Saturday, December 6, 2008

Reverse applique on a tee

I have a new obsession- reverse applique. I came across this tutorial recently and have tried it three times, each time with wonderful results! There are other tutorials out there for this process, but this one is clear, concise and not at all confusing (unlike some of mine).

My first effort was in making the hand-turkey shirt for Hakan (my 2 1/2 year-old son) for Thanksgiving, which turned out embarrassingly similar to the original from the tutorial. Hey, I openly admit that I am an excellent copy-cat! I was pleased, though, that I was able to use the turkey to cover an ugly grease stain on the front of this tee, which had kept me from putting it on him unless we were staying at home all day. Would it be weird if he wore this other than on Thanksgiving??

Does this bird silhouette look familiar? My second attempt was a little (okay, a lot) trickier because I was stingy with the printed fabric. The scrap I used was juuust big enough to fit the silhouette, but it was a nightmare to get it positioned perfectly underneath the bird design on top. More than once I thought I had it, would start to stitch, then realize I'd run off of my woven fabric and would have to unpick what I'd done and reposition the printed fabric. SO! Heed the advice to use a piece that's plenty big enough for your design!!!

Finally, I spruced up a 25 cent turtleneck for my five-year-old and am in love with how it turned out! This little top was kinda boring, so I thought I'd use this new found technique to add a little bit of flare to it. Originally I was going to put the birdy on the chest, off to one side. But when I noticed a stain towards the bottom I just knew it was meant to go there. :)

A little hand embroidery adds some more detail.

The back doesn't look pretty, but who cares about that?
Just a couple of things I did differently after my first try-

  • I'd suggest tracing your design with washable ink or chalk rather than pinning the paper template to the tee. Fewer pins to negotiate around is always a bonus, and you won't have to worry about the template shifting as you stitch around it. I stitched slightly outside my drawn line as well.
  • If you have them, use pinking shears to trim away the excess woven fabric from the back when you're finished to eliminate fraying in the wash.
  • For my hand embroidery I used a sturdy interfacing pinned to the inside of the tee to stabilize it as I stitched (because that's all I had), but you could probably use a dissolving stabilizer or something more lightweight if you wanted.
  • Try to pre-shrink your woven fabric (and the tee if it's brand new) before you create your applique. It's never fun to go to all that trouble just to have the applique shrink and pucker after it gets washed and dried for the first time. I didn't do this for my last applique and luckily it still came out okay, but it's better to be on the safe side.

I have a few more thrifted shirts that I want to try this on for the kids. This really is an easy technique- give it a try!!


eve said...

i totally love these! yet another thing to add to my to-do list.. i admire your ambition to try new things.

Amy Bahnmiller said...

okay, so I saw this shirt on Pyper at the meet your teacher thing and thought it was some pricey botique piece! Girl you are so talented! I love your ideas!