Crafty by Nature

Crafty by Nature

Make a Leaf-Printed Onesie for Your Little Sprout

comments (1) April 27th, 2009     

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Jen_W Jennifer Worick, contributor
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Whether you use one leaf and some embroidery or a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and different paints, you can create one-of-a-kind onesies.
The finished onesie for your little sprout.
Painting the underside of the leaf captures more detail when pressing.
Whether you use one leaf and some embroidery or a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and different paints, you can create one-of-a-kind onesies.

Whether you use one leaf and some embroidery or a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and different paints, you can create one-of-a-kind onesies.

Photo: Jennifer Worick

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.


Whether you use one leaf and some embroidery or a bunch of eucalyptus leaves and different paints, you can create one-of-a-kind onesies.

You’ll need:

  • Nontoxic fabric paint
  • Leaf
  • 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
  • Scissors
  • 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.


If you don't have a brayer, you can use a mini rolling pin or even an empty wine bottle to press your leaf.

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.


Squeeze some paint onto your foam brush.

Painting the underside of the leaf captures more detail when pressing.

Parchment paper will keep your brayer and the fabric from getting gunky with paint.

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.


A bit of embroidery floss can really elevate your handiwork.

Using an embroidery hoop stabilizes the fabric while you work.

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.


Backstitching creates a seamless line around your leaf.

Bring it back up through the first stitch and between the two strands of floss.


Bring your needle up through the previous stitch to create a pretty back or split stitch.

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.)


The finished leaf.

Cute, huh?

Tip: Look for sales on T-shirts and onesies and keep a stack on hand for quick and easy baby gifts.

In the future, you can find me at my website or blogs, Things I Want to Punch in the Face and Prairie Tales. My new book, Backcountry Betty: Crafting with Style, is in stores now.

posted in: fabric, wearable, gifts, baby, clothing, stamping, leaf

Comments (1)

Belladatura writes: Super cute!
Posted: 12:28 pm on April 27th
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