Owl Applique Tutorial

This is my first post! :)

So I wanted to share how I did an applique of an owl on a t-shirt for my daughter. My first step was to look at a bunch of owls to try to get an idea of what I wanted it to look like. Then, I did a bit of doodling when I was coloring with my daughter. Since I am TERRIBLE at drawing, I decided to see what I could do on Microsoft Word.

I realized that basically an owl is composed of basic shapes, so i decided to use the “auto-shapes” to make my own owl. After I got him looking the way I wanted, I printed it out to check the size against the t-shirt I wanted to apply it to. Back on the computer, I pulled all the shapes apart so that I could cut them out individually, then layer them back together later. 

I took the printed copy and placed it under my iron-on paper. I traced each of the shapes then cut them out leaving space around the shapes.

The next part was fun. I went through all of my scraps that I just can’t seem to get rid of, and set aside a bunch of fabrics I liked. I tried to pick a color scheme from there to help me figure out what was going to “make the cut.” I decided on a brown, green, and pink color palette. Not a surprise, these were also my wedding colors :) I picked something dark for the body, and my lightest for the eyes.

For the iron on stuff that I had, I peeled off one side, then stuck it to the back side of the material. Then, I pressed it with my iron for about 10 seconds.

Next, I cut out each of the shapes on the lines that I traced. I like to have the iron on all the way to the edge is why I leave extra to ensure it. Assembly time! I peeled off the other side of the iron on paper and stuck the shapes on the shirt. Again, I ironed about 10 seconds.

*If you have never used iron on: most iron on material is a web-like material with paper on both sides. Think of the web as the peanut butter and jelly and your material is the bread. Peel off one side, and when you lay it on the material, the web is kinda sticky and will stay put until you get the iron on it to adhere it securely. The iron shouldn’t burn through the paper in the 10 seconds, by the way. Then, peel off the other paper and stick it the other material, then iron

Sewing on the owl was next. I started with the feet. I drew lines in pencil first so that I had something to follow. I used a satin stitch which is basically a very close zig-zag stitch. I liked the way that it looked a little looser than normal. I did notice that with the loose fabric, my machine pulled as I did this stitch. If I were making something fancy, I could have put a stabilizer in there to straighten out the stitch more, but, this was for a toddler who will likely spill something on it the first day that she wears it. I don’t always go for perfect with her stuff.

For the rest of the owl, I went with a zig-zag stitch. I debated doing basically a straight stitch, but I like the playful look of the zig-zag. I kept the thread the same for most of it, but changed to white for the eyes (I thought that brown zig-zag around the eyes might make the owl look like he’s on drugs.) I tried to keep down the number of times I had to tie off threads, so I  started where the body meet the wing, went around the outside of the whole owl, then back to the first wing and looped around the whole wing.

From here, I basically just sewed up what was left in separate stitching lines. I pulled through my threads, tied them off, and voila!

My daughter was pretty excited about it. She is very into animals, so it is an easy outfit to get her into. She is starting to have an opinion about what to wear. I’m not sure how I feel about this strong will of hers yet…

2 Responses to Owl Applique Tutorial

  1. I know my pictures are not the best. I’m working on finding the right lighting in my basement. Not an easy task.

  2. Heather C. says:

    It turned out great~ I am motivated now to try this one on some stained T-shirts with scrap fabrics. Really cute!

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