How To Make Customized Occasion T's

comments (6) July 12th, 2013     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Im all ready for the Patch family reunion!
Im all ready for the Patch family reunion!

I'm all ready for the Patch family reunion!

Summer is a season of celebrations! Whether you're planning a party or simply a gift for a graduation, wedding, birth or holiday, here's a project that can suit any occasion. Lots of people buy new T-shirts and have them printed with family names and dates as souvenirs for reunions, weddings or picnics. I know this because I've seen hundreds of these T's on the racks at thrift stores. In the spirit of Do-It-Yourself and reducing our impact on the earth, why not upcycle thrifted shirts into unique works of art? You might find that everyone wants in on the fun!

What You'll Need:
T-shirt,
Scraps of T-shirt fabric
Marking pen
Scissors

  Little is needed to make these cool T's.

1. Draw your numbers and letters. Using a disappearing-ink marking pen, sketch out the letters of whatever you want to say. Think names, dates, hometowns, schools, mottos... just remember you have to sew each letter on! So keep it fairly simple, like a sports team jersey.

  Draw the letters so that you can cut them out.

2. Cut them out. With your sharp fabric scissors, carefully cut out each letter. Lay them out on the shirt and pin in place. [Note: You could use a fabric stabilizer such as Wonder Under to adhere the letters to the shirt. This would make the sewing part easier, but is optional.]

  Once you've cut the pieces, arrange them on the shirt and pin in place.

3. Sew the letters on. Use a satin stitch (a wide but short zigzag, I used 3mm wide and .6mm long) to edge each letter and attach it to the shirt. The stitch should cover the cut edges of the letters and securely anchor them to the shirt. The outermost edge of the zigzag should be even with the cut edges.

  Carefully zigzag around each letter.


Practice on some scraps first to get the stitch settings right and perfect your technique on corners and curves. Your thread can match or contrast with the letters; I used a variety of contrast thread colors to add a bit of extra fun.

4. Press flat. You may find that the stitching has stretched out the shirt and your letters are lumpy, but just give a quick press with a steam iron and they'll look crisp again.

  Look how festive!

5. Customize the rest of the shirt as desired. I cut off the neckband and the cuff and bottom hems, but this is personal preference. Or let the recipients do their own!

Customizing these shirts (and giving them a second life) is so easy and satisfying; you could feature a T-shirt making activity at your shower, picnic or party. Kids will be thrilled to get in on the designing-and-cutting action with an adult to do the sewing. Fun for the entire family!

posted in: sewstylish feature, applique, tshirt

Comments (6)

topmotif writes: wow,really great works,so practical you are.
Posted: 9:59 pm on November 13th
tshirtquilts writes: These are really special too for people and they keep them for years! I've seen a couple of these come in for quilt orders. Great post!
Posted: 11:06 am on June 1st
luvmyferretz writes: What type of needle should be used? I know some leave nasty
holes in the tshirt fabric.
Posted: 6:57 am on June 1st
redandredder writes: I would suggest that one pay attention to the grain of the applique fabric so it matches the grain of the shirt. In addition, a stabilizer or light stabilizer as mentioned would be very useful in this project. I would stabilize the letter fabric first, then draw the letters on the stabilized fabric and then cut out the letters. Much more time saving in the long run.
Posted: 12:05 pm on July 1st
ZenZan writes: What a great idea! I have a pile of t-shirts that I don't wear and no lack of occasions to put them to good use ....now. Thanks!
Posted: 10:21 pm on June 29th
JenniferStern writes: Hey Cal, I love that idea...Lenny and I just got married last week, I think I need a"Hasemann 09" Tee!
Posted: 8:34 am on July 1st
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