Sunday, July 17, 2011

Easy Applique Tutorial

I Love Monograms
I love Monograms, appliques, and anything else that will personalize an item. Between all of my girlfriends and me, probably 50% of our possessions have some form of "identification" sewn onto them! I have always admired the beautiful appliques on baby items: shirts, blankets, bibs, bags.... and have always paid entirely too much for them, but I just can't help myself.

I've been crafting up a storm for Grayson's birthday party (In three weeks!! Eeek!). I have almost everything made, including her party dress which I am in love with. Her dress was made using a pattern (weird for me, I know) that I won during the "Sew, Mama, Sew" giveaway day event. It is from THIS pattern from the Tie-Dye Diva on Etsy. I have used her patterns before and love them!

I realized that my child is not going to tolerate being in a dress at her party, because she has a hard time crawling in a dress. So I wanted her to have a "1" birthday shirt to wear so she would  be more comfortable. I was going to pay to have one made, then I realized I had a hot pink shirt and extra dress fabric...and I was going to try this myself!

I gathered my materials and got to work! I love the way it turned out. 

It's not perfect and I still need some practice, but I love it and Gray will look adorable in it at her party! (Cake smash anyone???)

Shirt/pants/bag/ whatever you're adding the applique to
Material for the applique
sewing items

Start by creating a pattern for your applique. I was making a "1"shirt, so I printed off a number 1 in a font I liked. Make sure it's not too curvy or involved until you get the hang of the stitching! I cut the one out of my paper. Than traced it onto the back of my heat and bond backwards! Your image will be flipped so make sure you trace it the wrong way so you're applique will be correct.

Cut out around your heat-n-bond and iron it to the wrong side of your fabric. Follow the package directions for bonding. This green and pink strip is from her party dress!!

Once it is bonded and cool, use your scissors to cut out your applique shape.

Your image should look just like you want it to. Peel the paper backing off of your heat and bond leaving the other "glue" on the fabric. See the shiny side below.

Make sure your image is centered where you want it on your shirt, etc. and iron it on. Now it will stay in place while you're stitching.

I used a plain zig-zag stitch with the setting below on my machine. I made a medium width stitch, very close together to get the smooth overlapped applique stitching.

Make sure your fabric edge is centered. If you have an applique foot, this will really help you see where you're sewing, but a standard presser foot will work too. I didn't even know I had an applique foot, until last night when I was digging through my sewing drawer!

The key is to sew very slowly and not pull your fabric. Let it feed itself so you get a nice rounded edge on your applique. Try not to let your fabric pucker. Mine did a little bit and made one of the corners look a little weird. Lesson Learned. When you get to a corner, make sure your needle is in your fabric when you turn, and help your fabric slowly turn the corner to get a nice edge.

Here is the finished view from the back. Not as messy as I thought it would  be!

And the finished shirt! I love it and it's perfect for the party, especially since it matches her dress! I may have created a monster...I will be adding cuteness to Everything!!

Gray was kind enough to model it for me. Then I immediately took it off because I'm still in denial that she's turning one!

I hope you enjoy making your own personalized appliques!
Happy Crafting!

Here are a couple of party pics with her enjoying her shirt...before she got cake on it.


  1. I like seeing all the crafty things people can do. I'm always in awe. I don't sew but it is on my list of things to do/learn when my nest is empty.

    ~ Mona : )
    Mona’s Milestones

  2. Stopping by from a Monday Hop! I am your newest follower =] Please stop by my blog and follow back =] Thank you and have a nice week!
    - Cassondra / Mama's Passions

  3. That is super cute!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog! Im a new follower via the Monday Blog Hop!

  4. Love it. Its super cute! Following from the Mom Blog Monday hop!

  5. I've always been too afraid I would mess those up but I think I can do it! Nice tutorial!

    Following from the Monday blog hop!

  6. Maybe you can make AO's shirts now! :)

  7. That's SO cute!! It'd make a great personalized baby gift too.

    I found your blog through the Monkey Around Blog Hop. If you're interested, you can read all about our journey to becoming debt free and enjoying a simple life at

  8. I wish I had some sort of talent to be creative. i unfortunately was not given that gene! Very cute t-shirt and model!

  9. Following via GFC, found you on Monkey Around. :)

  10. Good Idea Kristen!! I didn't even think of that!

  11. I'm grabbing your avatar. Visit my blog ang check out my blog bucket!

  12. Thanks so much for the tutorial! That really does look easy enough that I could tackle it! Lol. It turned out very cute! --Christine @ Why We Love Green, visiting from Voiceboks

  13. I have tried doing a similar applique, but I can't figure out how to turn the shirt a complete 360 degrees without messing up the stitching. Any suggestions?

  14. Darling idea for your little girl! Put a lightweight stabilizer on the back before you applique and that will eliminate some of your issues.


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