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Applique T-Shirt Tutorial

On Saturday I got an SOS call from a friend who didn't have a birthday t-shirt for her little boys dinosaur birthday party on the Sunday. Since it also reminded me that I hadn't yet got a present for the party, I was more than happy to get something made and double it up as his present.

I also print baby clothes under the name Crafts by Katie so I have a good supply of organic t-shirts, fabric paint and stamps but I don't have a dinosaur stamp that I was happy to use. His favourite dinosaur is a t-rex so I thought I would combine stamping with sewing and made this applique t-shirt.

You could applique the name too but since I knew I wouldn't have much time, II stuck with printing it. If you haven't block printed before it is a great craft, I have written another blog on making reusable gift tags (they went down a treat this year at Christmas and I have gathered them back up for next year). I make most of my own stamps but for these letters and loads of other fun designs and paint, I use The Arty Crafty Place. If you are a regular visitor to the big craft fairs, you have probably seen them before, if you haven't, look out for them next time.


  • T-Shirt

  • Fabric Paint and Printing Accessories (optional)

  • Wooden Letter (optional)

  • Small Scrap of Cotton

  • Bondaweb

  • Sewing Machine

  • Iron and Ironing Board

  • Scissors

  • Template


1. With it being a dinosaur theme, I have a lot of dinosaur fabrics to pick from but, this Fossil Rim fabric from Riley Blake was perfect with the small print. I only needed a small amount, you will need a small amount for whatever size applique you are doing so it is a good scrap buster. I found a template on google images and printed it off. You could freehand the shape you want or do the same.

When you draw on the paper side of the Bondaweb, always do the image in reverse. Draw the shape onto your Bondaweb and trim it down. Do not cut the image out along the lines you have just drawn.

2. With a medium heat, no steam iron, iron your Bondaweb onto the reverse of your fabric.

3. Cut out your shape along the lines this time.

4. I placed the dinosaur on the t-shirt to work out where to print the letters before I ironed it into place. If you were appliquing multiple pieces, I would recommend cutting all your pieces first to find the perfect placement before ironing them on.

5. Print your letters. For more detailed instructions visit my Gift Tag blog where I have done a video tutorial.

6. Peel the backing off your shape and put it in a position you are happy with. Iron it in place following the instructions for the brand you use.

7. I have chosen quite a fiddly shape so I decided to topstitch using a straight stitch. If it was a more simple design I would have used a tight zig zag. I would usually have my sewing machine on full speed but in cases like this I slow it down so I can be nice and accurate. Back stitch to finish and trim your threads.

If you have used fabric paint it will need heat setting. I usually place it in the tumble dryer for 10 minutes and then go over it with the iron.

That is it, all done. Happy Birthday Barnaby! The possibilities of personalising clothes are endless with this method, I would love to see if you are feeling inspired and give it a go.

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