Make a Leaf-Printed Onesie for Your Little Sproutcomments (2) April 27th, 2009
In my new book Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style, I feature all sorts of projects using natural found items (pine cones, beach glass, feathers, etc.), and one of my favorite and most versatile projects is the leaf-motif T-shirt. With just a favorite leaf and some fabric paint, you can embellish all sorts of clothing. Stamp leaves all around the hem of a skirt or just use one as a focal point of a T-shirt. The possibilities are many, and since I needed to whip up a cute baby gift, I thought I’d stamp a bright leaf on a onesie. Then I went one step further and outlined the leaf with a bit of embroidery. I think the result is super cute.
- Nontoxic fabric paint
- Brayer or small rolling pin
- 1-inch foam brush
- Two small pieces of cardboard
- Small piece of parchment paper
- Embroidery hoop
- 3 to 4 feet embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle
- Fray Check
Step 1: Prewash your onesie and gather your materials. I like to use a sturdy, flat leaf: Holly, maple, ginko, and eucalyptus leaves work nicely.
Step 2: Spread newspaper or a piece of cardboard on your work surface. Slip a piece of cardboard inside the onesie, under the area to be stamped. Squeeze out a glob of fabric paint onto a foam brush, and spread a thick layer on the underside of a leaf (the veins are more pronounced). Carefully position your leaf, paint side down. Place a small piece of parchment paper over the leaf, and firmly roll your brayer over the leaf once or twice.
Step 3: Remove the parchment paper and carefully lift up the leaf. Leave the cardboard in place and allow the paint to dry, about 24 hours (or whatever your paint bottle says). You can wash the onesie after 72 hours.
Step 4: To embroider, place a small embroidery hoop around area you are going to embroider to keep the fabric taut.
Thread your needle with several feet of embroidery floss. Starting at the stem of the leaf, backstitch around the perimeter. Pass your needle up through the onesie, leaving a tail about 3 inches on the underside of your fabric. Pass the needle back through the fabric about 1/4 inch away from the first hole.
Bring it back up through the first stitch and between the two strands of floss.
Now, sort of jumping over the second hole, make another 1/4-inch stitch, backtrack, and bring your needle up through the second stitch. Continue in this manner to create a cool continuous border around the leaf. I added a tiny stem by backstitching about an inch at the bottom of the leaf coming back up, ending at the same place I started. Clip the excess floss. Knot both the beginning strands together and then the end strands together, dab with Fray Check, and clip the ends. (If you want, you can create a dotted line up the middle of the leaf to further define the leaf.)
Tip: Look for sales on T-shirts and onesies and keep a stack on hand for quick and easy baby gifts.
Crafty by Nature
Inspiration for crafting with natural resources.