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Monday, May 24, 2010

Appliqued T-Shirts

I have had a lot of people lately ask me how I make Miller's t-shirts. I promise you, it is very easy!!! I am not an expert by any means, but here are a few tricks I have learned along the way.

One of the most important things you need is an iron-on adhesive. I usually get mine from Hancocks. It is really cheap, maybe $1.50 or $2.00 a yard. One yard will go a long way. I don't think I even used a yard to make all of Miller's t-shirts.

First thing is to draw your pattern. (This is always the step that takes me the longest! I have no artistic ability, so for me to draw something that I like takes forever!).
Then trace your applique onto your fabric.

Cut out a piece of the iron-on adhesive at least the size of the applique and iron it on (iron the rough side to the wrong side off the fabric

Cut out your applique. After I cut it out I usually iron the applique again to get it good and hot and make sure the adhesive is stuck to the fabric. Then pull of the paper on the back of the adhesive.

Place the applique on the t-shirt and iron on.

Sew applique to t-shirt

For this t-shirt, I did a wide zig-zag. But if you want even faster and easier, you can just do a straight stitch leaving a raw edge. So many clothing lines are doing their appliques this way and it is so cute and sooo easy!

You can also do appliques that look like they have been done by a monogramming machine. You follow the same steps as above, but you need to put a stabilizer underneath the t-shirt. I prefer one that tears away. Again, you can get this at Hancocks for pretty inexpensive. Unfortunately, I decided to do this post after I had made all the t-shirts so I do not have any step-by-step pictures. But if you look closely at this picture, you can see why you need a stabilizer. At the bottom of the face, you can see where it is slightly puckered. I did not realize, but I did not cut out a big enough piece of stabilizer.

When I do this type of applique, I usually set my stitch length between 5 and 6 (usually just depends on how big the applique is). I set the stitch width very tight, on my machine almost to 0. The best thing to do is get a scrap piece of fabric and with a contrasting thread just play with your stitch length and width to see what you like best.

I hope this was helpful! If you can sew a straight stitch, you can make an appliqued t-shirt!


  1. You go girl! We need to have a Day Camp for sewing Mommies and Grandmoms!

  2. i agree! i would love it! i think i am going to have to go away to sew for the fall bc all three kids will need clothes. dont know how i will do it

  3. Today I was in Monogrammed Plus and they had large letters on pillow cases and towels. They were so cute, and would be a great graduation gift. You are inspiring me to pull out my sewing machine.