Reverse Applique Tutorial

Reverse Applique Tutorial via lilblueboo.com
Here is my easy tutorial for adding reverse applique to clothing.  I am using my daughter’s pink pirate tank top as an example. I started with the below tank top and skort set that I bought at Target for around $8.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 1 via lilblueboo.com
First, I sketched out a design. Tip: If you aren’t a skilled freehand artist there is an easy way to come up with a unique drawing. Take items with similar shapes to what you are looking to design and use them as your drawing guide. I used a roll of tape and an candy tin to design the skull:
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 2 via lilblueboo.com
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 3 via lilblueboo.com
You can download my template for the pirate skull and crossbones below:

*Copyright © 2009 by Ashley Hackshaw. All rights reserved. This applique is for personal and home use only. A limited commercial license may be purchased for limited production. Please email me at ashley (at) dc.rr.com for more information. Thank you for respecting my copyright!
Next, you will need fabric for your applique.  To make my fabric easier to sew I first stabilize it by ironing a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon brand) to the wrong side of the fabric.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 4 via lilblueboo.com
Then I drew my design on the wrong side of the fabric using a disappearing ink pen (you will actually be drawing on the fusible interfacing you just ironed on).
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 5 via lilblueboo.com
I cut out the skull leaving about 1/4″ border. I turned the tank top inside out and pinned the skull to the shirt.  The right side of the skull fabric is against the wrong side of the tank top.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 6 via lilblueboo.com
I sewed the outside line of the skull first.  I sewed all the way around it twice.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 7 via lilblueboo.com
Next, I moved to the inside shapes and sewed all the way around each twice. Each shape is sewn separately (i.e. I am lifting up the machine foot and moving to each shape so that they are not connected by a sewn line).
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 8 via lilblueboo.com
Below you can see my entire design has been sewn onto the tank top.  I am an impatient seamstress so my stitching starts to look a little messy but since I am sewing every line twice I almost prefer it that way so that it looks intentional.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 9 via lilblueboo.com
Turning the tank top right side out again this is what it looked like:
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 10 via lilblueboo.com
This is my favorite step of reverse applique:  I took my small detail scissors and cut out the portions of the tank top where I want the fabric below to show through. I left about 1/8″ border outside of the stitching where I cut.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 11 via lilblueboo.com
Here is the finished cutout.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 12 via lilblueboo.com
Tip: I like to take a tiny paint brush and apply a small amount of Dritz Fray Check around the 1/8″ border of left to keep it from unraveling too much in the wash.  It just reassures me that my applique is going to stay put.
Reverse Applique Tutorial step 13 via lilblueboo.com
To complete the outfit, I added a matching crossbones to the skort. I cut a small felt pink bow and hand-stitched a border with black dmc thread.  I attached it using Dritz Stitch Witchery to the side of the skull to make sure everyone knows it is a “girl” pirate skull!  For the last step I added a few rhinestones to the skull teeth and around the crossbones.  I used Tulip iron-on glass crystals because they glue directly to the fabric and nothing is inside the shirt to make it itchy.  You can find them at most craft stores.
Reverse Applique Tutorial finished via lilblueboo.com

Pink Pirate et al

I just finished this Pink Pirate outfit for Sienna. (click for tutorial here) I usually don’t do skull and crossbones (it upsets my mom) but I had this cute Michael Miller Goth Baby fabric laying around that I picked up at Mary Jo’s in NC this past summer. I am working on putting together a tutorial for it and should have it up in the next day or so.  I made it from a tank and skort that I found at Target and just added some reverse applique and rhinestones.  Reverse applique is so easy and anyone can do it.  I am such an impatient crafter…..I want everything done pronto. Yours will turn out a lot better if you sew a little slower than I do ;)
Pink Pirate et al via lilblueboo.com
Close-up of reverse applique on the tank. I added a little felt bow with hand-stitching to the head.
Pink Pirate et al 2 via lilblueboo.com
Close-up of the skort.
Pink Pirate et al 3 via lilblueboo.com
Since I am on the topic reverse applique I thought I would post some photos of another project I did a while ago.  I made the below t-shirt pants out of a plain white men’s undershirt for Sienna when she was a year old and added the reverse applique using remnants of a black t-shirt.  I made a matching shirt as well.  It was a cute outfit. The design was from part of a wall stencil I had.
Pink Pirate et al 4 via lilblueboo.com
Close-up of reverse applique on the pants:
Pink Pirate et al 5 via lilblueboo.com
Another close-up of reverse applique on the pants:
Pink Pirate et al 6 via lilblueboo.com
Close-up of reverse applique on the shirt.  I added a spade shape under part of the wall stencil.
Pink Pirate et al 7 via lilblueboo.com

