DIY {BE...} Appliqued Tees

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This is going to be one of the very few tutorials I post over the summer and I'm really excited to share it with you. My good friend Laura of Laura Winslow Photography and I were chatting over dinner a few weeks ago how our little guys (both just 5 years old) are *already* starting to feel pressure from friends and classmates to act a certain way, hang out with certain kids, or do certain things. We both feel strongly (really, I'm sure most parents do) that it's our job to give them the confidence and sense of self worth that they need to be comfortable with who they are. We came up with these designs and this super fun shoot to help our kiddos learn to embrace who they are and let their unique personalities really shine. 

Laura is not only an amazing photographer, but she is the one person who can really get my kids to be themselves in front of the camera.  They had such a blast with this shoot and it was so fun to see Laura in action. I'm pretty sure her mantra is BE AWESOME - because she totally is. To see more photos from our fun day (and to read a far more eloquent reasoning behind this idea), you can visit Laura's blog here. Take your time. It's pretty amazing.

We thought it would be fun to create a tutorial of this and share these three designs with you all. Yay for you! Aside from the designs you see in these photos, you can create so many others...BE UNIQUE, BE YOURSELF, BE HAPPY, etc. I kept these designs short so I didn't have to sew too many letters. 

What You'll Need:

Blank t-shirt, one piece, or tank (pre-washed)
Felt or fabric piece for the applique (I prefer to use eco-fi felt by Kunin - it holds up great in the wash)
  Sewing Machine or embroidery floss and needle
Scissors (small scissors with a pointy tip work best)
Fusible webbing
  Templates for the applique (download here - BE RAD, BE COOL, BE KIND). Adjust the size of your template as needed. 

 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. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me and I can help you. 

Getting Started:

The first thing you'll want to do is take the template and place it under a sheet of your fusible webbing. Take your pencil and trace your letters on to the webbing. Any time you applique letters or numbers, you'll want to trace them in the reverse since you will flip them when you adhere them to your garment.

 Next you'll want to iron your 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. Peel off the paper backing.

Place the letters 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 ironed BE first and then KIND second. Again be sure to use the wool setting with no steam. Check to be sure that the appliques are firmly adhered to the shirt.

At this point, you can either hand stitch the letters using a basic straight stitch (great tutorial here) or you can use a sewing machine. I usually prefer to hand stitch but for this project I used my machine. If you use your machine, you'll do a running stitch just inside the border of each letter.

Once the letters are stitched, trim the thread and you are finished.

Easy, fun, cute, encouraging.

 As always, if you get stuck on a step, feel free to let me know so I can help!
A HUGE thank you to Laura Winslow Photography for these amazing photos and designs.


Oh Fiddlesticks! said...

LOVE when we get to see the outcome of an amazing collaboration of 2 INCREDIBLE + AWESOME + LOVING + CREATIVE women. Y'all continue to inspire me.

I am so moved by your session, due to the fact that my Paisley is starting kinder too. May we continue to encourage them on their paths to just BE.

Thank YOU sweet Grace!

Grace said...

Oh sweet, M! You are so, so kind. I just love you to pieces! One of these days, we'll all have to do some fun collaboration together - in Austin. :)

Good luck to your sweet P! I can't believe our kiddos are starting kindy soon.


Laura said...

What an amazingly fun shoot, as they all are with you, my Gracie!! You are so awesome + I treasure our opportunities to be creative together!! Love ya! Melissa, we MUST head to Austin SOON!!!

OneWord said...

Cute! So many possibilities! :)

amanda b. said...

this is great! will be making mr. h one very soon. xoxo.

Mindy said...

these are wonderful! as a mom of a little boy with autism i always worried about how others will treat my son as time goes on. going to make him some of these :) just wondering if there was another way to download the patterns without having to sign up & pay for a membership to scibd?

Grace said...

Thank you everyone! This was such a fun project to work on with Laura. If you all make any, I'd love to see how they turn out.

@mindy, although you do have to create an account with scribd, I'm fairly certain that it's free (I've never paid to use it). If that doesn't work for you, send me an email at and I'll email the templates to you. Your little guy would definitely rock one of these tees! :)

bonnie, momma said...

Where does the felt come from....I looked on the site for the brand you had listed but I didn't see how it could be ordered... Thanks

Grace said...

@bonnie, can buy the felt at Joann. If you don't have a Joann, it can be ordered from Amazon - just enter "Kunin Rainbow Classic Felt" in the search. If you still have trouble locating some, let me know. Best of luck!

Katie Lewis said...

These are so fun! Thank you!

Denisa Cretu said...

It is the best time to make plans for the future and it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it. Great blog. Thanks!

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