**Note: This was one of the first posts on Craft Buds. I’ve updated it and re-posted in time for Valentine’s season since we only had a few followers when it was first posted!**
My sister visited this weekend and we decided to make her a shirt for Valentine’s Day based on the LOVE statue in Philadelphia. It was a fast and easy project with some homemade applique letters and a little stitching.
- To make the letters, iron Wonder-Under paper backed fusible web or something similar to the back of your fabric (we used Pellon 725 Heavy-Duty Wonder-Under Transfer Web).
- Trace the letters backwards onto Wonder-Under on the back of the fabric using a stencil of the letters. You can download the PDF of the letters for personal use here. If you have problems printing directly from Google docs, click the “Download original” button in the upper right corner of the PDF screen. Once the file is downloaded you should be able to open and print it.
- Cut out each letter, peel off the Wonder-Under backing and position the letters onto the shirt.
- Iron down the letters following the instructions on the Wonder-Under or the product you are using.
- Finish the shirt by doing a zig zag or similar stitch around each letter and project complete! You could skip doing the stitching but the shirt may not last as long because the letters could eventually peel off.
We found the plain long-sleeved gray shirt at Target in the men’s section. They had a variety of colors and they had a few in the boys section if you need a smaller size. Here’s a close up of the letters. We chose a navy quilting cotton for the L, V, and E. For the O we used a fabric with tiny forks, spoons and knives since my sister is well known for her fabulous baking creations. You can personalize with fabrics that coordinate with something you love, or go with a more traditional Valentine’s red/pink look. This would be a cute shirt for an adult or a child!
I’ll admit it, I’d never done an applique until a couple weeks ago because I always thought it would be complicated. I was SO wrong! Other than accidentially fusing one piece to the ironing board the whole process was fast and easy. I used Wonder-Under (Pellon 725 Heavy-Duty Wonder-Under Transfer Web). You could also use Heat n Bond but I haven’t tried it and I had no complaints with the Wonder-Under. So here we go!
1a. If you’re doing a specific shape (like a letter) trace your shape onto the smooth side of the Wonder-Under (WU). This is the back so trace your design backwards. Then cut out a piece of fabric larger than the piece of WU so you don’t get the glue on your ironing board. I now know this from experience.
1b. If you’re freehanding or cutting out a design that’s part of a fabric (like my camel below) just roughly cut out your image larger than you’ll need. Then trace that onto your WU and cut the WU about 1/8″ smaller than your outline. As I said above, you want your WU to be smaller than your fabric to protect your iron and ironing board.
2. Use a hot iron (your specific type of WU will have instructions on what setting to use) and iron the rough side of the WU against the wrong side of your fabric. The WU can look kind of crinkly and like it’s not going to turn out well but the iron smoothes it right out.
3. After it cools cut out your shape.
4. Peel off the back of the WU and your applique is complete and ready to be used! Part of the wonder is that this is heat activated so after peeling off the backing you have a smooth non-sticky backing.
5. To use the applique, position it onto your surface, fire up your iron again and iron it into place. Now it is permanently fixed in place. If you want you can straight stitch or zig zag stitch around the edges. Because the WU is heat activated it’s not sticky and won’t gum up your sewing maching.
Here’s the finished appliques before they were put to use. To see the final projects visit my posts for LOVE Shirt and Appliqued Baby Onesies.