Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tutorial: Raw Edge Applique Shirt

I love birthday shirts. My little ones beamed when they got their birthday shirts (here and here) last year, so I plan on making them as long as the kids will wear them. My son will get this one when her turns five next week. Of course, I had to use my new favorite technique - raw edge applique. Thank goodness Jo Ann's had their Christmas fabric out in July- the peppermint candy fabric worked perfectly with my son's Candyland birthday request. I just love how the frayed edges on the five set it off against the red and white background.

If you'd like to make your own raw edge applique birthday shirt, here's how I did it:


Pre-washed shirt (mine was $3.50 at Wal-Mart)
Fabric for applique
Spray fabric adhesive
Water soluble marking pen
Stabilizer (I used wash away stabilizer)

What to Do:

1. Using a font you like, print out whatever number you'd like to use. I printed out several sizes and held them up to the shirt to make sure I liked the size. I ended up using the font Arial Bold and a font size of 350. (I wanted the five to look similar to how he is taught to write them in school.)

2. Cut out the number leaving about 1/4 inch around the outside. Use this as a pattern and trace it onto your fabric.

Just remember to make sure that the number you cut out will face the right direction when viewed from the right side of the fabric.

3. Search through your dishes and find a plate or bowl that is about 3/4 of an inch larger than your number on both the top and the bottom. You could also use a compass to draw a circle. I just traced my plate on the wrong side of the fabric using a water-erasing fabric marker. Cut out the circle on the line.

4. Lightly spray the back of your number with fabric adhesive and center it on the right side of the circle. Don't worry about the shirt yet. It is easier to stitch the number to the circle and then stitch the circle to the shirt. I did not use stabilizer for this step.

5. Using your presser foot as a guide, stitch around the number. My stitching ended up being about 1/4 inch from the edge of the five. The exact distance doesn't really matter - just use this same presser foot and stitch settings later on when you stitch around the edge of the circle. When sewing around curves it works best to stop sewing, life the presser foot and pivot the fabric. (Quite easy if you have a Bernina with a knee lift.) I have found pivoting without lifting the foot tends to cause puckering.

6. Once the number is attached to the circle, use your scissors to snip all around the number. Sharp scissors with a pointed tip work best. Clipping all the way to the stitching is just fin.e Just be careful not to cut through your stitching line. Work slowly so you don't cut through the circle fabric either. If you are using a flannel fabric do not clip quite as close to the seam. When I've used flannel it seems to fray more and I've had some fray right through the stitching line into the design.

Once you have gotten all the way around your number, it should look something like this:

7. Cut a piece of stabilizer that is bigger than your circle, but not bigger than the width of the shirt.

8. Now it is time to attach the circle to the shirt. Place the circle on the shirt and find placement that you like. After you've decided where you want it, turn the shirt inside out. Lightly (and I mean lightly) spray the stabilizer with adhesive and stick it to the inside of the shirt.

9. Turn the shirt right side out. Make sure there are no puckers or wrinkles. If there are, turn the shirt inside out and reposition the stabilizer so it is nice and smooth.

10. Lightly spray the back of the circle with adhesive and stick it to the front of the shirt. Just like you did for the number, stitch around the outside of the circle using your presser foot for a guide. Remember to lift and pivot; it takes a bit longer but it's worth it.

11. Snip around the outside of the circle just like you did with the number. If any of your blue markings show, just spritz them with water and they will disappear.

12. If you didn't use wash away stabilizer you may need to remove it. I like the wash away stuff because it just dissolves in the washing machine.

13. Throw the shirt into the washer and then into the dryer and it should come out nicely frayed and ready to wear. If it isn't frayed enough, just throw it back in for a second washing. My photo was taken after one trip through the wash.

That's it. Your shirt should be ready for celebrating a special day.

If you make one, leave me a link in a comment so I can check it out. I'd love to see what you come up with.


Melody said...

These are sooooo cute!

Sara said...

Nice tutorial! Love the raw edge. And I wouldn't have thought to cut around it like that. Will have to try one of these days!

Allie said...

I love these. Thanks for the tute - I'm saving it for future reference!

Very Shannon said...

So cute! Love it!

Ellen said...

OH, thank you thank you! I was going to email you to ask and you read my mind ;)

Mum-me said...

Very nice indeed.

Sam said...

Good tutorial, thanks. I shall add this to my list :-)

Jessica said...

This is great--I'll certainly make a few (maybe even for myself!)

Manoute said...

Your Tshirts are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the tutorial.

stitching under oaks said...

I'm bookmarking this one! thanks for that great little guy is turning 8 in January. He's gonna need an 8 shirt for sure.

Karen Bosch said...

What an awesome tutorial! Love the shaggy edges!

UK lass in US said...

What a great idea - although I'm usually lost in a pile of taxes paperwork in the run-up to my kids' birthdays. I should have planned my timing better - or be more organised with our finances throughout the year...

Emily said...

So cute :) The result from cutting the little slits is amazing after the wash process.

Renee said...

I love the frayed edges! it looks fantastic. Does it survive lots of washes?

Steph Jacobson said...

This is so cute--I want to make a shirt for my son's third birthday this Saturday. Thanks for sharing your tutorial!

Steph Jacobson said...

I know I already commented on your post, but I wanted to share a picture of the shirt I made my son using your tutorial--
Thanks again for posting this tutorial. I love the way his shirt turned out!

Megan said...

I love this tutorial! Exactly what I wanted when I started thinking about appliques!
Here's a pic of my first one I did on a tote bag! :D

Claire said...

I had a breakdown tonight trying to sew a zigzag stitch around my image (different machine than my normal Challenge one... and it only works when I try a sample, never on the actual shirt) BUT I really wanted a raw edge anyway... and sometimes searching for something online can get frustrating too! (I was frustrated by the tutorial I read before yours, but it was all about the satin stitch which I can't do and I don't like it anyway)
-Claire, of "Claire Was Here" fame

Anonymous said...

Love this idea and cannot wait to try this. hint/suggestion for when you are making your stencils for numbers/letters -- on the font section you can also choose "outline" so it will just give you the outline of the letter rather than filling it in and using tons of ink! I use it all the time to make homemade stencils for my son's various school projects! Thanks again for the creative ideas!