How best to sew this to that?
March 25, 2010 12:24 PM   Subscribe

[sewingfilter] What is the best way to applique a piece of one t-shirt to another t-shirt?

I have some basic sewing skills, mostly limited to sewing cotton quilting fabrics. But I have this lovely idea for a baby gift that I'd like to make, which involves buying a particular adult t-shirt, cutting out the design on it, and appliqueing that piece of t-shirt to a wee little baby t-shirt. Problem? I'm nervous about working with stretchy knit fabrics and am unsure about what the best method for stabilizing the fabric while sewing it is. I imagine that stabilizing the applique will produce the best results, but I don't know what to use or how to do it. I could practice with cheap t-shirts first, but I'd like some guidance on what the best way to proceed is before spending a bunch of time ruining shirts and feeling frustrated.

Can anyone tell me what stabilizing products I should use? Or what techniques would be best? Any recommended on-line tutorials that my google-fu can't find?
posted by luazinha to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
WonderUnder, by Pellon interfacing, is a product designed to do easy appliques; iron onto the back of your design shirt, cut out the part you want, peel off the backing paper, and iron it onto the baby shirt. You'd then want to do a machine zig-zag or hand-sew around hte edge to keep the top fabric from fraying. The problem is that this stuff is not stretchy, so it will make your shirt slightly stiff. The question is, how stiff is okay with you?

If that's totally not okay, and you're asking about ways to make sure that your design piece and your baby shirt stay perfectly unstretched and lined up while you're sewing around the edges, maybe try starching the heck out of both layers, either fabric starch or very dilute white glue. It'll be stiff as all heck while you're basting the layers together, but when you're done, it should come out pretty easily with a long soak (if you use a pre-made fabric stiffener, check the instructions to be sure).
posted by aimedwander at 12:36 PM on March 25, 2010

Fusible interfacing should do the trick. Iron it on to the cut-out design then place and pin to the baby shirt. Sew with a top stitch, and use something like this to keep the edges of the ironed-on piece from fraying.
posted by geekchic at 12:40 PM on March 25, 2010

there is a particular kind of interfacing that you use to do this - I forget what it's called, but I just read the labels really well at JoAnn and then double checked with the girl at the cutting counter. It is woven-looking, for what that's worth. I believe it's called Pellon Easy Knit but I could be wrong. this will specifically address the issues of using a t-shirt as an applique (the fraying, and the stretching issues). Then, wonderunder, I would think.
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:24 PM on March 25, 2010

Fusible interfacing will be a bit stiff. If you just want to sew it on, use an overhand stitch, so that it has a bit of give to it. Or a machine & zigzag.
posted by theora55 at 4:24 PM on March 25, 2010

Take a coffee filter and iron it flat. Then put that behind the baby-t and stitch the adult-t image to it. The coffee filter helps stabilize the layers as you're sewing so it doesn't get gappy.
posted by Coffeemate at 8:48 AM on March 26, 2010

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