Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Appliqued T-Shirts

Have you tried to pick out boys clothing lately? It's pretty bad unless you want to dress your child in punk or goth, neither of which will I do. Believe it or not, this also really limits the shirts I can or will purchase for my children. Shirts are loaded with rude words and graphic pictures these days, and when you have an 8 year old who is tall enough to wear size 10 and 12 clothing it makes it even harder! 
Late this winter I spotter some plain colored v-neck t-shirts in the boys department of Kmart for $2. I snatched quite a few up for each child and decided I’d appliqué them for the upcoming warmer weather.
The fun part is deciding what to put on each shirt which isn’t too hard for Jayden. He’s still very happy with kiddie type designs and is pleased as punch when I list off ideas like silly monsters with crazy eyes, mustaches, or even cowboys. Morgan is a bit tricker because he prefers things a bit more grownup these days.
In the end we decided on the following designs for Jayden: Silly monster, cookie monster, cowboy, & an Angry Bird. Morgan: Angry Bird, neck tie, lizard, & a Pokemon. 

Despite using Cars material Morgan was pretty keen on his neck-tie shirt, all though I'm pretty certain I sewed slightly off kilter. No one else seemed to notice though so no biggie.

One of the tricks to appliquéing directly onto the t-shirt is to use a bit of interfacing under the design so that the sewing doesn't pucker up. I tend to have interfacing on hand and just cut a piece of it and pin or iron {sometimes both} to the inside of the t-shirt. 

Then I turn the t-shirt right side out and adhere my design down. I prefer to use Heat & Bond because I feel it holds everything in place better then the visoflex, but either will work. The safety pins that you see are helping to hold the interfacing in place while I sew the appliqué down. I really love that crazy spotted monster!

After you've sewn it down just trim the excess interfacing. I use a seam ripper to poke a hole in the bigger sections of interfacing on my designs. This helps keep the shirt lighter in the summer. Just be careful that when you poke the hole you aren't going through the t-shirt!!

I didn't clear out the horns or eye area because I wasn't into all the fiddly bit considering I couldn't find my smaller scissors. But just removing the excess on the outside and some of the inside reduces the weight. I trimmed the outer area with my normal sewing scissors, again being careful not to trim into the t-shirt. 

Trim any threads, shake it out and you're done! I used a satin stitch around the appliqué because I like the finished look. It's just a really tight zig-zag. You have to adjust the width and length of your zig-zag stitch until you get it where you are happy with it. I usually practice on scrap and avoid satin stitching around pupils or other small round areas. For the black pupils above I just did a normal straight stitch to make sure they didn't fall off. 

I had to make my own pattern for the crazy Angry Bird t-shirt the boys wanted. It really wasn't too difficult because there's plenty of free coloring sheets out there you can convert into a simple pattern. My machine was hating the cheap black thread I had, so I only finished one of them. I need to get better thread and a new pack of needles before attempting the other one. Three t-shirts down 5 more to go! 


The Zookeeper said...

Love the shirts. I made Lexi a turkey shirt like this last year and it was too cute!!

Diana said...

Love this! I've never done this before, so can you give me a little more step by step? Do you cut the material & the Heat & Bond the same size and then just iron? Then after ironing, you sew around it?

And I know my kiddo would LOVE the angry birds one - I think I need to do this!

Thanks for the ideas!

Kendra said...

Diana, here's how I do it:

1. Trace your pattern onto the Heat & Bond

2. Cut out the pattern, but not too closely to the exact lines you made.

3. Iron it onto the fabric you are using {ie, the black for eyebrows, orange for beak, etc.}

4. Cut that out exactly on the traced lines around your heat & bond.

5. Position each piece on your t-shirt. Once happy with it peel the paper from the heat & Bond off, place each piece back onto the shirt where you had it & iron them in place.

6. Sew around it by hand or with a machine. :)

Would pictures be more helpful? I still have another Angry Bird shirt to do and I can take pictures while I do it. ;)

Diana said...

Thanks, Kendra!

Your directions explain it well, although if you feel like & have the time for taking photos, it would be much appreciated. :)

I showed them to my son and he wants an Angry Bird in each color. He's even planning things like 3 blue ones on one shirt & a white one with an egg under it. LOL I think I need to find some cheap shirts & some time!

Another question - did you use a pattern for the monster? He's really cute!