Although my actual gap is to identify a better process for decorating blank t-shirts than just machine embroidery my resulting product is an actual t-shirt.
I originally thought I would simply call it the flower T, but I changed my mind and have named it the MeT (say me-tee).
I had a blank brown t-shirt which wanted some more color. Using machine embroidery combined with reverse applique (sewing fabric behind the t-shirt and then cutting away the fabric of the t-shirt) I came up with this design. The key feature is that the design gains interest through the reverse applique when combined with the embroidery.
GAP AND USER NEEDS
My gap was to give more added-value to the t-shirt design process by incorporating more unexpected types of decoration than just machine embroidery. After evaluating several possibilities I decided that I would try reverse applique (fabric under the original fabric) and was looking at a design that would appeal to women and girls. Plus, this could be produced in a variety of colors. The process is not so complicated as to be too pricey. And the flowers give the plain t-shirt a nice upgrade.
I would like to further refine this design – first of all by improving the embroidery itself – adding buds to the stems and putting points on the stems instead of just plain round ends. Plus, I would really like to experiment with fabric paint – incorporating this design in a larger design.
I would also like to reconsider placement of the design on the t-shirt. At the moment I think it would be better to place the design higher on the shoulder, however that may prove difficult to hoop for the machine embroidery.
While stitching out the desing I also noticed that there are some points in production that could be improved. When making a design it is sometimes difficult to know what should be stitched first. In this case the reverse applique adds a new challenge, particularly because the t-shirt needs to be reinforced by some type of stabilizer. Thus I am adding 1 or 2 layers to the t-shirt depending. These need to be done in a particular order so that the t-shirt does not get streched or too stiff. I would need to break up the red stitching into 2 sets – one just for the reverse applique and one for everything else.
I definitely learned a lot during this process. I am not sure if I would need such in-depth evalution for every design, but it certainly did get me thinking. Plus, I thought I wouldn’t have any problems moving from the design to the prototype and was surprised by a few challenges that actually ocurred when stitching on the shirt.
Nevertheless I am pleased with the result.