Recycle your t-shirt…..into a toddler skirt!

Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) via lilblueboo.com
There is nothing better than a vintage t-shirt that has been washed to its ideal softness. I love taking these old t-shirts and turning them into clothes for my daughter.
Here is a skirt I made with an old Pepsi-Cola shirt. It has cute little fringed hearts on the front and back that I made with the leftovers. The best part is that it is the softest skirt ever and so comfortable. I only wish I could have made it in my size.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 1 via lilblueboo.com
Here is the entire outfit. I took a white tank top and added a large fringed heart to the front with the extra t-shirt scraps. I love the little fringed edges of the heart and how they curl.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 2 via lilblueboo.comRecycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) 3 via lilblueboo.com
Here is the t-shirt before I started. It is a little fitted and curves a little at the bottom which gave me the “vision” of the skirt to begin with!
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 1 via lilblueboo.com
Sienna is between the sizes 2T and 3T right now so hopefully that will give you an idea of the skirt sizing. I measured 11 inches up each side of the t-shirt and cut it across to each of those points. The bottom portion will be the main piece of the skirt.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 2 via lilblueboo.com
I used the remaining upper portion of the t-shirt as fabric for my heart patches. I made a small paper heart template and used my disappearing ink pen to draw a bunch of them over the logo. I ended up cutting out four of these and setting them aside.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 3 via lilblueboo.com
To help stabilize the fabric before I sewed the heart patches on I cut a rectangular piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (Pellon brand) and I ironed it onto the inside of the skirt. This interfacing is much larger than needed and as the skirt is washed it will slowly start to come off….then I’ll just trim it off around the hearts. I personally think this is much easier than trying to cut a bunch of pieces of the interfacing to fit the patches on the opposite side.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 4 via lilblueboo.com
Here is the skirt turned right side out again and I laid out the hearts where I wanted them and pinned them to the skirt.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 5 via lilblueboo.com
Next I sewed each heart to the skirt leaving a 1/2 inch border.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 6 via lilblueboo.com
After sewing on the heart patches, I used my detail scissors to cut small slits into the 1/2 inch border of the hearts creating fringe.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 7 via lilblueboo.com
Next I started working on the waist band of the skirt. I turned the skirt wrong-side out and folded the waist band down 1 1/4 inch all the way around. Tip: t-shirt fabric starts to curl when it is cut so I use spray starch to stiffen the fabric edges. The starch also makes it a little easier to sew.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 8 via lilblueboo.com
I sewed 1/4 inch seam all the way around the top of the skirt leaving about an inch gap to thread the elastic through. Before threading the elastic through I stitched another 1/4 seam all the way around the top of the band leaving a 3/4 inch casing.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 9 via lilblueboo.com
Next, I threaded an 18.5″ long elastic band through the casing……

Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 10 via lilblueboo.com
…..and sewed the elastic together with a few rows of stitches.
To keep the elastic from shifting inside the casing I like to sew a line of stitches at various points around the waistband. Optional: I also like to stretch the waistband out so there is no gathering and stitch down the center all the way around….keeping the elastic in place all the way around.
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 12 via lilblueboo.com
The finished skirt!
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) step 13 via lilblueboo.com
Here is Sienna wearing her new outfit! So cute!
Recycle your t-shirt into a toddler skirt (tutorial) finished via lilblueboo.com
Let me know if you have any questions! Send me photos of your t-shirt skirts!

