Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Superhero T-Shirt Costumes Using Applique and Reverse Applique -- Part 1

My son has had a pair of Superman pajamas since he was 3 years old.  [These are the same Superman pjs I mentioned in this post about his knight costume last Halloween]  They're a size 4T, so he has worn them even past his 5th birthday.  But the fact that they are now just too small and my son wanting to wear the shirt every single day led me to decide to make a new Superman shirt, but more durable than the printed version he had before (that was cracking and peeling off, yuck!).

My kids happen to be on a superhero kick, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to get a head start on Halloween costumes for this year.  Also adding to the timeliness of the project was Michael's (arts/crafts store) having a 2 for $5 sale on their blank t-shirts.  (This was back in July so I'm not violating my Stash-busting September pact, and I gave myself a little loophole in my project-acquisition fast to allow for a project here and there for the kids... don't hate!)  So I picked up a bunch of shirts with plans to transform them into something my kids will LOVE (and hopefully will last for a couple years at least!) plus a shirt for my husband. My son will be Superman, my daughter Wonder Woman, and my husband Batman. Me? I don't know yet... I will rant about the lack of female superheroes later on. 


Note: I apologize for the lack of photo quality below... but I hope you can follow the idea.

I started by pre-washing all the shirts. I cannot stress enough how important this step is! Things get really messed up when different parts of clothing shrink different amounts, or at all (like in the case of embroidery and appliques). Just launder them as you will launder the finished project.

Then for my daughter's Wonder Woman shirt I had to alter a child's small shirt to make it even smaller ('cause size small is meant for kids 6-8 years old). I traced a shirt that fit her well (use a non-stretchy shirt because even though these t-shirts are knit, they do not stretch much at all!), added 1/2" seam allowance, folded it over and cut it down to size.



Then I cut the sleeves off the original t-shirt and cut them shorter.


I don't have photos for the next steps but I sewed up the side seams, sewed the hem of the sleeves using elastic thread to make them gathered, then gathered the top of the sleeve and sewed it into the new smaller shirt.

For the logos I decided to use applique and reverse applique techniques. The Batman and Superman logos each have two layers while Wonder Woman has one layer. I went around online and found logos for the different characters. I re-sized them in Photoshop and printed them out. I first cut along the outside shape of the logo. I used that as a template to trace the shape onto the fabric for both the upper and lower layers of the logos. For the lower layer I also cut a layer of fusible interfacing and ironed it on.


Then using an Exact-o knife I cut out the center part of the logo and traced it on to the upper layer.



I placed both layers centered on the shirt along with a layer of tear-away interfacing underneath for extra stability while sewing and pinned it all down. (Looking back, I would rather use soluble interfacing so the added bulk will be gone after you wash it or soak it in water.)


Then I sewed an applique stitch (wide width and very short length) on the outermost outline of the logo. That will help keep everything flat and in place when sewing the inner lines.


Here's a quick visual with the tear-away stabilizer. It actually has a grainline like paper does, so it tears straighter in one direction than the other.


When I sewed the inner lines I went very slowly (and I still made mistakes! grr). I suggest you go slowly and at the corners, lift the presser foot and reposition in the new direction so you don't end up with a curve when you need a sharp corner. When you're done, carefully lift up the top layer of a part that needs to have the lower layer showing through and make a small cut in the middle of the fabric.


Then using sharp (clean!) nail scissors, cut away the upper layer, getting as close to the stitching as you can without actually cutting the stitches.


Continue with all the parts that need to have the lower layer showing through and you have a completed logo!


And in my case, one happy little boy.


Come back soon for part 2 -- the whole costume, where I will make the rest of the costume out of little more than t-shirts! :) This should be fun.

P.S. As I was writing this post my son came in with a suggestion for my character. I got a great costume idea to go with it. Hooray for spontaneous inspiration!


I'll be linking up to these fabulous link parties:

 Monday -  Craft o Maniac Monday -- Craftastic Monday -- Amaze Me Monday -- Polly Want 2 Party  --  Tuesday -  Get Your Craft On -- Sew Cute Tuesday -- Tip Me Tuesday -- Tuesday Talent Show --  Wednesday -  Seven Thrity Three -- Wallet-Friendly Wednesday -- Create and Share -- Whatever Goes Wednesday --  Linkin’ with Lil’ Luna -- Thursday -  Strut your Stuff Thursday -- Transformation Thursday -- Thrilling Thursday -- House of Hepworths -- Friday -  Remodelaholic Friday -- Flaunt it Friday -- Frugal Friday -- Weekend Wander -- Show and Share Day -- It's Fun to Craft! -- Tickled Pink Fridays -- Weekend Wrap-up Party -- Catch as Catch Can -- Friday Flair -- Feature Yourself Friday -- Simply Link {Party} -- Pity Party -- Design Dazzle --  Saturday - Saturday Spotlight --  Sunday -  The DIY Showoff Project  Parade --  Sunday Showcase Party -- Creative Bloggers Party -- I Heart Naptime -- Think Pink Sundays


  1. That came out great! What a cool idea.

  2. Wow! That turned out great! Love how pleased he is with it - Great pic! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is a great tutorial! I can't wait to make shirts like this for my son! I would love to have you share this @ Show & Share--

  4. We're in superhero mode at my house as well. This is a fabulous tutorial. I'm so glad you shared over at 733 today.

  5. Wow! So beautifully done. Your reverse applique is impeccable and the finished result is perfect!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  6. Wow excellent job!

    Please feel free to link up your super hero costumes to my Make Yourself Monday Blog Hop! I'd love to have you!! :o)

    For Love of Cupcakes

  7. WOW great job looks awesome! I'm sure your boy loved it as would any boy I'm sure! thanks for sharing!

  8. Wow! You really have the talent. You made it just like the original ones. Did you just sew it by your bare hands? or no? these are fantastic. Continue reading

  9. This is very interesting, but it is necessary to click on this link:

  10. It is also one of those handy electronic gadgets used during golf. It has the same shape and size of your palm which automatically records an archive of golf scores for up to four players. bulk t shirts

  11. I also wrote an article on a similar subject will find it at write what you think. garotas de programa


I love to read your comments, thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the world!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...