Two little tops - a tutorial

September 08, 2011

 The girls are in need of some short sleeve tops now that the weather is warming up and I picked up these ones at Big W for about $6 each.  I let Isabella choose the colour, so of course they are pink! I decided to dress them up with some cute applique and so here is a little tutorial on how to 'transform' a cheap little cotton t-shirt into a sweet and colourful top.

You will need:
  • Cotton t-shirt
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Double sided fusible vilene (you can purchase this at Spotlight)
  • Embroidery thread and small button 

Step 1: Draw your design on scrap paper to establish sizing and placement of your applique.

Step 2: Cut ironed pieces of scrap fabrics in rough shapes of your applique to minimise wasting vilene.

Step 3: Iron fabric pieces onto vialene (furry side against fabric, paper side against ironing board).

Step 4: Turn vialene over and draw shapes on paper side.  Ensure non-symmetrical shapes are drawn in reverse.

Step 5: Using a pair of small sharp scissors, cut around your drawn shapes.  I used pinking shears for my flower shapes.  Do not remove paper yet.

Step 6: Using 'fray stoppa', run a line of product around all the edges of the cut shapes (except where pinking shears were used).  Wait approximately one hour for fray stoppa to dry.  If you iron on when tacky, a white film will appear around edges. 

Step 7: Peel paper from all pieces.  Place shapes on t-shirt and iron on.

Step 8: Top stitch around the outside of each shape, approx. 2mm in from edge.  I leave my needle in the fabric and lift the foot only when turning corners and to ease around curves.

Bird detail....

Flower detail...


Juliette's is a simpler design using only pinking shears so no drying time.

These tops were lots of fun to make and would make a great little gift!

I'm sharing today over at Kootoyoo.

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  1. Cite! I especially like the spots...

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, really like the appliques.

  3. Cute! Thanks for sharing the tips on how to do it.

  4. thanks Suz... will give this a go. Do you get that fray stoppa thing from spotlight too??

  5. lovely tops! and i like the dresses in the previous post too.
    thanks for visiting my blog, the material you fancied is from here:
    it's a british website so maybe you could find something closer to home?!x

  6. The embellishments are adorable!

  7. Thanks for the inspiration - might go snazz up my 80 cent t shirt bargains for my girls

  8. These turned out perfectly darling!!! Love the lil' bird!


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