Turtle Tee

Another week, another Spoonflower design contest.  This one is in partnership with the publishers of the series of books called One-Yard Wonders — sewing books with projects you can make with one yard of fabric.  They’re putting together a new book aimed at projects to make for children.  The contest was to design a girl’s tee shirt with the theme “Under the Sea”, and the winning design will be in the new book.  The pattern for the tee shirt was provided.

With Under the Sea as the theme, I immediately though about doing a version of a Hawaiian shirt, using the turtles that I’ve used in a quilt design and in a chevron pattern for another contest.

Since the design and the tee shirt pattern are all printed together on the fabric, I could ‘engineer’ the design to exactly fit the pattern.  I came up with the basic design fairly quickly.  But, not being a garment sewer, it finally occurred to me that I’d need to leave room for the seam allowances if I wanted all of the design to show after the tee shirt was sewn together.

I was doing the design in Adobe Illustrator, and it was simple to create the space for the seam allowance.  Using the command Effect ==> Path ==> Offset Path I created a duplicate pattern piece and sized it 0.75 inches smaller.  This gave me the boundaries to work within.  The picture below shows this.  The white area is the space the design should fit into and the dark blue area represents the seam allowance.  (The extra triangles sticking out of the white area are due to the notches in the pattern and I just ignored them.)  Once I had all the design elements within the white area, I deleted it so it wouldn’t show in the final design.

As is usually the case with me, choosing colors caused me the most trouble.  Below are some of the color combinations I tried.

The tee shirt design is for a girl, about 8 years old, so I wanted colors that would appeal to her.  I finally settled on a version with pinks, greens and an orange-yellow.  Below is a rough mock-up of the final project.

Here is the full pattern and design.

The front of the shirt.

The back of the shirt.

And the sleeves.

You can see all the contest designs here.

Under the sea, under the sea
Darling it’s better down where it’s wetter
Take it from me
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we’re devoting full time to floating
Under the sea
— Under the Sea lyrics from The Little Mermaid

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.
— Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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