April 24, 2014

Splishy Fishy T-shirt Tutorial

Well tonight was one of those nights that I was all psyched up to sew myself a new dress. Unlike Marnie, I'm not that addicted to sewing clothes. I'd much rather work on a cute baby quilt. I had the dress all cut up, dishes done early, kidlets in bed and the hubster out for the night. Then, as fortune would have it I don't think the fabric liked any of the needles I had. It will have to be a trip to the fabric shop tomorrow for a microtex needle I think......with four children. Joy.

Anyway, I'm not one to brag but I think this might be one of the cutest t-shirts I've ever embellished.

I made this for Emily's bestie for her birthday and decided I'd make one for Emily at the same time. 
I am so happy with how they turned out. Emily's has gone straight to the top of her favourites.
If you'd like to make one yourself, keep reading.

You'll need:
1.Fish applique pattern. Print it out or draw your own.
2.Pretty scraps of fabric.
3.Small piece of Vlisoflix. I find this easy to work with as my needle has no trouble getting through it and it keeps the pieces where they should be.
4.Small piece of iron-interfacing for the inside of the t-shirt, slightly larger than the fish.
5.A ball point needle on your sewing machine (makes stitching through the stretch fabric way easier).
6.Some black thread and a needle to sew on the eye, or a fine point permanent fabric marker.
7. Some sort of trim for where the scales meet the head. I used mini pom poms but I think ric rac would work well too.
8. Buttons for the bubbles- not absolutely necessary but a cute addition!

First of all cut out your fish and scale patterns.

Iron your fish fabric onto the vlisoflix, trace around the pattern, and cut it out. You can either leave your fish whole at this point or cut off the head. The t-shirt in this tutorial has the head cut off but with Emily's I left it on. Probably less fuss to leave it on in retrospect.

Peel the back of the vlisoflix off the fish'd body and iron it onto your t-shirt.

Next, turn your t-shirt inside out and iron your interfacing on the back of where your fish is. You'll need to put a cloth over the interfacing while you iron it or it will melt. The interfacing helps to stabilise the t-shirt when you stitch on the applique later.

Next it's time to prep the scales. Grab your fabric scraps, fold them over with the right side in the middle and trace around the scale pattern piece. make between 9 and 12 scales. It's better to have a few left over than not quite enough. Make sure you have enough variety so that you're not going to have same fabrics next to each other.

Now sew along the line that you traced of each scale. With these being quite small and fiddly it's much eaiser to sew first and then cut, rather than cut and then sew.

Then cut your scales out. I used pinking sheers to help get good curves around the scales but if you don't have shears you can just cut around the scales and clip around the curves. I was sitting on the rug with my kids watching 'Easter Parade' with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland when I cut these out, hence the nasty background in the photo.

When you've got a nice pile of scales turn them inside out, and then press.

Now it's time to sew on your fish. Use a medium width, close together zig zag stitch and follow carefully around the edge.

Then arrange the scales on the fish until you're happy with the layout. Keep the scales in the pattern you've chosen and put them aside, preferably not where the 2 year old can climb up onto the table and sweep them all off.

Take your first scale and line it up so that when you fold it back it will sit just before the tail of the fish. Stitch it down with the curve facing the fish's head (to the right).

Then fold it back on itself and stitch it down again, making sure all the raw edges are tucked away.

Repeat the process with the 2nd row of scales. You may have to overlap some to keep them within the fish.

Use a pin to keep them in place and then stitch down, just like you did with the first one.
Repeat for remaining rows of scales, making sure that they overlap each other. If you cut the head off initially, you can miss the step of sewing the last row of scales the wrong way and then flipping them back on themselves. You just stitch them in place once and then cover the raw edges with the head of the fish.

Iron on the fish's head.

Stitch down that join to secure the head.

Put your row of pom poms or trim on top of the join and stitch down. Then zig zag around the edge of the head. You'll have to use your imagination here ladies. I can't seem to find the photo. Start your stitching from before the line of poms poms so that you can the pom poms under the stitch as you go around. Otherwise they will fray in the wash.

If you are hand stitching the eye draw it on first with a fading fabric marker. Or if you aren't planning on stitching you could sew on a small button or use a permanent fabric marker. Make sure you test it out first though. Looking good.

Sew on a few buttons for bubbles and you have got yourself a really cute t-shirt.

So there you have it.

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