Keeping It Simple - Embroidered Baby T-shirts for Cool Summer Fun

I am not sure why but many of our favorite shops for infant clothes have gone out of business over the past year or so.  These shops featured handmade items that were unique but really reasonable in price.  In the past, when life was too busy to sew we frequently bought clothes for the girls at these cute little boutiques.  I know there are shops online with cute things that you won't see on every other child and maybe we are nuts but we really like to see and touch what we are buying as often as possible.  Plus with this being the third little girl on its way our daughter wants to use as many things as possible from the two before her.  So, one day she brought over all her old "designer" diapers and we tried to figure out what to do for a July baby (both the others were born in the winter).  After digging in my stash and a quick visit to the fabric store here is what we came up with:

    

Baby Wrap style T shirts washed, dried and ironed if needed.

Two sided fusible interfacing such as Trans-WebTM or HeatnBond®

Fabric Square that is larger than the embroidery appliqué shape (I cut mine 5")

Soft cut away stabilizer

Temporary adhesive spray

Large straight sewing pins

Embroidery appliqué shape (To download free ones see the link below)

Embroidery thread to coordinate

 

What you do for appliqué T:

1.  Following directions on fusible package fuse the interfacing to back side of the fabric square.  Remove the backing if there is one. (You do not have to use the fusible but since infant items are washed so often I always do.)

2.  Print out a template of the appliqué shape.  Cut it out and pin in place on the T-shirt front.

3.  Hoop 2 layers of the stabilizer.  Spray a little adhesive around the edges of the inside of the hoop.  Gently center the T-shirt with the template and press in place.  Be careful that you do not pull it out of shape.  I put a pin at the top and bottom of the hoop  as extra security.  I also roll up the rest of the T and pin so it will not get caught under the hoop later.

4.  Carefully place the hoop on your machine making sure the template center is lined up with the needle.  Remove the template and embroider the first color. 

 

5.  Place the fabric square in place on top of the T-shirt.  Embroider the second color.  Carefully remove the hoop and place on a flat surface.  Cut around the outside of the embroidered shape close to the sewn line. 

6.  Carefully place the hoop back on the machine and embroider the rest of the design. 

7. Cut around the stabilizer. Press the appliqué to fuse it to the T-shirt. 

 

Note: These little irons are great for this but you can use your big one if you like.

 

For T-shirts with embroidery designs that are not appliqué:

Baby Wrap style T shirts washed, dried and ironed if needed.

Fabric Square that is larger than the embroidery appliqué shape (I cut mine 5")

Soft cut away stabilizer

Temporary adhesive spray

Large straight sewing pins

Embroidery design

Embroidery thread to coordinate

 

What you do:

1.  Print out a template of the embroidery design.  Cut it out and pin in place on the T-shirt front.

2.  Hoop 2 layers of the stabilizer.  Spray a little adhesive around the edges of the inside of the hoop.  Gently center the T-shirt with the template and press in place.  Be careful that you do not pull it out of shape.  I put a pin at the top and bottom of the hoop  as extra security.  I also roll up the rest of the T and pin so it will not get caught under the hoop later.

4.  Carefully place the hoop on your machine making sure the template center is lined up with the needle.  Remove the template and embroider the design. 

5.  Cut around the stabilizer.

Here are some more we embroidered since babies use lots of these:

 

Here are links to the designs we used:

The dragonfly

The paisley

The Giraffe

Click here to download the the flower and heart appliqué shapes.

And here is a whole collection of applique frames.

I know we look back at the baby pictures of our girls and sometimes have to take them out and look on the back to remember which one it is since they often had on the same outfit.  With these we will surely be able to tell which pictures belong to this special little girl.  And there will be little chance that we will see another child sporting the same outfit this summer. 

If you have little boys to sew for here are some design links that could work as well as using the appliqué rectangle.

 Kids Toys

Nursery Decor

Once Upon a Time

If you are sewing for infants you might like these blogs as well

Designer Infant Gowns

Touch and Feel blanket

Enjoy the spring but be sure to take time to do what you love.

Take care,

DB

Comments (6) -

How do you do the daiper covers, were they simply purchased? or made? and how would I get some for a newborn or 6 mos.?  Thanks


Those are adorable!


I too am interested in the diaper covers.  Please tell us how you did them or where you got them.  Your blogs are so very interesting.  Thanks  Kae


Thank you so much for the cute freebies!  I have a new great grandchild and I'm sure these will look terrific on her!


thecomputerist 4/25/2010 9:02:11 PM

That Paisley design is OUTSTANDING!


I have used your outlines for sometime and I love them.  You get 34 designs for under $20 - what a bargain!


Thanks for reminding me of the outlines, I want to use them on an upcoming project.


Pat


I have not made the diaper covers.  We looked into it and the cost of some of the products needed was not reasonalbe for making just a few.  My daughter got some as gifts and purchased others online from www.etsy.com.  I have embroidered some panty style diaper cover blanks for little girls.  You can get these from allaboutblanks.com.  I did make a pattern for the simple  fleece diaper cover but have not tried it yet.  If it works out OK I will post it.


