Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Valentine DIY: Easy felt heart tattoo applique tutorial

Henry neeeeeded a new shirt for Valentine's Day, and I wanted a design that could be worn long after the holiday.  I decided on a felt heart applique, with an embroidered banner in a flash tattoo-ish style.  I want to share the how-to with you, so you can make one for your little sweetheart, too!

I chose a t-shirt for Henry, but a onesie would be an awesome choice for this project as well!  Black or navy blue shirts would look adorable with this applique, too; I think Henry needs a black one next.

You can also choose any colors for your felt and embroidery floss, but I chose red and white felt, and black floss for my design.  You can also use a different name or word than "MOM" or "DAD," or a different font than I've included here.  There are a lot of cool, free tattoo-style fonts available!  So many possibilities!

Now, don't be afraid -- the embroidery part is easy.  Beginner level!  I promise!  I will link each individual stitch I mention below to clear instructions, which will open in a new window for you.

Let's get started!

Gather. . . .

You'll need:
  • my free pattern (it's a pdf, and you can print it HERE or HERE)
  • pre-washed onesie or shirt
  • 4.5" square of red felt
  • 3" x 6.5" piece of white felt
  • sewable fusing / bonding product, such as Heat'n Bond
  • black embroidery floss
  • washable or disappearing marking pen (like these)
  • pen or pencil
  • scrap cotton fabric / press cloth
  • tape
  • scissors
  • needle
  • iron
  • sewing machine
  • thread in your color preference (red, white and/or black)
Prepare. . . .

Make sure your shirt is pre-washed.  Otherwise, shrinkage disasters could be very possible.

Print your pattern.  Cut out your heart and banner patterns, and be sure to save the "MOM" or "DAD" section (template) for later.

Transfer. . . .

To transfer MOM or DAD to the felt banner, you can do this in one of two ways:
1.  Easiest:  Free-hand it.  Just write it however you want, using the disappearing ink pen, or you can use the template you printed as a lettering style guide.
2.  Trace it.  Tape the template onto a bright window.  Now, tape the felt over the template, centering your word on the felt, and carefully trace the word using the disappearing ink pen.  It won't be easy to see through the felt, but you'll get a general idea of the letters.  

Once you've finished, take down the felt and template, and referring back to the template, make any necessary adjustments in your letters.

Embroider. . . .

Using three strands of floss, embroider your word onto the banner.  You can use a simple back stitch, stem stitch or split stitch.  Use whatever is comfortable for you.  Fill in the heavy parts of the letters with a satin stitch, or more split stitches.  (I've linked to clear tutorials for the stitches mentioned. . .  clicking on them will open a new window for you.)  

* Use small stitches for your letters.

back stitch... small stitches

* Don't stretch the thread over great distances in the back of the felt.  The black thread would show through the front.
* Outline each letter individually first.

* Stop (knot) after each letter for a neater finish.

* Fill in heavy areas of lettering last.

I stink at pretty satin stitching, so I just fill it in with long stitches.  :)

Once you've finished the embroidery, remove any traces of the disappearing ink from the felt, using manufacturer's directions.  (Usually, dabbing with a damp, clean cloth will remove the ink. . . .)

Let it dry.   If you don't get the ink out, the next step (heat) could set the ink permanently into the felt.  You don't want that!  :(

Fuse. . . .

Cut a 4" x 4" piece of fusing product (like sewable Heat'n Bond) for the heart, and a 2.5" x 6" piece for the banner.

GLUE SIDE DOWN, PAPER SIDE UP, center the fusing product on the felt, and following manufacturer's directions, fuse it to the felt (making sure it's the BACK SIDE of the white piece.)

Let cool a moment.

Trace. . . .

For the heart. . . .

Place the heart pattern printed side down onto the paper side of the red felt, and trace the heart onto the paper.

For the banner. . . .

Flip the white felt piece to felt side up, and using the disappearing ink, trace the banner pattern onto the  felt, centering the lettering in the banner as best as you can.

TIP:  Hold the felt and pattern piece up to the light, to help the lettering show through the paper pattern for easier placement.  Remember that the disappearing ink will be removed, and felt is forgiving, so make adjustments / redraws if you need to.  No worries!

Cut and peel. . . .

Cut out both felt pieces.  Once again, remove the ink from the felt.

Carefully peel off the paper backing.  You've basically made a giant iron-on!

Iron. . . .

Give your shirt a quick press.

Place the red felt heart on your shirt, felt side up, GLUE SIDE DOWN, and centered towards the top.

Cover with a press cloth, and with a hot steam iron (refer to your own fusible product's instructions) bond the heart to the shirt.  Let cool.

Now, place the white banner on the heart.  Look back at the paper pattern -- the rectangular marks denote exactly where the banner should be placed.

Cover with a press cloth, and iron the banner in place.  Let cool.

Referring to the paper banner pattern, mark the banner fold using the disappearing ink if you want them on your applique.

Sew. . . .

This next part isn't hard, but you do want to sew carefully and slowly. 

As for thread colors, you can choose all black thread for the design, or red for the heart, black for the banner (like I did.)

If your sewing machine has a removable table / arm, remove it now for easier sewing.

Open the shirt from the bottom, and slide it over your sewing machine arm, and under the needle.

Sew the banner first using black thread.  Sew along the outer edge of the banner felt piece, as close to the edge as you feel comfortable, 1/8" or less.

***I made the mistake of sewing the banner fold lines first.  Definitely sew the fold lines AFTER you sew the outline of the banner, for a neater, less... wonky... finish.

Now, sew the heart, using your choice of red or black thread, again stitching very close to the edge.

* Be sure to make a reinforcing stitch (one back-and-forth) when you start and when you stop. 
* Make sure you keep an eye on where the back and bottom of the shirt are while you're sewing.  You don't want to catch them in your stitches!  (Don't ask me how I know....)

* Try not to pull on or stretch the onesie as you're sewing.  By sewing slowly, gently guiding the fabric, and allowing the feed dogs to bring your fabric through, you'll prevent most stretching and warping.  A little stretch is OK, and knit is a wee bit forgiving, but you want to avoid the pulling and stretching if you can.   
* For sharp points and corners. . .

1.  stop at the point / corner with the needle down in the felt
2.  lift the presser foot
3.  pivot your fabric
4.  lower the presser foot, and continue sewing.

Trim your threads, or pull them through to the back and trim there for a neater finish.

Give another quick press and. . .

We're done!

If you have any questions or suggestions about the tutorial or the process, I'd love to hear them in the comments below!  Have fun and enjoy!

I'll be back tomorrow with a Brendan update!  Talk to you later!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from you!

Popular Posts