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Davinder and Caroline Madaher 

Customised John Lewis tops.

Customised John Lewis tops.

I picked up this twin pack of T.shirts a few weeks back in John Lewis, and since I have such a love of pattern and appliqué this little duo were never going to be left as they were. As I have mentioned before shopping for an 11 year old has become a bit of an art, certainly John Lewis cater for this age group in an age appropriate way but the same can't be said for many other, once reliable stores.

If you love this twin pack and want to follow along with this project here is the link to the John Lewis page.


I have quite a stash of vintage lace and embroidered placemats, scarfs and doilies, some of you may cringe seeing that I cut them up. Lets just call it up cycling, after all I think this use of material is far better than sitting in a drawer.

You need to find yourself a really beautiful motif to use, this cross stitched design was going to make a perfect feature. Using the iron on bonda web or other similar paper backed product, iron to the reverse of the embroidery. I utilised most of the motifs on this placemat.

Carefully trim around the edge of each motif with good sharp scissors.

You then arrange all the motifs in a placement you are happy with. Peel of the paper backing and set with the iron, this will give a temporary but sturdy adhesive to your top so that you can then stitch easily in place.

I also like to iron a piece of interfacing on the back side of the design so that when you stitch the jersey T.shirt, it should be stable.

So as you can see, you go around all the edges with your machine. I have a satin stick on my machine but if you don't have that feature use a zig zig stitch but just alter the stitch length so it becomes more compact like a satin stitch.

I absolutely loved how this turned out and Naomi loved it to.

Here's a little snap shot of Naomi sitting at her creative desk a lovely backdrop for this very creative top.

Those that know me know I am all about the detail, and I love this added little feature at the back neck.

I wanted the second top to be a little different so went for a printed motif this time.  This was a vintage cotton square scarf not something I would ever wear, but given a new lease of life, this beautiful 1950's floral print would look great on a top.

Using the same method as before I iron the design into place ready to stitch. I always find using steam in the iron helps with the sticking. Again add some interfacing on the underneath side of the design, don't skip this process as your stitching will really pucker if you don't and you won't get that lovely smooth finish.

As well as satin stitching the flowers in place I added a bit of sparkle with these lovely sequins.

This one is Naomi's favourite its really bold and eye catching.

What I love most about these tops is that nobody else will have anything quite like it. Thats the beauty of customising something yourself using vintage, you get a very unique product.

Naomi is super pleased with these designs and could not wait to wear them, I think they are perfect for her, and she will get so much wear from them. 

As with all these projects you never quite know how they will wash, but so far so good, all similar projects have made it safely through the machine so these ones should to.

Maybe you are looking for a last minute very personal Christmas gift? or perhaps you have some free time over christmas, give something like this a try, it gives fairly instant satisfaction being that they are quick to do, but look amazing when finished.

Happy Stitching 

Caroline x




Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Treasured Family Time.

Treasured Family Time.