Applique Cherry Tree Shirt and Ruffle Pants

It is so easy to customize kids’ clothes using applique.  I remember my mother making us Christmas sweaters using applique and “puffy paint” twenty years ago….there will not be any photos posted of those outfits….ever.  I am aware that this is the oldest trick in the book but I thought I would share my process anyway for those who are new to it….I am going to post a tutorial next.
This is an outfit I made recently for my friend Jackie’s daughter for her 1st birthday.  I used my favorite pattern for the pants/capris and just added the little pink polka dot ruffle at the bottom.
Applique Cherry Tree Shirt and Ruffle Pants via lilblueboo.com
The applique I made by cutting out the tree from the lighter fabric and adding small round “cherry blossoms” using the pink fabric and small pink buttons.  I hand-stitched the detail on the pink cherry blossoms using turquoise DMC thread.  I used a white baby gap t-shirt because I like the weight of the fabric and the little scalloped edges.
Applique Cherry Tree Shirt and Ruffle Pants applique via lilblueboo.com
I took a picture of the outfit once it was boxed because it looked so cute with the little tag and ribbon.  I printed the tag on regular paper in my inkjet printer but I was so worried about the ink rubbing off on the outfit that I sewed a peice of vellum to the top of it. The tag has washing instructions: wash on delicate, lay flat to dry.
Applique Cherry Tree Shirt and Ruffle Pants gift via lilblueboo.com
I made a similar outfit for Sienna.  The pants are a little different from the pair showed above.  Instead of a ruffle I added a large pink band at the bottom.  I also adjusted the pattern a little to make the pant leg wider.
Applique Cherry Tree Shirt and Ruffle Pants on via lilblueboo.com

Applique Tutorial

Here is my applique tutorial.  Please let me know if you need more detail so I can add it.  This isn’t my favorite outfit I’ve made, but the photos will show the process I went through.  These little pants I made last summer for Sienna and they still fit….just a little shorter, but cuter as capris.  She grew out of the top I made for her so I bought this $4 tank from Target to add applique to.

Applique Tutorial via lilblueboo.com

First, I took some of the extra fabric I kept from the pants and cut a piece of Wonder-Under adhesive web just slightly smaller.  Wonder-Under is made by Pellon and is a paperbacked adhesive web that turns any fabric into a fusible fabric.  I placed the rough side of the Wonder-Under against the wrong side of the fabric and pressed for 8 seconds with a dry, hot iron to fuse the web to the fabric.
Applique Tutorial step 1 via lilblueboo.com
Once the fabric was cool I took my tiny detail scissors and cut out several butterflies from the fabric.  I used one of the butterflies as a template on another small piece of fabric that I had ironed Wonder-Under onto (left over from the ruffle of the pants).  I cut that butterfly silhouette out as well.  Note that the paper-backing is still on.
Applique Tutorial step 2 via lilblueboo.com
After cutting out several butterfly shapes, I gently peeled of the paper backing from the Wonder-Under and placed the shapes web side down on the tank. I cut small pieces of ribbon (longer than needed) for antennae and stuck them down underneath the butterflies.
Applique Tutorial step 3 via lilblueboo.com
For the final fusing, I covered each butterfly with a damp press cloth.  With the iron at wool setting, I pressed firmly for 10-15 seconds and repeated this lifting and overlapping the iron until all the fabric pieces were fused.  After removing the press cloth, I ironed the fabric to remove the excess moisture.
Applique Tutorial step 4 via lilblueboo.com
Next, I used my sewing machine to stitch an outline around each butterfly.  This adds some detail and also makes certain they stay put.  The stitching also secured the antennae in place.  Tip: when you are finished sewing take the ends of the thread from the starting point and the finish point and tie them together into knots before trimming the excess thread.  This keeps your stitching from unraveling.
Applique Tutorial step 5 via lilblueboo.com
Next, I trimmed the butterfly antennae to the desired length and used a little bit of stitching glue on the ends to keep them from fraying.
Applique Tutorial step 6 via lilblueboo.com
On the odd butterfly I added some hand-stitched detail around the edges with green DMC thread.
Applique Tutorial step 7 via lilblueboo.com
I also stitched a body and antennae for this butterfly and added some buttons on its wings.
Applique Tutorial step 8 via lilblueboo.com
I always use a small piece of lightweight fusible interfacing (by Pellon) on the inside of the shirt to keep the hand-stitched detail in place.  It protects the detail and also keeps the thread from itching the person wearing it.  I drew a small outline about 1/2″ all the way around the stitching onto the fusible interfacing as a guide before cutting it into the shape I needed. Then I placed the coated side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric and covered with a damp press cloth.  With the iron at medium steam I fused the interfacing to the inside of the shirt holding the iron down firmly for 10-15 seconds.
Applique Tutorial step 9 via lilblueboo.com
Here are the finished butterflies on the tank top.
Applique Tutorial step 10 via lilblueboo.com
I even added one to the bottom back.
Applique Tutorial step 11 via lilblueboo.com
Finished outfit!
Applique Tutorial finished via lilblueboo.com


