Monday, July 30, 2012

Sewing: Frayed Flower Applique T-Shirt (Tutorial)

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.


You will need:
  • plain t-shirt
  • 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?


Federica said...

Hallo! nella sua semplicità è meraviglioso! Proprio come le margherite, fiori semplici ma adorabili! Complimenti hai sempre delle bellissime idee! Ciao

Sandy said...

This is so cute, I love it! I have never used the fusible interfacing before. Is there a brand you can recommend? Also, do you need to tear it away when you are done sewing?

Tammy said...

Very cute!

This summer has been a "dress summer" all the way: t-shirts and skirts are second best, but not definitely not preferred to my 3-year old. :) So I've whipped up several play dresses for her and she's a happy camper. I'll have to keep this tutorial in mind...maybe she'll like t-shirts some day down the road? :D

~ko said...

Adorable :) I think I'll be trying this in the near future! Thanks for sharing :)

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy said...

lovely Anneliese. I love that you kept it frayed. So cute!

Anneliese said...

@Sandy: I use Pellon brand of fusible interfacing. I love fusible! Never use the other. I didn't tear it away when I was finished sewing. After a lot of washing if it curls at he edges I might--it would be ok either way. Thanks for asking!

Sandra said...

Hei, I really like this, hope I find a whit tee to try it soon! Thanks for sharing.

Bari Jo said...

Another fun idea! I am a bit intimidated regarding trying to fit the little t-shirt under the presser foot to stitch around the petals - but you make it look easy! It sure is a cute t-shirt! Another tutorial I hope to use for relatives and some day granddaughters!!! Thank you! xoxo

klee1 said...

Just when I think you've come up with the cutest come up with yet another. I can't wait to make this adorable shirt for my granddaughters. Thank you do much for being do creative and for sharing your creations with us.

klee1 said...

Just when I think you've come up with the cutest come up with yet another. I can't wait to make this adorable shirt for my granddaughters. Thank you do much for being do creative and for sharing your creations with us.

CateyG said...

Great post. I've been mulling over some cute designs that I'd like to applique to shirts for my son and daughter, but wasn't sure how to do it. This gave me some great guidance!

Cambria Laine said...

I use (double sided) heat n bond for the appliqués themselves! No spray adhesive! I iron small bits of fabric large enough for my design onto the non paper covered side, then trace my designs on the paper backing. Cut out. Peel the paper backing away, place in position and iron down! My daughter hates the interfacing inside shirts on her stomach and the edges tend to curl which makes it itchy & bunchy.

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