DIY Mustache Love Applique

Sunday, February 5, 2012
A few readers asked me where I got Oliver's t-shirt that he's wearing in the photos from my valentine's banner tutorial. When I explained that it was a tee I designed back when I was still selling children's clothes, they asked for a tutorial. So... here you go!

(For those of you who are cursing me for perpetuating the never ending mustache craze, you can easily swap out the mustache for a heart or something else - heck, you can even put a bird on it.)

Like my other applique tutorials, this one is pretty easy - it follows all the same steps as the others. 

  • Blank one piece, t-shirt, tank, etc. (pre-washed for shrinkage)
  • Sheet of felt in the color(s) of your choice - for kids' projects, I strongly recommend eco-fi felt by Kunin. It's made from recycled bottles and holds up really well in the wash.
  • Heat n Bond  or other fusible webbing
  • Scissors (small pointy ones are best - I use these)
  • Embroidery floss and needle
  • Template - download here

Getting Started 
 (Since I use Heat n Bond, my instructions will follow Heat n Bond's instructions. If you are using a different fusible web, simply change out my instructions with the instructions on the package.)

Print out your template and place it underneath your fusible webbing. Trace the design onto your fusible webbing.

Next you'll want to iron your mustache love webbing onto your felt or fabric. For Heat n Bond, set it on the "wool" setting (NO STEAM). Iron the design onto the felt or fabric for about 3 or so seconds so it looks like this:

Carefully cut out your letters and mustache.

Take your appliques and peel off the wax paper layer from the back. Place the pieces exactly where you want them on the t-shirt with the glossy/fusible webbing side face down. Iron the appliques on to the t-shirt pressing for about 10 seconds. I like to use a scrap piece of fabric over the applique when I press it just to be safe. Again be sure to use the wool setting with no steam. Check to be sure that the appliques are firmly adhered to the shirt.

Now that your love is attached to the t-shirt, you're ready to start the applique process. You can do this with a machine or by hand. If I have the time, I prefer to stitch by hand - it adds a cool element to the applique. To stitch by hand, cut about 3-4 feet of your embroidery thread. Your skein of thread will have six strands. Separate two of the strands from the piece you've cut and thread them through your needle.

For this t-shirt, I use a straight stitch. It's a basic stitch and great for a beginner. You basically bring the needle up through the t-shirt and back down making straight little stitches about 2 cm in from the edge of your applique.

A great video tutorial for the straight stitch is available here. The nice thing about sewing coordinating thread (floss) on felt or fabric is that it's hard to see so it's very forgiving if you're a beginning stitcher. If you're an experienced hand stitcher, it is fun to experiment with contrasting threads and different stitches.
Once you've finished the stitching, you are done!

You've made a fun little piece that is easy to care for - machine wash cold inside out/tumble dry low.

As always, if you get stuck or have any questions, comment here or message me at Happy stitching!


Sam Adams said...

Where do you get your felt?! I checked etsy and it was kinda pricey and limited.

Grace said...

Hi Sam. I buy my felt at Joann's for about $0.30 a sheet (which is plenty for this project) or $4.99 a yard (will last you forever and is often on sale for half that price). If you aren't near a Joann's you can order it online from amazon, Joann's, or joggles. Good luck!

katie said...

o0o these are scrummy gonna make this!
Thanks for such a novel idea x

Katie from

monicutte said...

So cute!! (:
I love this idea!
Thanks for sharing!!


Sam Adams said...

Thanks so much, I didn't bother to check joann for something eco friendly. pick up a few sheets today.

Grace said...

Awesome, Sam! Let me know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks so much for sharing a tutorial on this mustache shirt! I love, love, love it! I just made a V-day banner using your tutorial - turned out awesome. Looking forward to making this shirt for my son this weekend! By the way, where did you get this yellow t-shirt? It looks soft and has a vintage look to it - which I really like! - Jen

Grace said...

You are welcome, Chirpy! This little tee is an American Apparel organic tee. I love the color and feel of it. Good luck - let me know how it turns out for you. Cheers!

Rachel L said...

Thanks so much for sharing this amazing tutorial! I can't wait to try it again with felt!

Tricia Williams said...

I just love this!! Thanks for sharing!!

Grace said...

You're very welcome!! It's a fun little design.

Rachel, you totally rocked it!! I love how the tee turned out!

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