In my last blog I created a toddler dress from scratch, for this blog however I’ll be describing how I customised an existing piece of clothing, something that can be a little quicker and easier for beginners like myself but just as satisfying at the end.
- This hoodie was for a little boy called – surprisingly – Noah. However, I didn’t want to go for the typical Noah’s Ark themed fabric and instead found this fabulous Michael Miller Manscaping fabric on eBay (it reminded me of Noah’s dad’s beard and specs!) and ordered the equivalent of three fat quarters.
For those not in the know fat quarters (FQ) are the rectangles of fabric bought by crafters who don’t want metres and metres of a single fabric and instead buy smaller ‘squares’ where a metre (or yard) of the fabric has been cut into quarters. Many fabric shops now sell highly decorated fabrics only by quantities of FQ, giving the equivalent of the relevant area of multiple FQs in a single piece, which was ideal for me as I didn’t need a full metre’s worth but did want slightly more than half a metre.
- Once I’d picked this trim fabric (and put it through the wash to eliminate any loose dye or shrinking problems) I could decide the colour hoodie to go with it and settled on a simple khaki design from eBay. Because the fabric was the star of the show I wanted to let the design itself do all the talking and keep the embellishments quite simple. So, using leftover Christmas wrapping paper, I made a rough pattern piece to make a single fabric panel to attach to the back and then pattern pieces to spell out ‘NOAH’ across the front of the hoodie.
- Wrapping paper isn’t the best to work with because it’s quite liable to tearing but it did the job, I just had to be extra careful when pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric not to let the paper rip. I then marked the outline with tailor's chalk and cut out the shapes carefully with my special fabric scissors.
|Cutting the letters out|
- I decided to turn over all the edges of the back panel and stitch around the edge before attaching it to the hoodie so that all of the rough edges would be hidden.
- Because I was working with readymade clothes rather than making items from scratch I actually tacked the fabric panel to the back of the hoodie rather than simply pinning it, this made it far easier to concentrate while attaching it with a simple straight stitch as I knew the panel wasn’t able to shift and pins weren’t going to fall out by mistake.
- Once I’d done a straight stitch around the panel to secure it onto the hoodie I used a zigzag stitch to stop the edge of the panel from poking up, it also gave it a nice decorative finish too.
- Next I arranged the fabric letters on the front of the hoodie and tacked into position.
|Detail of rough tacking|
|Letters carefully arranged|
- I used a simple straight stitch to secure each letter and then a zigzag stitch over the edge of each letter to help prevent the edges from fraying. Unfortunately, my little sewing machine at the time didn’t have many different stitch options so I couldn’t make the appliqué work as neat as I would have liked but I figured that little boys end up making all their clothes a bit scruffy anyway through hours of playtime (quite right too) so I shouldn’t worry too much.
- I trimmed off any frayed edges that were showing around the edge of the letters through the zigzag stitching and then used a sewing needle to pull any loose threads back into the space between the hoodie and the fabric I’d added so they were safely hidden from view.
|The front complete|
|The letters attached with some slightly rustic sewing|
I was really happy with the finished result as it was a very quick and simple way to make a personalised gift that is also practical. It was also a great way to have a first introduction to appliqué and it’s taught me lots of things so that I can keep on improving in the future.
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