Creating with Kids – Design your own t-shirt

Last week, my kindergartner came home from school, disappointed that I did not order her a shirt through school to wear at their 100 day-of-school party.

“I will be the only kid without an outer space shirt!” she proclaimed.

“Well, that is easily fixed.” I explained.  “You can design your own t-shirt, and we will make it together.”

So, we did.  That morning, over a bowl of cereal, we came up with a simple design and picked out colors.

While she was at school, I made some applique pieces for her shirt.  Lest anyone thing I spent days slaving away over a kindergarten party t-shirt, let me be clear that I set myself a few ground rules (b/c  I could easily get carried away and turn a quick t-shirt into a time consuming work of art).  The entire project needed to take less than 1 hour — meaning: simple design and quick stitching — and all supplies had to be already in the house.

So, I made a simple pattern for the rocket ship and moon.    In case anyone aspires to make their own rocket ship t-shirt (or pillow! Wouldn’t this make a cute pillow?), I have attached a pdf of my pattern pieces here:

Once I had a pattern, I:

  • traced it onto paper-backed fusible interfacing;
  • fused the interfacing to the back of my chosen fabric;
  • and cut out my pattern pieces.

Before fusing,  Abigail and I decorated the moon and ship with fabric paint.  We painted the pieces first in case any painting didn’t turn out quite right the first time around.  Much easier to just re-cut a shape than to remove and re-fuse it.

Once the paint dried, I fused the pieces to the shirt and added some stitching for detail.  I did my stitching with my free-motion foot, but think a straight stitch with an applique foot would have been an easier choice, at least for the outlining of the shapes.

That afternoon, Abigail added stars to the sky using a pencil eraser and yellow fabric paint.  Once it dried and I ironed the shirt to set the paint, voila!  100 day t-shirt ready to go!

I love that this project was a collaboration between the two of us.  Abigial really got to see and participate in an idea coming to life.  And I got to test my designing and making skills by putting together this skirt quickly.  I often get bogged down in overly complicated quilting and applique projects that take me months to finish.  How refreshing to be done with something in an hour split over a couple of days!

Best of all, there was a big smile from a certain kindergartner who felt appropriately dressed for a blast-off 100-day-party!  🙂