear 'professional' clothes everyday I want to add a bit more fun and fancy to what I wear.  I decided I would play a bit with a wardrobe basic...the T-shirt.  I wanted to take the wearability and practicality of a T-shirt and add a bit of artfulness.

You are probably fed up with hearing about Ashland, but the inspiration for my first go at an 'artful T' came from, you guessed it...Oregon.

Random thoughts collide....(stick with me, it's just how my brain works!)

If you know the TV series Portlandia you may remember a skit where everything got better when you... 'Put a bird on it!'  The last day of our DOL retreat Diane put a bird on it...she makes these really artful birds out of bits and pieces and on our last day she had one perched on her shoulder.  She literally "put a bird on it!"

While I was in Ashland I visited Lithia Park every morning.  On one of my visits I followed this fellow and he actually parked himself so I could get this picture...

I learned that he is a Steller Jay Bird...and I would agree...he was 'stellar!'  Steller Jay Birds are very large and his bright blue color was spectacular.  I was quite taken by him.

When I got home from my week out west I had a package waiting for me.  I had ordered a new duvet cover before I left and it was waiting for me on my return.  And guess what?  Birds!  Yep, I have a duvet cover with birds on it....

I had to alter my cover to fit my duvet so I had a few inches of birds leftover.

All this bird stuff was trying to tell me something...I decided to start a design board!

I picked the blue jay looking fellow from my duvet scraps and added some linen, a piece I scavenged from Diane's scraps at the retreat (the linen leaf print, that is all I had of it to work with) a picture of a woven T-shirt....it was starting to get some legs...or maybe wings!?

I cut out the blue bird and started to arrange the front of a T-shirt....

I was smitten by Gwen's lovely hand stitched pieces.  

She puts rows and rows of overlapping stitches that create patchwork pieces reminiscent of darned garments.  I wanted to incorporate that into my T.  I started stitching....

It's hard to see in the picture, but my little jay is covered in little gray stitches!

Diane had several pieces with collars made of layers of linen and raw edges and 3D stuff...yep that had to go in there someplace....

I stitched and sculpted and stitched some more...

T-shirt front

T-shirt back

...and I am quite taken with my new "Put a Bird On It" t-shirt!  I think it is a great addition to my new retired person garb!

Go ahead...Put a Bird On It!


  1. The care and artfulness you lavished on your shirt really paid off! It looks lovely.

    1. Thank you. It was a labor of love.

    2. Amaze-amaze-amazing. The results are high end, in symphony, casual chic.

      It looked like nothing...and then, it suddenly became Everything. Love.

    3. I was pretty pleased, starting with some linen scraps and bed sheets! Thank you.

  2. What a great top. Love everything about it – the bird, all the stitching, the variety of fabrics. Plus it looks so comfortable. I will never get tired of hearing about your Ashland exploits.
    Stellar Jays are very common in British Columbia, where I live. They are very cheeky, smart birds. My 100-year-old aunt tells me she trained a Blue Jay to come into her house by feeding it peanuts. I think the Jay might have trained her.

    1. Now that I'm home more during the day, I think my little dog may be training me! Hmmm.

  3. What a fantastic design element! Love the process, and the delightful collar. Off to improve my 1st remake top -- inspired with Diane's creative approach - freedom to design with pieces and parts! Love it!!

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    1. Oh dear...I was trying to remove the duplicate and they both disappeared. So sorry! It wasn't the comment it was my technical oops.

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  6. I love it, great design process. Your creativity inspires me, now for more time!

    1. Thanks JoAnn...I have been enjoying my 'extra' studio time since January!

  7. LOL! I love Portlandia and immediately recognized the reference. I LOVE that you "put a bird on it!" Beautiful top!

  8. Thanks! I'm enjoying wearing it almost as much as creating it!