DIY Appliqué

DIY Applique to record your baby's age

I can’t believe this post has been sitting in my drafts for fourteen (14) months! In the midst of moving house and juggling two little munchkins, somehow my sewing (and my sewing posts) have been very neglected. So to all my creative sewing buddies, sorry ’bout that. I’ve inherited my Nana’s spanking sewing machine, and Santa (aka my mum) bought me a new overlocker for Christmas, so I’m excited to get sewing again in 2014.

But first let’s get up to date. For those who have been waiting with baited breath (lol), you might recall that I was trying out appliquéing. I made a ‘B’ onesie, a Christmas Tree onesie, a Big Sister top and a ‘1’ singlet using the pin and sew method – all of which all turned out OK. But the JJ top stretched and was a bit of a fail.

And then I discovered the appliquér’s secret.

(Said in a whisper) Iron-on sewable adhesive. 

I bought mine on eBay, but I’m sure you could get it in any good haberdashery store.

The hard part of this process is that you have to trace the outline of what you want to appliqué in reverse. On this occasion, I was making a 2 singlet to mark Bee’s second month birthday. Since I was using the 2 that I’d already cut out as the stencil from my fabric letters and numbers, I was able to just flip it over and trace it. (Tip: If you want to print out a number or image and trace without actually cutting it out first, then look for a printer setting that will flip things horizontally.)

After you’ve traced it in reverse, the next step is to roughly cut it out (leaving a small edge), place it adhesive side down onto the back of the fabric, and iron it on.

You then cut it out again, this time making sure to cut precisely along the lines. Peel off the backing paper, and iron it fabric side up onto the singlet.

(If you accidentally iron the adhesive side, then you can clean it off the iron with vinegar once the iron cools. Don’t ask me how I know this.)

How to use iron-on sewable adhesive for appliques

You can then sew around the edges of the appliqué and you won’t have to worry about pins, or the fabric stretching or anything like that. And because you’ve used iron-on sewable adhesive, it won’t gunk up your sewing machine needle. The results are much more professional than the pin and sew method – in my humble opinion anyway.

If you’d prefer a no-sew method (cause I know there are some sew-phobic folks out there!) then choose an iron-on no-sew adhesive, as the glue on the sewable variety won’t hold after washing.

And here is little Bee on her two month birthday proudly showing off her new kicking moves! She was so dark back then. It’s hard to believe that she’s now a blonde haired blue eyed sixteen month old toddler!.

Create monthly appliqued singlets to record your baby's age

I also used this appliqué method to sew JJ’s 2 1/2 singlet, and Bee’s 3, 4 & 5 month singlets. (I sewed fabric stripes together to make rough stripes for the 4 month singlet, but the rest of the process remained the same.)

Appliqued t-shirts and singlets to show a child's age


Make your own appliques to record your baby's age



  1. Hieke Wijnsma

    Thanks for your ideas!
    To mirror an image, letters or wording I use the text box, any letter font, "color" the letter(s) light grey to use less toner and flip the whole text box (by dragging the left side past the middle to the right side):)
    Good luck and happy motherhood!

  2. Absolutely precious and a great way to commemorate a milestone. Pinned and must try soon.
    My recent post Family Fun Friday Week 55

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