Friday, March 12, 2010

St.Patty's day shirt- applique tutorial

I get asked sometimes about how to make applique shirts. My kids have several and I always tell people how easy they are and how anybody can make it. You don't even have to know how to sew or have a sewing machine. I was getting ready to make the kids St. Patty's Day shirts so I thought I'd take more pictures than normal along the way. I've written about different appliques before and described the process, but here it is all laid out- perhaps easier to follow. Here are some past applique projects: anchor, tie shirt, lion shirt, loopy leaf shirt, dinosaur and giraffe shirts.

First, you need some iron on wonder under material. It comes from the fabric store, for about 1.99 a yard. It's in the interfacing section. It's paper on one side and a slightly rough, slightly tacky on the other side. It's an iron on material. When in doubt, ask the fabric cutter gal. It's sold by the yard, so you'll need to have them cut it for you anyway. This is one brand. I don't think it's the brand I usually use. The plastic wrap looks different than normal.

You'll also need a piece of clothing. We prefer to use stained up shirts. I don't know what is on here- but we get oil like stains on our clothes from time to time. I'd love to know why!
1. Draw on the paper side of the iron on paper. You can trace easily with this, or freehand. I freehand.... no body's gonna tell me what to do. 2. Then, place tacky side of the paper onto the backside of the material you are going to use for the applique. You can use about any fabric you like. Felt, fleece, jersey knit, or cotton will work best. 3. iron- no steam. The paper will stick to the fabric. Don't put your iron on the sticky side of the paper- you'll regret it, you'll curse, you'll cry. Try not to get it on your ironing board cover either.

4. Cut along the lines you drew. Peel off the paper backing. There should be a slightly tacky layer on the fabric you are uncovering.

5. Position on shirt and iron again.

Now it's time to sew on the applique. You have some options here. It used to be very popular to use puffy paint at this point and go over the edges with that. I might have had more than a few sweatshirts like that! I prefer to sew. You can do a simple straight stitch or zig zag on the edge. If you wan to zig zag- you can do a loose wide zaig zag with no other steps. If you want a tight zig zag that looks like embroidery you would find on a work polo, there are other steps involved. I'll have to show that another time. (Here's a project , and another, where I did that)
Here is a picture of sewing a straight stitch close to the edge. Will the very edges fray? Well, a little. I think it adds a nice look. It doesn't fray a lot. 6. Slowly, with a a slightly small stitch length, sew along the edge, on the applique fabric. Reverse to lock your stitches when necessary. You can certainly hand sew this part too. Just sew a little line by hand around the shape.

As you can see if you look closely at the stitches, it's tricky to go around curved edges smoothly. The light sure picked up the stitches, because you can not see them nearly as well in person.

7. Put it on the little one you love.... Mine insists her shirt can not be worn until next week. We'll share a picture then.