I have the hardest time finding patterns for my son Brady that are unique or something different than what I could easily buy in the store. Anybody else have that problem?
So when I actually come up with something unique and fun to sew for Brady I get so excited!! I think my favorite sewing project I have ever sewn for him is my Halloween mummy shirt design.
I have been asked multiple times to make a blog detailing how I create this spooktacular shirt. Since I didn't have a chance to do it this Halloween, I decided to use the same process to create this deer shirt and to show you all how it is done. It's a cool way to add just a little more interest to your typical appliqué shirt.
The inspiration for this shirt is the new collection by Art Gallery Fabrics called Blithedesigned by Katarina Roccella. This collection is already popping up in my favorite fabric stores. There are owls, deer, and birds in a landscape that represents winter. When I asked Brady what he wanted me to put on his shirt, he looked over the collection and decided on a deer.
The first step to creating the shirt is to find a silhouette. I prefer to work with a simple design that doesn't have a ton of details and curves to cut around. So instead of doing an entire deer, I decided to do a deer head. After a quick search online, I found this silhouette in this blog post here by Julie of Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss.
Next choose the fabrics you will be using. I used the following designs from Blithe:
I made the silhouette a size that would work on the t-shirt I purchased. Then I printed and cut it out. Lay it on the shirt just to make sure the scale works.
Now you will need to cut pieces of fabric just slightly larger than your silhouette. I cut 3 pieces of each design so I had 12 rectangles overall. This creates the 3 dimensional effect so you need to have about 10-12 pieces. (This is a great project for scraps. The pieces don't have to be perfect rectangles, just big enough to cover a little outside the design.)
Stack the pieces on top of each other. The piece on the bottom and the top must be facing right side up, but the rest I just randomly lay them facing up or down. After the piece is made and it is washed multiple times, you will notice that you can see both sides of the fabrics, so I like to have them face a variety of directions.
Next you will flip your stack over and trace your design on the back of the bottom layer, on the wrong side of the fabric. (TIP: If your design is directional you will need to flip it over to the wrong side and trace that side).
Then you will sew all the way around the design directly on top of your trace line. Take your time and go slow. When I get to more intricate spots or curves I decrease my stitch length so it is easier to follow the line.
Once this is complete you will get a ruler and draw horizontal lines across your design about 0.75-1.5" apart. (TIP: If you want more detail put your lines closer together. For my design here I put the lines 1" apart.)
Then you will sew all the way across each line from one end to the next.
Next you will cut out the design just outside the stitch outline you made.
Then you will cut a line from one end to the other, in the middle, between each stitched line. VERY IMPORTANT! DO NOT cut the bottom layer of fabric! This must stay intact or your design will fall apart. Plus you will see this layer when the shirt is complete. I am really wishing right now that I would have used a different fabric on the bottom than the top. I usually do this so you can see a peek of another fabric underneath. (TIP: When you are cutting across, cut through the stitch line. This will make it easier to iron your design to your shirt in the next step.)
To get the frayed look all you have to do is wash this piece. Just toss the deer into the washing machine on a quick cycle. Next put it in the dryer on regular heat. The beauty of this shirt is the more you wash it the more the edges of the fabric curl and fray adding more interest to the design. After about 5 washes I really start liking how distressed the shirt becomes. You may have to trim a few threads here and there, but it all adds to the look.
Once your design is dry you are ready to attach it to your shirt. You will need a package of Heat n Bond Iron on Adhesive, Lite. (here is a link to the Heat n Bond, Lite) This will help your design stay in place while you sew it on for added durability. Apply it to the back of the design using the directions on the package. Cut off the excess paper, and then peel off the backing. Place the design on the shirt in the desired location. Then you will iron the design in place. (Tip--you may have to pull back some of the layers so the heat from the iron adheres the design to the shirt. Also ironing from the back of the shirt helps too since there are less layers that the heat has to go through.)
Once you have it adhered you can take the shirt over to your sewing machine and sew the design all the way around the outline. Viola! You now have an adorable deer shirt with a unique look. With each wash it becomes even more distressed and you will start seeing the other fabrics as the edges curl up.
The best part is now I have a super cute coordinating set for my favorite little boy and girl!!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I can't wait to see what designs you come up with! I'm thinking this would make a really cool Christmas tree. Perhaps that will be my next project :)