Applique Tutorial finished in action via lilblueboo.com

Recent Spring Sewing

I love this little dress top I made for Sienna. She recently wore it to a tea party to celebrate her friend Elliana’s birthday.  This is by far my favorite sewing pattern right now.  It is the FAITH Double Layer Dress Top by Sew Sensible.  You can buy the pattern online at You Can Make This.  The directions included with it are step-by-step and include pictures!  Anyone who can work a sewing machine can make this top.  I made little matching  shorts to go with the top but Sienna also wears it with jeans when the weather is cooler.  It looks dressy but is very comfortable and roomy for playing.  I won’t put Sienna in anything itchy or tight so this outfit is perfect!

Recent Spring Sewing via lilblueboo.comFAITH Double Layer Dress Top by Sew Sensible via lilblueboo.com

Below is the back of another dress top I made in another set of fabrics.  The top layer is Amy Butler and the bottom layer is a $3/yard coordinating fabric I found to match.  I love Amy Butler fabrics but they tend to get pricey when you need a lot of fabric!  The huge bow in the back is my favorite part of the outfit.  It reminds me of one of those big wind-up toy keys.
Recent Spring Sewing 1 via lilblueboo.comRecent Spring Sewing 2 via lilblueboo.com
For the shorts I use New Look pattern #6689 which I picked up at Joann’s Fabric.  You can also get it online at the Simplicity website. It is a very simple pattern and is always roomy enough for a diaper and lots of horseplay.  I use this pattern for lots of different outfit variations and just change the length for shorts or capris and add a ruffle to some.
Another easy outfit: the Momma’s Darlin Apron Top.  You can purchase this pattern online at You Can Make This as well. I love these patterns because you can download them instantly. I made the bow a little longer than the pattern asks for, but I love when bows hang down with large loops.   The shorts are by the New Look pattern I mentioned above.  I found these fabrics at Joann’s for about $2/yard when they were having one of their sales.
Recent Spring Sewing 3 via lilblueboo.comRecent Spring Sewing 4 via lilblueboo.com

Lil Blue Boo

Lil Blue Boo vial lilblueboo.comI know someone will probably ask why I named my blog Lil Blue Boo…..I needed a cute little label for my sewing projects.  My nickname for Sienna is “Boo” and I love the color blue (my favorite color is green but the name “Green Boo” didn’t sound that great).

The clothing labels are really easy to make.  You can buy cotton fabric that goes through your inkjet printer and then just cut them to size and iron the edges inward.  I used a little bit of Stitch Witchery (fusible adhesive) to keep the sides together so the tag edges won’t fray when I wash the clothes.
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