DIY Birthday Shirt Appliqué


Oliver just turned 2! And so did my niece. 🙂 I wanted to make them birthday shirts because a) they’re cute and b) I got a sewing machine for Christmas that I have yet to use.

I confess that I have never really used a sewing machine before. When I became obsessed with doing crafts I realized that having a sewing machine would open up a whole new world of crafts to me. Now that I actually have a machine, I’m a little intimidated by it so I decided to start with something simple like sewing an appliqué on a shirt.

Long story short: if I can do it, you can do it.

What you need:

  • a shirt
  • some fabric
  • an iron
  • a sewing machine
  • Iron on adhesive (I used Heat n Bond)

Step 1:

Trace your design or number onto the smooth side of the adhesive. IMPORTANT: If you are doing numbers or letters you must reverse them!!! You can do this in MS Word by using a text box and flipping it 180 degrees (see tutorial here) or if you’re not very tech savvy, you can just flip your paper over, trace the number on the back with a black marker and voila! Now you have a reversed number that you can trace onto the adhesive.


Step 2:

Cut out your number, but not exactly flush with the lines. Then iron it onto the BACK of your fabric.


Step 3:

Now cut it out along the lines, peel off the backing from the adhesive and iron it onto the shirt (see, now your number is the right way around).


Step 4:

Now sew along the edges of the appliqué. Your mantra should be slow and steady. I realized while doing this that I sew much the same way that I drive. I need to learn that my foot doesn’t always need to be  pushing the pedal to the floor. 🙂

When I got to the corners I literally just rotated the shirt 90 degrees and continued with the stitch and it turned out well. For the curved parts I just took it slow and rotated as I went.

This was a quick little craft, and I loved the way that it turned out. It looks almost store bought. Almost. And the great thing about it is that even if my sewing doesn’t hold up the iron on adhesive will.

Here’s Oliver sporting his. He loved it, which is all that really matters. 🙂

Oliver_20130706_3249 copy


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