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  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

How to Make an Appliqued T-Shirt, Age 5

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

I made shorts on another blog and I thought it would be really cool to applique a plain T-Shirt with a design representing the fabric. I chose an anchor as the fabric range I used is very nautical.

Time it takes to make: 1-2 Hours

Skill level : Beginner/Intermediate

You will need:

A Plain Purchased T-Shirt

Scraps of fabric, I used bits from the New England Fat Quarter Pack Approx. 5”x5”

Design to trace or Brother ScanNCut

Fusible Web/Bonding Agent for the Applique

Stitch and Tear Temporary Stabilizer


Embroidery/Darning Foot

Sewing machine

Step-by-step instructions:

Before you start your project, gather all your supplies and have a quick read through the instructions just to familiarise yourself with the terminology. It is always a good idea to wash your fabric before you begin work to eliminate any possibility of shrinkage at a later date. Iron your fabric with a suitable temperature to ensure it is flat and easy to work with. You would be amazed with the difference in size a few creases can make.

Step 1

Select your fabrics for your appliqued design from your fabric stash. Roughly cut to size.

Step 2

Following the manufacture’s instructions fuse the bonding agent or web onto the wrong side of your scrap of fabric. Normally this is done with an iron. This is double faced adhesive and later will be ironed into position

Step 3

If cutting with scissors, draw the design onto the wrong side of the fabric/fusible web remembering to mirror the design if you wish to use any words. Cut out the applique along the design lines and then remove the paper backing. Position right side up on the front of the T-shirt.

Step 4

If using the ScanNCut, make sure the high-tack adhesive fabric support sheet is attached to the standard mat. Remove the paper backing from the bonding agent and place the fabric on the mat fabric face down, using the spatula to remove any wrinkles. Several pieces of fabric can be placed around the mat at the same time if you wish to add other colours to your applique.

Step 5

Scan the mat and select the desired designs from those already loaded on the machine or one which has been downloaded. I chose one already loaded on the Brother ScanNCut, the anchor, AR-G008 which picked up the design from several of the fabrics within the New England Range. Increase the size to 5” high and 4.38” wide.

Step 6

Carry out a test cut to ensure that the correct pressure and blade setting are selected. Generally on a craft cotton with fusible web applied a cut pressure of 3 and a blade setting of 4 is used but each machine will have slight variances, so always carry out a test piece. Cut out all the elements of the design.

Step 7

Once cut, position right side up on the front of the T-shirt. When you are happy with the positioning, iron in place, bonding your fabrics with the front of the T-shirt.

Step 8

Position Stitch and Tear stabilizer behind the background fabric, this will help to keep the work stable while you are stitching. As the name suggests, you will tear this away when you have finished or you can leave in place for additional body. Pin in place.

Step 9

For free machine embroidery, loosen the thumbscrew and remove the presser foot holder with foot attached. Attach the embroidery or darning foot to your machine and tighten the thumbscrew firmly with the screwdriver. Lower the feed dogs before you start sewing. Practice on some scrap fabric as this technique can be quite tricky at first but once you’ve mastered it your only limit is your imagination.

Step 10

When stitching you can use thread which blends with the fabric or make a feature by using vivid colours, shiny rayons or metallic threads which can look very effective and give a further dimension. Sew round your design several times as this adds further interest and covers up any wobbly stitching!

Step 11

Now, if you have chosen to do so, tear away the Stitch and Tear from the inside of the T-shirt.

Step 12

When you have finished your applique remove the embroidery foot, attach the presser foot holder and then the normal utility foot. Raise the feed dogs, these will not physically raise until you start sewing again so don’t panic if you don’t see them come up straight away. It is always best to do this after you have finished your project and then when you start sewing at a later date you don’t think there is a problem with your machine.

Congratulations! Your T-shirt is now finished.

Made by Bernadette Wainwright for The Craft Cotton Company 2018

Find her on Instagram @bernie_sew_whats_new

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