DIY Tinker Bell Shirt Appliqués

1 May

I gotta admit, as much as I love Disney stuff, I often find the design and cut of the clothes available in the Disney Store lacking. Ditto for the clothes usually found at Disney Parks. And the stuff that I do like? Well, I’m a budget-minded girl, and since much of the stuff that appeals to me is from the Disney Couture line (read: $$$$), I end up just crafting a lot of Disney duds myself.

A couple months ago I bought several yards of flannel-backed satin Tinker Bell fabric for a project. Looking at the scraps of fabric left out after cutting the pattern, there were plenty of images left intact, and I figured that it would be an interesting experiment to try making appliqués out of them, and doing a little DIY t-shirt fashion.

At first I thought I’d just sew the fabric pieces to the shirt, but the more I read online (including this article on Instructables), the more I thought a more constructed approach would get me better results, so I decided to really make appliqués. Everybody seemed to suggest using fusible web interfacing, which kinda intimidated me . . . I’m a novice seamstress, and still don’t get interfacing right on a consistent basis. But the fusible web turned out to be pretty easy.

Here are the steps I took to make the shirt:

1) I took a scrap of the fabric to Target, and chose out a t-shirt to embellish. I’m always tempted to just get a plain black or white t-shirt, because then I don’t have to worry so much about matching colors. But it’s a whole lot more interesting to get a little pattern into the mix, so I chose a striped t-shirt, in the same color green as Tink’s dress.

2) I cut out a variety of shapes from the fabric. When following the natural curves of the image, I cut freehand. When cutting out a circle, I held a drinking glass or small tea-cup over the image I wanted to cut out, and used a disappearing-ink quilting pen to trace the circle, so I could then cut along the line I’d drawn.

3) I placed the fabric pieces on top of fusible web interfacing, ensuring that the rough side of the interfacing was against the wrong side of the fabric. Actually, I did this wrong the first time . . . so I’m glad I’d bought more interfacing than I needed. It’s cheap, about $3/yard, so just as well to pick up a little extra. I cut out pieces of interfacing that were just a little bit smaller than the fabric pieces, by about a 1/4 inch margin. I followed the instructions on the interfacing to fuse it first to the fabric piece, then to the shirt.

4) Using thread that matched the base color of the appliqués, I sewed a straight-stitch seam just barely inside the point where the interfacing ended. This was both to reinforce the connection between fabric, interfacing, and t-shirt, and to provide a little more visual interest. I could have used a contrasting color, but I was a bit insecure about getting a straight (or appropriately curved) line, and appropriately so . . . I kinda messed up the circle, but got it close enough to live with it. Next time I might try the contrast thread, now that I’ve done this project once before.

5) Using a foam brush, I teased the edges of the fabric pieces, fraying them a bit for visual interest. A toothbrush would have worked just as well. After fraying them, I used embroidery scissors to trim a few long threads.

6) Something felt missing, so I rummaged through my sewing table and, with the help of my fashion-forward 11-year-old son, chose out some purple sequins which matched the darker parts of the butterfly in the fabric. I sewed a line of sequins along the front, to give some balance to the appliqués. I didn’t want to do the whole neckline . . . that felt like a bit too much flash, perhaps a tad cliché. Something felt weird about having it just stop mid-seam, though, so I grabbed a blue rhinestone from my Bedazzler set, matching Tink’s wings, and hand-installed it at the top end of the sequin line. (I would have liked to use the actual Bedazzler, but my size 60 insert is broken, and it’s a pain to get replacement parts.)

And that’s it! The whole process took about 90-120 minutes, not including shopping for the t-shirt. The materials cost less than $15, including enough interfacing for a dozen more shirts.

If you’re interested in Disney DIY crafts, you also might want to check out the other projects I’ve posted about:

Doesn’t my BFF look totally mod with that purse?

One Response to “DIY Tinker Bell Shirt Appliqués”

  1. sambycat May 1, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    there are those crazy eyes again. seriously, you are very crafty! i like the shirt and i agree about realy liking the “couture” line, but then i think about all the tink shirts i have at home… sigh! one problem – your appliques will be rumpled by the lumbar pack should you combine the two. just a warning!

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