Sunday, April 5, 2009

Crafty giftiness

The last few days have been busy. Thursday was another fun guild meeting. Friday was an awesome mom's night out, bowling with the preschool mamas. Then yesterday I got my hair done (woo hoo!) and we attended a fabulous birthday celebration for our friend V who just turned 3!

I asked V's mom for gift ideas. She suggested that V might enjoy some appliqued t-shirts... you know, if I wanted to be crafty. And, of course I want to be crafty!

appliqued t-shirts
I think one of the toughest challenges in putting these together was in actually finding plain t-shirts. Who knew they would be so hard to find? Crazy! Thankfully, I finally found these at Target. Initially, I was thinking I'd use my embroidery machine. But then I would have had to take the shirts apart (they're 3T and would have been hard to hoop otherwise) and set up my embroidery unit. Since time was of the essence, I opted instead to do the applique with a satin stitch on my regular machine and do some hand embroidery for the lettering and details.

bunny applique
Overall, I think they turned out pretty well. But I definitely learned some things:
  • Use 2 layers of stabilizer when doing the satin stitching. I think I like 1 layer of tear away, and 1 layer of leave-in. I only used one layer of tear-away on the bunny, and though it came out okay (there was definitely some warping), the kitty was much smoother and easier to do with the extra layer and felt more secure with the leave-in left behind.
  • Hand embroidery on minkee is unpleasant. Next time, I'll try using some water soluble stabilizer and my machine.
  • Hand embroidery on t-shirts is not too hard, and has a neat look to it. It's not something I had done before and I was a little scared. I started on the kitty using 2 strands of DMC floss, and the lines were really thick. So I switched to 1 strand for the whiskers and for the lettering on the bunny and was much happier with the result.
  • Stabilizer is helpful when hand embroidering on t-shirts. I used no stabilizer on the kitty shirt and had difficulty stitching while dealing with the stretch. I tried Googling how-to hand embroider on t-shirts, but had no luck. I did find a product that looked like it would be helpful, but couldn't find any locally. So I tried using a Sulky iron-on tear-away stabilizer when I did the bunny lettering. It definitely helped, but was kind of a pain tearing it away after the embroidery was complete (maybe because it is designed for higher-density stitching?). But stabilizer is definitely good.

kitty applique
Though the t-shirts couldn't compete with her awesome new Hello Kitty music box, V did seem to like them. Hopefully, she'll enjoy wearing them too!


  1. That kitty is so cute. I am sure she will be wearing them all the time :)

  2. Those little shirts are so sweet. Great idea.