This Valentine’s Day we are celebrating love with a simple Robot Applique T-shirt and Free Printable Valentine Card. Did you know that robots love Valentine’s Day? They’re Nuts & Bolts about it! (Ba-Dum-Ch! I’ll be here all week folks!)
Did you have a favorite shirt that you had to wear ALL the time when you were a kid? Maybe it was a dinosaur sweatshirt your mom had to wash every night or a Dukes of Hazard tee that was worn at least once a week. (No, I did not want to grow up to marry Bo Duke, you're confusing me with some other crafter.)
You did not care about appropriateness of a t-shirt at a given occasion or the number of times it had been worn, it was simply your FAVORITE item of clothing. The portion of life where it is socially acceptable to celebrate your favorite things on your clothing is quite short. It’s one of the great things about being a kid.
It's fun making applique t-shirts that feature my kiddos favorite things. It’s an easy way to make a cheap or boring t-shirt into something thrilling. Holiday designs are especially fun to create and never cease to thrill and amuse.
Don't be intimidated, applique is easy with the correct materials. You need a basic cotton t-shirt (Target or Old Navy offer affordable options, the shirt picture is Cherokee brand from Target), paper-backed fusing (Heat and Bond is my favorite), cotton jersey or fleece fabric, and thread. For this project I am using grey fleece. I like to use fleece or cotton jersey for appliques because it does not fray.
Robot Applique T-shirt Supplies
- T-shirt (washed and dried, do not use fabric softener)
- Heat ‘n Bond Sew-able Iron-On Adhesive, medium weight
- Fleece fabric, 4 inches x 8 inches
- Jersey or flannel in a contrasting color, 2 inches x 2 inches
- Buttons for eyes
- Thread to match both fabrics and the buttons
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine
- Hand sewing needle
- Robot Applique T-shirt Pattern (download for free)
Robot Applique T-shirt Directions
1. Wash and dry t-shirt to remove any wrinkle preventing fabric treatment, if it is new. Do not use fabric softener, this will prevent the iron on adhesive from sticking well to the material. (Tip: Use a stained or torn t-shirt to make appliques, it's a great way to make something old new again by covering up the defect.)
2. Print out the pattern and trace it onto the paper side of the iron on adhesive. You can hold the paper and adhesive up to a window to make it easier to see.
3. Iron the adhesive onto the WRONG side of your fabric following the iron on fusing manufacturer’s directions.
4. Cut out the shapes.
5. Peel the paper backing from each shape, there will be a shiny coating on the fabric. This is the adhesive, do not peel it off!
6. Iron the robot to the desired location on your shirt, shiny side down. Make sure to follow the iron on fusing manufacturer’s directions. (I centered my robot horizontally and placed it about 3 inches lower than the neckband.)
7. Stitch around the robot shape (1/8-1/4 inch inside the edge) using a small straight machine stitch. Make sure to use thread that matches the fabric and work slowly.
8. Iron the heart onto the robot, shiny side down. Make sure to follow the iron on fusing manufacturer’s directions.
9. Stitch around the heart shape (1/8-1/4 inch inside the edge) using a small straight machine stitch. Make sure to use thread that matches the fabric and work slowly.
10. Sew the button eyes to the robot. If the shirt is for a young child who might swallow the buttons use circle of black fabric instead of buttons.
10. Trim all threads and enjoy your robot t-shirt!
Robot Free Printable Valentine Card Directions
1. Download the free printable pattern and print it on red cardstock.
2. Glue gray patterned paper to the back of the red cardstock. (You want the patterned side of your grey paper up and the wording side of the red cardstock down. The card is double-sided.)
3. Cut out the robots. Cut one heart out of the red cardstock scraps for each robot. Cut one heart out of the grey paper scraps for each robot.
4. Glue the hearts to contrasting sides and draw on robot's eyes with a black marker. If desired, add the name of the recipient to the red heart.
5. Add the card to your custom applique t-shirt and give a special kid their new favorite shirt!
I hope these robot t-shirts make your heart go beep-beep-beep!
If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out my No Sew Valentine Tea Towels. They use the same applique technique but do not use a sewing machine.