Friday, July 30, 2010

reverse applique tee

Suzanne asked if I could make a shirt with a number one on the front for Aiden's first birthday. No problem. I've done appliques before, but decided to use this opportunity to try a reverse applique. The idea of a reverse applique had been a little daunting for me. This being my first time for the reverse applique and all, I decided to document the possible disaster it for you to enjoy. Maybe you'll get up enough gumption to do it too!


  • tee shirt of your choice
  • coordinating fabric
  • matching or contrasting thread
  • a number (or other figure) printed out or drawn on paper

I always prewash my fabrics and tees to minimize shrinking and funky looking appliques in subsequent washes.

Cut enough of the coordinating fabric for the image to fit on. If you want the image centered on the tee, fold it in half and pin at the center points.

Slide the fabric inside the tee with something underneath the fabric so you don't pin onto the back of the tee. I used one of my cutting rulers. You can use cardboard or anything else that will fit in there. Make sure the fabric lines up with where you will be placing your applique.

Place the applique on the front. You can see that I folded the number one in half so I can line the center point up with the pins that indicate the center point of the shirt. Pin the paper, the tee, and the fabric underneath together. Once you have it pinned, peek underneath to make sure you caught the coordinating fabric and everything is lined up the way you want it.

Stitch on the lines.

At the beginning and ending, you can backstitch a couple of stitches or you can leave a long tail, thread each tail on a needle and poke it to the underneath side of the shirt where you tie all the long threads.

Time to take the paper off. It felt like I was going to rip the stitches when I was ripping the paper away. So I wet the stitched area with a wet q-tip. The wet paper pulled away from the stitching pretty well.  I had to pick away a few small scraps.

In the center of the applique portion, pinch the tee to pull it away from the fabric underneath. You can pinch the fabric from underneath at the same time to make sure you've pulled them apart.

With small scissors, snip a hole in the center. Make sure you snip tee shirt material only!

Trim away the tee shirt fabric close to the stitching - about 1/8" close. Take your time so you don't accidentally snip the stitching. Snipping the stitching = not good.

After the front portion is trimmed away, trim the coordinating fabric to reduce the bulk.

And there you have a reverse applique tee shirt. I don't know what I was so afraid of because this turned out well and wasn't really that hard. What else can I stick a reverse applique on?

If you do a reverse applique ~ let me know, I'd love to see it!

I'm sharing this at Just a Girl's Show and Share Day.



Amber said...

Super super cute. And looks easy the way you explain it. But I couldn't applique my way out of a paper sack..frontways, backways, or sideways.

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

What a good friend you are - what a fun shirt this is!