Do you love having custom boutique clothing for you and your kids when you visit the Disney Parks? Me too! I’ve been creating and selling appliqued tees for years in my Etsy shop, The Painted Butterfly Studio. However, I know not everyone has the time or inclination to perfect satin stitching or proper technique for seamless applique. I came up with a technique for applique that anyone with a sewing machine can accomplish! And if you are an accomplished seamstress, I have the tips for more complex applique as well. I hope you love this Mickey Pumpkin t-shirt DIY!
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- Tee shirt, washed and dried (no fabric softener). I like Old Navy Classic Tees for their thick, sturdy cotton.
- Design or coloring page. Search online images to find a simple design like, “Mickey pumpkin coloring page”.
- Sharpie Fine Point Marker
- Fusible bond, like Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
- Large scraps of fabric (choose cotton or cotton knit) in orange, lime green, brown and black. I prefer Kona Cotton Broadcloth Fabric for its bright colors and thick weave.
- Thread in matching colors. Gutermann thread is my favorite brand as it’s strong (doesn’t break mid-project!), offers a wide range of colors and holds up to wash and wear.
- Bobbin thread in color to match the shirt
- Sewing machine needle (jersey or Ballpoint Machine Needles give the best results for applique)
- Stabilizer, like Sulky Sticky Self-Adhesive Tear-Away Stabilizer
- Disappearing ink pen, like this one from Dritz
1. Take your coloring page or design and flip the page over. Outline the bold details with a Sharpie marker. This is the side that you will trace on.
2. Place a piece of fusible bond (bumpy side down) onto your design and trace out each individual shape using a Sharpie marker (ball point pens or pencils will smudge or smear off onto your iron, so a Sharpie is best).
You’ll have a piece for the pumpkin, the stem, the leaf and the individual pieces of the jack-o’ lantern face.
3. Cut around each piece of fusible bond but NOT on the Sharpie line (see image above on left). Iron them (bumpy side down) onto the appropriate color of fabric.
- One orange pumpkin shape
- One lime green leaf
- One brown stem
- One black jack-o’ lantern smile, one nose and two eyes.
4. Cut out each piece on the Sharpie line.
5. Lay your shirt down and iron out any wrinkles in the design area. Starting with the orange pumpkin and brown pumpkin stem, peel off the fusible bond backings and place down onto the tee. Tuck the brown stem slightly underneath the orange pumpkin. Make sure the design is centered and straight. Do not iron yet!!
Lay your coloring page down (the original side, not the one that you traced) on top of your design to make sure the pieces line up before pressing with the iron. I flip the page back and forth quickly so I can compare the design and make sure I have pieces in the correct position. Use a smooth pressure to apply the pieces to your tee shirt with the iron on a “cotton” setting.
6. Moving on to the leaf, use the same technique, comparing the coloring page to the fabric design before ironing in place.
7. Repeat with jack-o’ lantern pieces, matching the correct position by comparing to the coloring page before ironing in place.
8. Once you have all your pieces securely ironed on, cut a piece of stabilizer slightly larger than the size of your design.
Carefully turn your shirt inside out and follow the package instructions to secure to the inside of the shirt (some stabilizers must be pinned on; I use one that can be ironed on and easily removed).
Turn the shirt right side out. Do not skip this step of using stabilizer! Stabilizer holds the design straight while you sew to avoid warping, puckering or rippling.
9. Thread your sewing machine bobbin with the same color of thread as your t-shirt. You will start by sewing the pieces on top, the black jack-o’lantern face. When appliqueing, always sew the smaller pieces on top first to avoid puckering. Thread the machine with black thread and set the machine for a tight straight stitch.
10. Carefully sew each jack-o’ lantern piece close to the outside edge. Change thread colors and complete by sewing the green leaf and brown stem.
11. Taking your disappearing ink pen and comparing to your original coloring page, draw any detail lines for the pumpkin directly onto your fabric design.
12. Using orange thread, sew around the outside of the pumpkin first, then sew up and down the design to add the details. Make sure to back stitch before and at the end of each strand to secure stitches.
13. When all sewing is complete, spritz the design lightly with water to remove the disappearing ink lines. You may have to repeat this process several times. Do not iron until the ink lines are gone to avoid setting them permanently.
14. Turn shirt inside out and remove all pieces of stabilizer. Turn shirt right side out.
14. When disappearing ink lines are gone, press the design with iron to sink and tighten the stitches. Your shirt is ready to wear!
Straight stitch applique advice:
It is important to stick with cotton or knit fabrics only when straight stitch appliqueing. Because the edges of the applique pieces are not covered, there is a chance that the edges of your cotton fabric may fray or curl slightly after a wash and dry. As long as you’ve properly stitched the pieces securely, slight fraying or curling should be fine and create a fun look to your design.
Taking applique to the next level:
Once your practiced straight stitch applique, try using a satin stitch (aka: a very close together zig-zag) around the edges of your applique pieces to secure them. This will create a more smooth and polished look. You’ll be able to add more detail and the look will last a long time. Cover the stitches inside (because they will be thicker and potentially more itchy to the wearer) with a soft fusible Poly-mesh backing.
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Halloween Crafts Loop:
- 1st Stop – Saving Up for Disney | Mickey Pumpkin Appliquéd Halloween Tee
- 2nd Stop – Disney Mamas | Pumpkin Mickey Door Decoration
- 3rd Stop – Capturing Magical Memories | Mickey Glow Stick Spider Classroom Gifts
- 4th Stop – The Delightful Life | Quick & Easy Halloween Crafts for All Ages
- 5th Stop – Home is Where the Mouse Is | #DisneySide Tombstones