Nearly 2 years after buying myself a sewing machine, we’re finally on speaking terms. I decided I needed to get beyond my intimidation and just go for it. Just because my last project was an owl pillow I made in 6th grade Home-Ec class was no reason to walk away from what could be a very satisfying relationship. Truth be told it’s not that I didn’t try in the years since, it was just that my efforts didn’t bring us closer and the attempted projects actually caused us to break up a few times.
Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not a quitter.
I mustered up all my courage and decided I was going to face my fear and this time and work on my relationship with my machine to create something fabulous. I set my sights on cute applique shirts for the holidays. Planning to start with some practice turkey shirts for my younger kids and working my way up to whimsical moose shirts for the whole family to wear in our Christmas picture. Along with pep talks from my experienced friends, I set off to buy shirts, material and notions.
I bought some long sleeve cotton shirts and then picked out various fabrics for the appliques I wanted to create. Armed with my supplies I was off to make my applique templates. I drew freehand a turkey body, feather, eye, beak and foot on some card stock. Next, I cut out the shapes and began to pin and cut my fabric. It’s important to wash and then iron the shirts and fabric before starting.
I used the light sewable heat bond to hold my pieces in place prior to stitching. Using the heat bond eliminates the use of pins. Since I was sewing each piece I experimented with applying the heat bond. The directions tell you to apply it to the fabric and then cut your pattern but I also applied it to cut pieces by cutting a smaller piece of heat bond and ironing it on. This worked because I only needed it to be secure enough to sew since I would be using an applique stitch to permanently attach the design to the shirt. I did apply the heat bond according to the directions to see the difference and for my purposes, either way worked fine.
The next step is to lay the pieces out and arrange them, the easiest way I found to find the center of the shirt is to fold the shirt in half and lightly crease it so you can see the middle. With the middle crease I was able to easily arrange and then iron my pieces on. For the turkey I started with just one feather and stitched before adding the others. As I progressed I added many pieces at one time and then stitched. My turkey shirts were full of imperfections but my little ones thought they were great and I was getting better with each shirt.
For the Christmas shirts I followed the same process making a moose template that ended up looking more like a reindeer but hey, it worked. I plan to add bow ties for the boy’s shirts under the moose/reindeer chin and a bow on the antler of the girl’s shirts. You can really have fun with this for any holiday or occasion. I am working on a birthday shirt for my son next and have many other ideas in the works. I know they’re not perfect but they represent a budding relationship between me and “Stitch King”. Yes, he has a name now and frankly likes being called that much better than “the machine”. I created 9 shirts in all, 2 turkeys and 7 moose/reindeer shirts for my husband and I and our five kids. Please try this yourself and believe me, if I could do this, so can you!