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Tips and Tricks for Newbies and Seasoned Embroiderers

Tips and Tricks for Newbies and Seasoned Embroiderers

As embroiderers, we have a lot to consider when deciding on a project.  This is how I try to view/review my projects:

  • Start with the end in mind - that sounds strange, but if you don't know your goal, how are you going to get there?? and how will you know you have arrived at your goal??
  • Who is this project for? The difference between a teenager and an octogenarian is night and day. What are their likes and what will gather a sincere yawn from your recipient?
  • What do I want to bring to the project? Do I want it to be a WOW, flashy and outstanding or more demure and soft? How does that relate to what the original designer created? I may not have it appear much like the original at all.
  • What is the fabric I will be using? I will need to do more preparation if I am using batiste than if I am using heavy denim.
  • How does my discovery sew (aka sew out) look? Do I need to adjust the stabilizer or other part of my recipe? Did the thread create good coverage and nice lines where needed? Perhaps my thread needs to be changed to a different weight.  I have made hundred's of bridal hankies but EVERY ONE is still checked with a discovery sew before sewing the final project.

Just like any project that is created by hand or machine, an artist has a lot to consider before a project becomes a work of art.   

Here are a few tips that I find helpful:

  • Your project is truly a recipe, and sometimes referred to as such in digitizing software. The ingredients will depend on what you want to have at the end. While two dishes may have eggs in them, an omelet is a lot different from a pound cake. Or, change one ingredient and for two different dishes.
  • The weight of the thread is very important. The higher the number, the lighter the weight of the thread. I don't know how it started but this is a cliff note for you. The weight stated indicates the length of thread in a single kilogram (2.2 pounds) The thread weight of 50 requires about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to weigh the kilogram. A 30 weight only requires about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) to be that weight. Therefore, the lower amount indicates thicker/heavier thread. Most embroidery thread is a 40 weight but when doing detailing such as small lettering or intricate details, using a 60 weight works better.
  • Rayon is the current 'king' of the threads but polyester is getting a place of its own in the embroidery field. Rayon does generally have a better sheen. Take a look at your stash of threads and find the different types you have gotten along the way. Using the tension test here, and using similar colors of the different thread brands (if possible) use the tension test to see your threads. You may just find that you have a preference for rayon or polyester and for a particular brand when you see your stitching in this manner. And, incidentally, you should be testing your tension from time to time anyway.
  • I went into detail about needles in the same blog as the tension test resides. Depending on your fabric and thread, a switch to a smaller or larger needle can be advised. Here is a guideline table - nothing is chiseled in granite -  that may be more simple to follow -

#65/9 BP

#70/10 BP

#75/11 BP

#80/12 BP

#90/14 BP

#100/16 BP

Thin knits

Spandex

Polo shirts

Med. Blanket

Heavy Blanket

Drapery

Lingerie

Light Tees

Medium Tees

Heavy Tees

Heavy Fleece

Fake Fur

Small Letters

Lycra

Med. Fleece

Med. Fleece

Large Letters

Denim

Detailed designs

Nylon

Knits

Heavy Jersey

Broadcloth

Multiple layers of fabric

#60 Threads

microfiber or microdenier

Sweaters

Most embroidery projects

Brocade

 

Light Fabric that might snag

Taffeta

Med. Fabric that might snag

Terry

Linen

 

Silk

Handkerchief

Chambray

 

Synthetic Suede

 

Batiste

 

Nylon

 

Velvet

 

#65/9 SP

#70/10 SP

#75/11 SP

#80/12 SP

#90/14 SP

#100/16 SP

Light weight non-woven

Linen

Cotton

Heavy Towels

carpet

Heavy threads

 

Cotton

Umbrella

Med. canvas

Heavy canvas

 

 

 

Twill

Velvet

Twist threads

 

 

 

Light canvas

 Metallic Thread*

 

 

 Legend:  BP - Ball Point        SP - Sharp Point     *Metallic thread needles are often of the #80/12 size but some have a larger eye.

Many of the above cross over to different sizes because it really depends on your fabric, thread and stabilizer to mention just a few things. 

Here are a few tips to thread those pesky needles -

  • Try using a piece of white paper behind the needle, it will help to see the eye.
  • Make sure you have good lighting to do the process.
  • Cut the thread with a sharp scissors, when was the last time they were sharpened or replaced?
  • Cut at an angle, the small difference can and will help the threading.
  • Use bees wax to make the thread stiff. Plain candle wax is just as good. I have also used my hair oil! Yes, my hair oil. I run my thumb and index finger on my scalp and run the end of the thread with those same fingers. The small amount of oil works! If all else is not available, you can use hair spray on your fingers and thread, just be sure to catch the outgoing thread with your other hand. (I am just not a fan of saliva.)
  • Check your local store for the latest in needle threaders. Everyone is trying to build that better mouse trap, new types are out there!
  • Use a pair of tweezers. I could not believe the difference when I started using tweezers! I never accidentally pull the thread back (as I did when I used my fingers) dislodging the thread from the eye.
  • Fold the thread in half and place that loop behind the needle and slide it creating a sharp edge, that edge is a clean piece of thread that usually does not have lint to stop the threading.
  • Try a piece of scotch tape for when only a small amount of thread goes through the eye. Press the adhesive to the side to grab and pull the thread through.
  • Make sure you are using the right size needle for the thread. Some threads are thicker and won't go through the eye at all.
  • OK, this is really the last resort - find someone with better eyes. . . . .

 Don't forget to change your needle often, they are not expensive in large packages.

 

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