I love the look of appliqued t-shirts for kids. It must be the obvious handmade quality--so much work. Mini Boden does an especially good job I think, but the past few years as I've perused their catalogs I have thought, "I could make something like that." So instead of buying their darling t-shirts I stocked up on plain colored ones thinking I'd embellish them. It hasn't been happening. When you get right down to it, it's quite a lot of work. And if you care about the exact combination of fabrics, it could also mean extra purchases for a few scraps. I never seemed to have exactly the right selection among my leftovers. So I've gone ahead and purchased a few Mini Boden ones--love them! But I've also managed to make a few of my own: there was this first dalmatian-appliqued t-shirt (not my favorite but it scored points with Audrey at the time; she never ever wore the skirt I made with it by the way....), and the more successful dinosaur t-shirt for Audrey's birthday, and now this "Frayed Flower" for Tess.
I just happened to have all the right fabrics on hand! And it was pretty quick work too. If you'd like to make one I've got a quick tutorial and the flower template you can download free.
Click to view the tutorial.
FRAYED FLOWER APPLIQUE TUTORIAL
You will need:
- plain t-shirt
- flower applique template
- scraps of fabric large enough to cut out flower petals
- Spray adhesive (I use Krylon Spray Adhesive but if you have a product you use for sewing that will work too!)
- Coordinating thread
Before starting, print out two copies of the template (download it here). Use one to cut out the larger petal shapes and one to cut out the smaller. Don't forget to cut out the center shapes! use these templates to trace the shapes on fabric scraps of your choice and cut out all the petals. You should have 8 small, 8 larger and 2 center circles.
Then to create some stability for your stitching, cut out a piece of fusible interfacing large enough to cover the applique and iron it to the wrong side of the t-shirt:
On the right side of the t-shirt, lay out the flower design. I like to do this to check my choices and make any adjustments to the arrangement of the pieces. This is also a good time to consider your thread choices--are you going to add more color with different colors of thread or use all white?
When you are confident about the design and placement, (keep in mind that the fraying will curl the shapes on the edges a bit creating more space between them), lay out the bottom layer of the flower. This includes all the large petals and the large center and use spray adhesive to adhere the shapes to the t-shirt so you can stitch them permanently in place. Do this outside so you have enough ventilation. I carefully lifted up one shape at a time, sprayed the back side while holding it with my fingers, and then put it back in its place on the t-shirt. It was sticky, but it worked!
Now stitch the perimeter of all the shapes. Use a 1/4" seam allowance.
Now place the smaller shapes inside the larger. The stitching provides a nice guide for this. Use spray adhesive to keep them in place.
And stitch the perimeter of the smaller shapes using a 1/4" seam allowance.
That's it. You've appliqued a flower! This photo above shows the final product before washing. The top photo in this post shows the t-shirt after one washing. The fabric should continue fraying for a few washings for a fuzzier look, which is what I was going for in this case.
If you prefer not to have these shapes fray you can either use Heat'n Bond to affix the shapes and it will also stop the fraying (which is what I did for the dinosaur t-shirt) , or you can zigzag stitch the edges of all the shapes instead of stitching with a seam allowance.I think all of these options would look cute--what do you think?